The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: JFRC

Head in the Clouds

Head in the Clouds

A quarter of the way through my time here abroad and I am all emotions. On one spectrum, I am happy and exhilarated of all that I have seen and done thus far. On the other end, I am exhausted, physically, mentally, and socially. I have traveled to the southern part of Italy to Campania, and I have traveled up to the northern part of Italy to Florence and Pisa. I have marveled at the history of the past, whether it is walking through a museum with centuries old art, or strolling through Paestum as if I can relive the past of so many people who came before me, my imagination has sparked in all forms. The other day, my class and I traveled to the Roman National Museum where we saw a fresco of Augustus’s wife, Livia Drusilla. It is a beautifully detailed garden scene that wraps around all four walls. It is believed to have been a part of their villa as their dining room decor. In my wildest imaginations, I can only dream about what those walls may have seen and heard. Yes, walls may not have a heartbeat, but they can still hold the memories of people, dead and alive. It reminds me how much of our lives, and our stories can become intertwined in art. It is able to keep alive pieces of us after we are gone, and connects us in all sorts of ways. I found the creativity and imagination of art again in Florence and Pisa. The architecture of the buildings breathe so much history while reminding me of a fragile card house, and a tilt-

ing jenga tower, about to be toppled down with one big blow of air. My friends and I filled our stomachs with warm paninos, carbonara, and chocolate souffles that were heaven on earth. We headed to Pisa for a day to see the famous leaning tower and we found it as cool as everyone says it is in all of its falling glory. On our last day in Florence, we stumbled upon a parade of renaissance dressed men walking along the cobblestone streets, marching towards a reenactment of some sort. Yet again, I found myself drifting into my childhood imagination of what the past might have looked like. These past few weeks have clearly reminded me to keep my imagination alive to retell the past, paint the present, and connect with others in the future. Let the dreaming and imagining continue…

9 Days. 8 Friends. 5 Countries.

9 Days. 8 Friends. 5 Countries.

If you asked me before coming to the John Felice Rome Center that I would be able to pull off visiting 5 countries and navigate 4 different languages in 9 days, I would have never believed you. Over the past two months here (WOW time is flying by!) not only my confidence in myself has grown but also my ability to navigate foreign cultures has as well. Also, luckily for me, 7 of my fellow Alpha Delta Pi sisters were willing to embark on this adventure together.

We set off on Friday for Vienna, Austria and ended in Barcelona, Spain by the end of the following Sunday. In-between those two countries, we took a day trip to Budapest, Hungary, stayed in Nice, France, and packed in another day trip to Monte Carlo, Monaco. Every where we visited, a different aspect of the local culture and architecture intrigued me. In Budapest, I felt like I was transported into a fairytale; whether it was peaking through the arches of their castle lined hill tops or the aroma of fresh apple strudel floating from tiny alleyways, I loved it and hope to return some day. Taking in the aqua beachfront in Nice was breathtaking, and people watching from a cafe in Monte Carlo, ogling over the lavishly dressed locals, was a hoot. Undoubtedly, nothing tops the cuisine in Barcelona. We ate tapas after tapas as well as plenty of paella and Spanish omelettes, and even got to experience brunch again.

There wasn’t a place I regret visiting, or an experience I wish I could have rather had over of my fall break. This trip was unforgettable, and what made it even more memorable was the life-long friends who were by my side.

Where in the World is Brandon?!

Where in the World is Brandon?!

Ciao, Amici (Hi, Friends)!

My name is Brandon.

Perhaps you know me, perhaps you don’t. I’m basically a living version of “Where’s Waldo” since I’m usually on a plane, bus, or train to somewhere around the world. This semester, I’m studying abroad at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center (JFRC). This is actually my third study abroad experience. I spent my senior year of high school in Surat Thani, Thailand with the Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program, and then my sophomore year of college in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the USAC program. Since then, I’ve explored about 40 countries and picked up a few languages along the way. I guess you could say the travel bug infected me a little too hard!

