Packing your whole life into a suitcase for one semester is no doubt one of the most stressful parts of the preparing-to-go abroad process. Applying for a student visa? Easy. Filing a Permesso di Soggiorno (permit of stay)? Piece of cake. Trying to fit four months worth of clothing into one checked bag and a carry-on? Now that’s where the real challenge comes in.
The essentials, aka cash, my passport, and my phone are safely stowed away in my purse, but deciding which clothes to bring is already proving to be the most difficult part. I’ve decided to ditch my parka at home since I’ve heard from friends and family who have been abroad that puffy jackets scream “study abroad student.” However, Rome is an average of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit in January, aka infinitely warmer than the harsh Wisconsin winter.
The temperature change is definitely one thing I’ve been looking forward to, as well as the opportunity to meet other study abroad students once I move in. An Italian privacy law prevents us from being able to know who our roommates are before we arrive, so Facebook stalking is out of the question (sadly). A part of me feels like study abroad will be a bit like freshman year all over again, with knowing only a few other friends coming in and having to learn my way around a new campus.
The classes I’ll be taking this semester include introductory Italian, International Business, a European history class, and a communications class. My mindset isn’t exactly in “study” mode, though-I’ve been too excited and nervous about the upcoming journey to really prepare myself for the fact that I have to go back to school in ten days. Luckily, I’ve got the rest of winter break to attempt to learn some Italian and map out some sights I’d like to see before I board my flight at JFK to Leonardo da Vinci Airport.
So, my luggage tags are secured, my boarding passes are printed, and my suitcases are filled to the brim with everything I could possibly need; next stop, Roma! Andiamo!