I am currently writing from Guelph, Ontario, Canada (say what?!). Since it’s fall break, I decided to spend the week here in Canada with my lovely partner. I am fully enjoying the beautiful & crisp air, vibrant leaves, sweater weather, and Halloween spirit that Rome sadly does not have. However, Rome has so many other things to fall in love with. It was pretty hard to leave for even just a week.

You may be wondering, “why did you choose Rome?”. Well, I can tell you it wasn’t for any cliché reason. I didn’t choose Rome for it’s impeccable food, unique coffee culture, rich history, immaculate cities, or warm climate. Those aspects are

all more than great, but I actually didn’t have much choice in where to study abroad. When I decided that I wanted to study abroad for a third semester, I jumped through several hoops in order to make it to where I am today. I knew I would need pretty specific courses to complete my degree plans since this experience would be during my last year of college. Thus, choosing a Loyola center (Rome, Vietnam, or Beijing) was my only option. I felt I had spent a lot of time in Asia respectably, so Rome it was. I will admit that I was not the most excited at first (I know! Hear me out). I am a person who thrives off adventure, the unknown, and very “out there” experiences. Rome felt “safe” compared to other possible study abroad destinations. In a way, I had a vendetta against European study abroad experiences… I always believed there was so much of this world to see that Americans too hastily overlooked. Once I was accepted to the JFRC, something sparked. It made my upcoming journey real. In the spirit of adventure, I looked at this semester as an opportunity to do what I love most: explore new countries, learn a new language, and make priceless memories. Any adventure is worth going on. And truth be told, I’ve been proven so wrong about Rome and Europe as a whole. This continent is fascinating, and is so rich with history that there’s no possible way to learn it all.

I started the semester off by leaving Chicago on August 10th. Between August 10th and the 29th, this was my travel path: Chicago –> Toronto –> Montréal –> Paris –> Copenhagen –> Malmö –> Bangkok –> Koh Samui –> Chiang Mai –> Kuala Lumpur –> Gold Coast –> Auckland –> Melbourne –> Los Angeles –> Chicago –> London –> Rome. My head hurts just typing that! Anyways, I found incredible flight deals that lead me to both familiar and unexplored cities. I connected with friends, ate awesome food, witnessed cool sights, and snapped the best pictures I could. Eventually I ended up in Rome and started this crazy semester.

This semester, I am taking 6 courses. I am taking: Italian 1o1 (ITAL 1o1), European Masterpieces (LITR 200), Emperors, Bishops, & Barbarians (HIST 300 TP), Italy in the 19th and 20th Centuries (HIST 324), The European Union (PLSC 347), and Ethics (PHIL 181). So far, I feel as though I’ve been able to truly dive deep into European studies and learn quite a bit that I normally wouldn’t. I highly recommend taking country/region specific courses during a study abroad experience!

I would be lying if I said my favourite part of this semester WASN’T all the travelling I get to do on the weekends. When a roundtrip flight to Morocco, Germany, Israel, or Turkey (or everywhere in between) only ranges from 20 to 100 dollars, why not take advantage of it?! So far, I’ve travelled to Romania, Turkey, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. I guess Canada counts too ;). After Fall break, I have plans to travel to Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Bulgaria, Morocco, Spain, Israel, Palestine, France, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, and Colombia (the last two are on my way home in December). It is so fascinating to bring to life all of the knowledge I’m learning in my classes. I would say that Istanbul, Turkey is my favourite city I’ve ever visited. I think my next post will be dedicated to these awesome places I’ve been to. This post just can’t do them justice!

I may have actually just lied. How could I forget the lovely friends I’ve made so far? Study abroad has a strange way of bonding you to new friends so closely, so quickly. It’s almost as if we subconsciously understand that out time abroad together is limited and that we have to soak up every minute of it. I want to give a special shout-out to Kaitlyn, Midori, Alyssa, and my uber cool roommate Bruno. You guys make everyday hilarious. We’ve coined ourselves “the wine moms at the end of the hall” since we all live at one end of the hall of our hotel/dorm and highly enjoy the fabulous wine that Italy has to offer. They are my travel buddies, confidants, and joy makers. I love you, and I can’t wait for more adventures!

That’s all for my first post. I’ll be sure to write soon. Thanks for following along!

#NeverStopExploring

~ Brandon

 

Ciao, Roma!

Ciao, Roma!

It has been a little over a week since I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center, and I still can’t stop pinching myself. From the aroma of oven-fired pizza on every cobblestone street to the blooming olive groves lining Via Massimi, I am starting to see why they say living in Italy is la dolce vita. 

This past week of Orientation has been planned minute by minute by our trusted Student Life Assistants to give us a crash course in Roman life. We’ve toured the Colosseum, splurged on a gelateria crawl, navigated public transportation, relaxed on the beach, and consumed bottles and bottles of wine (thanks Loyola) to toast the beginning of the semester. This weekend we had the opportunity to tour the Italian region of Umbria, and became aquatinted with the whimsical towns of Narni, Spoleto, Foglino, and Citta di Pieve. Sometime during lunch overlooking Castiglione del Lago, or wine tasting at a countryside vineyard, or even reenacting a Roman battle we grew from classmates to friends as we learned about the ancient history of these fairytale-esque Umbrian escapes.

With the commencement of Orientation on Wednesday upon the Mass of the Holy Spirit, I do have to admit that I’m excited to explore Rome on my own terms, and learn more about exactly what is la dolce vita (with the help of gelato, of course).

Home Is In Plain Sight

Home Is In Plain Sight

My weeks have turned to days which have turned to hours. Tomorrow is my last full day in the magnificent Rome. Why am I crying in the club right now.

Time here has truly flown by, it’s hard to believe I’ve accomplished everything I have in these past few months. Multiple countries, so many new friends, endless bowls of pasta…My complete history of trips includes:

  • Bologna
  • Florence (twice)
  • Copenhagen
  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Paris (twice)
  • Barcelona
  • Dublin

Even looking at my list it still blows my mind how much I’ve experienced in such a short amount of time. I could honestly type out an entire novel, chronicling my adventures in full detail, but I’ll spare you. I’ve made so many friends that I know will stick with me even after we land in Chicago. I could not have had a better roommate, as Alexa and I are similar on every level (most importantly on our sleep schedules). Italy has taught me so much, like how to roll with the punches, how to take local social cues with a grain of salt and be more patient, the importance of calling my mom every once in awhile, and never ever ever taking for granted the privileges I’ve been blessed with. I’ve grown and blossomed into an entirely different person. Did I mention I even got a tattoo??? I mean, WHO AM I THESE DAYS.

The point is, this entire study abroad experience has taught me more about life and independence than in my three years of college life in Chicago. I never could’ve imagined my life would take this turn. I only dreamt of living in Italy, I’m not even 21 and I’ve already been to more than eight foreign countries. My stories are endless, and while I’m aware that the reverse culture shock is real, I’m excited to share every story with anyone willing to listen. I’ve partied with the professional Denmark basketball team, visited the house of the late Amy Winehouse, got tatted in Rome, listened to the Weeknd’s new album in Paris, stuffed myself with lasagna in Bologna, and the list goes on and on. I’m prepping to take my last final tomorrow, but I feel as though I’m prepping for something much bigger when I get home.

Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

So, there I was, sitting in Rinaldo’s in my usual seat on the couch in the corner listening to my peers discuss travel plans for the upcoming weekend. I couldn’t join in because I had no plans so I decided I needed to go somewhere. I pulled out my computer and my credit card, searched “Rome to Venice” and booked a train ticket and a hostel for the weekend. Spontaneous and maybe even a little impulsive, I made the decision and didn’t need to discuss it with anyone. After I realized what I did, I thought, Oh my God I’m going to Venice, ALONE!! And there began the brewing of excitement tinted with unease in the pit of my stomach.

Here’s my “excited-to-travel-alone” selfie.

After a late night of cheering on the Men’s basketball team and celebrating their victory into the Sweet Sixteen, I woke up (a little hungover), packed, and made my way to the train station. I’m not an anxious person, but when it comes to traveling with a deadline, I’m always on the edge of panic but everything went smoothly and I made it on the fast train headed to Venice. With a grin on my face, I admired the hills and fields passing me by as I sped over 150 mph towards the City of Water. Four hours later, tired and hungry (the default state of being for a college student studying abroad), I arrived in Venice, immediately dropped my backpack off at my hostel, and went off to explore the narrow streets and winding canals.

Venice is a maze. Google Maps would tell me to walk down what appeared to be a dark, deserted alleyway but, when I would turn the corner, the street would be bustling with life. I thought I was walking in circles because I would pass Murano glass shops, mask shops, and pizzarias then I’d walk over a bridge and pass more glass, masks, and pizza. I happened upon Piazza San Marco, the only piazza in Venice, crowded with one half tourists and the other half pigeons. Children were chasing the pigeons, couples were dancing to live music emanating from the caffès lining the piazza, men were feeding the pigeons and trying to get tourists to pay to take pictures with the birds, and tourists were walking around with their selfie sticks, always looking up with their mouths agape. When you travel a lot, you start to notice the typical tourist giveaways.

At the East end of Piazza San Marco lies Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica. Unfortunately, I was unable to go inside but I did admire the facade, which was highlighted with gold mosaics and sparkled in the golden hour sunlight. The sun was approaching the horizon and I realized that now was my opportunity to see a Venetian sunset so I frantically walked around trying to find that perfect view that I’ve seen in photos but, unfortunately, I could not beat the sun. I started back towards my hostel, meanwhile glancing at all the menus posted along the way. A woman, whose job consisted of getting people into her ristorante, advised me about the perfect Venetian dishes to try for a seafood beginner (I’m not a fan of seafood but I wanted to be adventurous). I ate spaghetti alle vongole which was spaghetti with teeny, tiny clams in their shell and tomatoes with garlic sauce. Delizioso! Oh, can’t forget the glass of white house wine, one must drink wine in Italy.

I began my second day in Venice with a cappuccino and a trip to Murano, an island about a thirty-five-minute waterbus ride from my hostel. Murano is famous for its glass production which began in the 7th century. I went to the Glass Museum and saw some ancient glass and learned the history surrounding the main product of Venice. The glassblowing process is so fascinating, I wish I could’ve seen it in person! After leaving the museum, I walked along the canals and browsed through the shops lining the water. It took lots of deliberation but I found some beautiful souvenirs to bring back home for my friends and family.

Let’s talk about transportation in Venice. There are no roads, only canals, so you can either walk or travel by water. Waiting for the bus consisted of standing on a swaying platform next to a dock and hopping on a boat when it arrived. Venice did not feel like a real place because it is so different than any city I’ve ever seen. Florence has mopeds, Amsterdam has bikes, London has the Tube, Paris has the Metro, and Venice has waterbuses and gondolas.

Gondolas have set rates in Venice so one gondola for forty minutes is €80 and you can have a maximum of six people splitting that cost. As we know, I was traveling by myself and I could not afford an €80 private gondola ride on my romantic solo trip but I couldn’t go to Venice and not ride a gondola! I scoured the internet until I came across a deal on Viator.com for a walking tour plus thirty-five-minute gondola ride for $51. US DOLLARS! Lifelong dreams were coming true that day. It was time to meet up for the walking tour of Venice and my tour guide was a Venetian with a sarcastic, dark sense of humor and I enjoyed it. We toured an area with less tourists and saw a few of the one hundred and twenty-five churches of Venice. Venice sinks about 12 cm a century so now is a great time to invest in the housing market (credit for that joke goes to my tour guide, Marco). 

It was finally time for my gondola ride! I was put onto the boat with two couples and another solo rider and we embarked on our thirty-five-minute expedition around the winding Venetian canals. My gondolier did not sing or wear a fun hat like I saw other gondoliers wearing but he peacefully propelled us along. The best way to experience Venice is by water and I am so glad I was able to go on a gondola ride. It was peaceful and beautiful but over all too quickly.

After disembarking from the gondola, I wondered around a bit and happened upon Piazza San Marco, again. There are wooden walkways for when the city floods stacked all over the piazza so I went off towards the Doge’s Palace to sit on the walkways with the other tourists. I had a salami sandwich in my purse leftover from my sack lunch and I was starving so I thought it would be a good time to relax for a minute and eat. Plus, I was saving money because I did not need to buy another meal. I pulled out my sandwich, unwrapped the tinfoil around it, and took a bite but within thirty seconds of that first bite, a seagull swooped down and grabbed the sandwich from my hand. The seagull landed about fifteen feet in front of me and eight other seagulls were fighting that thief for my sandwich. I was completely shocked. Did a seagull really just take my sandwich? The other tourists around me also looked shocked and I started to laugh hysterically. I could not believe that just happened and I thought it was hilarious because it was such a stupid mistake to try and eat in a piazza FILLED with birds. If you go to Venice, please do not eat in the Piazza San Marco, learn from my mistake!

There I was in the piazza, hysterically laughing, alone, and without food so I wondered around until I found a take away pizza place. I had walked past it a couple of times during my earlier adventuring and there was a spinach and ricotta pizza that I had been eyeing. Of course, I got the pizza because it was only €3.50 and the slice was huge! I think my sandwich was meant to be taken from me so that I could enjoy that delicious pizza. It was waaaaay better than any pizza that I’ve eaten in Rome so far.

The sun was setting on my second day in Venice and I found myself at a dead-end with a perfect view of the sunset. It finally hit me that I was in Venice. Traveling is hectic and everything moves so fast that it’s possible to forget to take a breath and really appreciate the place you’re in. I felt the cool breeze on my face and I knew that if I touched the water, it would be cold. I’m not sure for how long I watched that scene but I did not walk away until the sun made its full decent beyond the horizon.

Venice is gorgeous, unique, and a little bit ridiculous and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit before it sinks. I’m kidding, that’s not going to happen for a while. Traveling to Venice felt unreal because it is so different than any city that I have ever seen. This small town will forever hold a place in my heart, even if it feels like just a dream.

 

Hello Rome, have we met?

Hello Rome, have we met?

Week Seven is already coming to an end. I can hardly believe it myself. As I reflect on the past month and a half, I can’t help but wonder, what have I actually accomplished in my time here? Home is where someone notices your absence. Has my home noticed mine? Have I already grown accustomed to a life away from the house and people I’ve always known? Can I honestly say I’ve taken advantage of the privilege of a life abroad and all that that entitles? My friends and followers all comment their envious blips on my posts, reaffirming my “luckiness.” I’ve met people from around the globe whose presence has affected me as a traveller and made me realize the importance of the impression you can leave on someone’s life, as big or small as it may be.

This might get real cheesy real fast, but bear with me. Call it what you may: meditation, homesickness, the cliche quest of a young adult trying to “find herself,” or whatever. Life abroad away from my family, friends, even weather, has made me realize just how much I take for granted. It started off with the little things like how close my house is to Target and the availability of a reliable dryer when I do laundry. It eventually built up to include how easy it is to FaceTime in the comfort of my house without having ten people walk in on me and the comforting feeling of knowing my mom is cooking up dinner in the next room. The familiarity of the home I grew up in has created a security blanket that I’ve had to shed in order to full enjoy what Rome has to offer.

While the rest of my classmates packed their bags to seek adventure in various European regions, my friends and I decided to slow down and spend two weekends in Rome. This consisted of a pretty empty cafeteria and hardly anyone adding to the arduous slamming of doors every ten minutes. While I agree on wanting to explore Europe at large (I myself have trips lined up), taking a step back is also a necessary part of enjoying a study abroad experience. Hitting up our favorite pub and dancing the night away to throwbacks of the 2000s (is that what they think Americans listen to all day?) can be just as rewarding as taking flights around the continent. All you really need is good company, good music, and a drink (I’m talking about Mountain Dews, baby!).

While I have yet to hit the halfway mark on my trip, I know there’s still a lot for me to see, hear, smell, taste, touch, etc. I often question how I can return to my life in Chicago when every day there’s something new to explore in Rome. At this point it’d probably take a lifetime to accept and adjust to the norms of European living. Despite the stress and late-night cram sessions (sometimes I forget I’m here to study), my time abroad has already changed me for the better. My appreciation for travel and culture will stick with me in everything I invest in. While my experience will certainly differ from the next person’s, reflection is key in understanding just what this period of adaptation means for the future. I know in my heart I’ll be back here, but for now I’ll take it one day at a time.

-Andrea

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I live in Rinaldo’s. I’ve officially set up shop and am not leaving until spring break starting today. I realize that I’m spending too much time focusing on creating content for work and brainstorming that I haven’t been studying enough. I’ve done research on different and effective ways to use instagram to make sales, while posting 3 times a week, I’m supposed to also be posting 2-3 stories a week,

finding new stories to write about like new restaurants, and the March Events Blog post is due next Monday. I completely bombed my finance test which probably shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. I need to be more focused and balanced in how I’m allocating my time. The rest of my midterms are next week so I’m basically not leaving JFRC until my grades are where I need them to be (or sleeping probably, but that’s college right?). Today I took the 990 Bus to Vatican City to take some pictures for my internship and send out postcards to my friends and family. It was 2,80 euros per stamp. The man who was working at the post office seemed was super rude. I handed him my debit card and he threw my postcards on the

desk and said, “No Card.” Alright, noted. I handed him cash, took my postcards and stamps, and left. It was probably because I spoke English to be honest. On my way back to the bus I stopped at a McCafe. I wish McDonalds had them in the united states like they do here. They have cheesecake, muffins, cornetto, colorful doughnuts, and it’s awesome. I got some decent pictures for the Roman Foodie instagram. I ended up buying a creamolosa al caffee. Its pistachio fudge topped with espresso and vanilla soft serve. I had no idea what I was getting but I figure I should try a new thing every day if I can. My life has been changed. With such easy access

to sweets, I’ve come to the realization that I need to do something to keep me healthy. So, for the past month or so I’ve gone to the gym 5-6 times a week depending how my body feels. I’m finally starting to see the benefit of all the work I’ve put in and I’m really happy about. So, the goal for next week is to sort my life out, but its really hard to say the least.

 

The Joys & Pains of Solo Travel

The Joys & Pains of Solo Travel

Solo travel. What is it?

Could be a trip across town using good ol’ solid public transportation. Could be making your way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and you’re homebound. Could be taking any journey on your own through a path you’ve never taken before. For me, my first truly solo experience was my trip to Naples & Pompei: three days in two cities in one country that is still pretty foreign to me. Given, I am independent by nature. I don’t typically need to rely on anyone to get a job done and I definitely didn’t want anything to hold me back from being able to pursue a trip that would make a great story. So, while my friends packed their bags to go to Munich for the weekend, I departed in a separate direction to the Northern half of Italy.

Traveling solo is an experience that is typically marketed as “easy” …for men. Men and women simply aren’t subject to the same variation of dangers that travel entails. While traveling in any group to any place should be approached with caution and research (let’s not be naive here), men have it easier. That’s just the way it is! And don’t worry, I’ll always be salty about it. Women have to worry about what clothes they pack, their demeanor on the streets so as not to attract the wrong kind of attention, and keeping an eye on the closest exit at all times. It’s a STRUGGLE. But if you can pull it off, not only does it give you amazing street cred, it gives you a personal sense of intense satisfaction that, hell yeah, you are officially a solo traveller.

First things first, be prepared. I can not stress enough how much smoother a trip will pan out if you do your freaking research on the area. This includes transportation to and from the city, to and from your lodging, whether to book an Airbnb or hostel or hotel, what landmarks are nearby and how long it takes to get there, and my favorite, where to eat! So basically: location, transportation, lodging, fun and food. Once you have your plans set, all it takes is a bit of a pep talk, a backpack of necessities, and you’re good to go!

Approach a solo trip like a friend who won’t judge you if you decide to sleep in till noon, who will let you eat what you want when you want to, who will officially let you switch on your Do Not Disturb mode. It is a time for relaxation and adventure and exploration and venturing into the unknown! Treat yo self! There’s no telling what you’ll see and do! Diving headfirst with an open mind is as liberating as you make it. It’s like that cheesy quote:

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Now that’s not to say you should jump at every opportunity. While there’s no one there to judge you if you said yes, trust yourself to deny the potential for an absurd story, and realize your own company is far more satisfying. No one knows you like you know yourself. I wasn’t prepared for the times I wished I could turn to a friend and say, “You need to try this!” or “Did you see that?!” And if you and your friends go separate ways, FOMO is real and it’s a downer. You have to fend for yourself in more ways than one. The amount of times I’ve been a target of heavy catcalling is enough to make me never want to leave my room!! Needless to say, I definitely perfected my mean muggin’, don’t-even-look-in-my-direction face when the sketch-o-meter was high.

But you know what? I was responsible for ma own self. I am capable. I forced myself out of my comfort zone and experienced a trip  that is unique to me. I can say I went to Naples and Pompei and navigated through a foreign city unscathed. I trust myself to protect my being against social and physical dangers and also to be a good judge of character when needed.

If you’re considering a solo trip, go for it! It’ll build your confidence, help you appreciate yourself a little more, and change the minds of people who think it’s impossible. Sure it’s a little scary and awkward. But all in all, if you’re smart and aware, and don’t let people hold you back from experiencing life and the world and all it has to offer, you won’t regret the experience. I know I don’t.

-Andrea

Working Abroad: How to Handle Bad A Week

Working Abroad: How to Handle Bad A Week

Okay. This is getting really difficult.

Granted, working for The Roman Guy is a godsend in comparison to other internships I could have gotten in terms of work environment, the job itself is getting a bit overwhelming. It’s been difficult to gather exactly what I need to be doing because there are so many smaller elements that go together for each task I must complete. For example, I have to learn how to operate MeetEdgar. This is a website in which I plug in posts into separate “buckets” based on type of post.

From there I can schedule which posts go on Facebook and Twitter by plugging that bucket into whatever time slot I want. I’ve used MeetEdgar twice, but now I think I’ve got a much better understanding of how it works. Then there is Instagram where I need to be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at a time I think would reach the most followers. This would be fine if I had images to share. The Roman Guy is a fairly new company so they don’t have a ton of their own pictures. This being said, I need to be going out and taking pictures myself of the various foods and fresh food markets that are in Rome. I’m finding this difficult because I don’t have any income so I can’t always be going out to different places to take amazing food pictures for my posts. With these pictures I do manage to take, I have to create multiple images with polls, quotes, questions, etc. to post at scheduled times. It’s also hard because a lot more time is needed, in my opinion, than the 10-hour average per week that is recommended. It feels heavy especially when also managing school work. This is leaving my content not as amazing as I would like it to be (see attached images). Additionally, it’s my responsibility check on these social media accounts and interact with our followers. I won’t lie, I feel pretty discouraged.

This past week I got a really bad cough and fever. I’m not able to get sleep because of it. My supervisor noticed I seemed ill and was very kind about it which surprised me because people aren’t typically like this in the United States. She sent me home early and allowed me to complete my tasks on campus for the following day. I’m grateful for how accommodating and understanding The Roman Guy is. Though I didn’t go into work, I spent 8 hours on campus in the café this morning completing work so I wouldn’t fall behind. Realizing Rinaldo’s had soy milk was the highlight of my week so staying there for 8 hours did me some good, I’d say. Spending so much time on work today helped me feel like I have a better grip on what I have to do to stay on target. So what am I going to do to get past it? Looking for things to be happy about even if it’s as small as the cafe offering soy milk because I’m lactose intolerant. Additionally, I truly believe that no one should have to think about work and school every moment of every day. It’s healthy to take time to relax especially when getting sick. Tomorrow, JFRC is taking a group of students to a thermal bath for a spa day. Doing something for yourself to not be so overwhelmed can work wonders and improve productivity and sanity. Besides, getting through times like this is what I believe makes it all worth it in the end. I’m trying to stay optimistic because underneath it all I’m happy to be working for a company that shows that they care about my overall well being and is helping me grow into a better Marketer. Sometimes people have bad weeks and that’s alright as long as they bounce back. I just need to push through it.