The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: rome

Feeling at Home in Rome

Feeling at Home in Rome

I’d decided I was going to study abroad during my senior year of high school when the decision was, arguably, easy. I was leaving for college the following year, so I didn’t have any ties to life at Loyola’s Chicago campus yet. Even as I applied for the John Felice Rome Center my sophomore year, my nerves were at a low in anticipation of all the new experiences to come. When it came time to actually board my flight to Rome, however, my faith in the decision began to fumble. I was worried that I wouldn’t love Rome the same way I loved Chicago or that I wouldn’t make any new friends to travel with. My relief was palpable when, in just the first few weeks of my JFRC experience, both of my doubts were set aside.
Orientation was pleasantly exhausting. We spent most of the first week venturing around Rome, seeing everything from the Colosseum to a whole in the wall restaurant that served authentic pasta for four euro. The near constant immersion in the city made me fall in love with Rome and its contradictions; I’ve always loved Chicago, but even when I moved there for university, I never felt quite as at home as I did dodging puddles in the cobblestone streets near the Forum.

While I was discovering that Rome was the place I’d been looking for, I was surrounded by people who felt the same, the majority of whom had not come to the JFRC with a pre-established group of friends. I expected making friends to be the most difficult part of the journey, but everyone at the JFRC is there to meet people who share this same desire to see the world. During a scavenger hunt wherein we ran around the city taking pictures of all of the quintessential Roman sites, I made friends with a wonderfully positive group that shared my traveling desires and a few of my classes.
There have been nights where I miss my family and friends back home immensely, but the experiences that I’m having during the day make it much easier to cope with. As the days go on, I find myself reflecting on the cappuccino that blew my mind or the breathtaking view from the top of the Spanish Steps instead of how badly I miss Chicago. There are so many things to love about Rome; the hills are nothing like I’ve seen in the suburbs, pasta here is never overdone, and historic churches and ruins are always a few steps away, offering an insight into the city’s history, present, and future. When I do connect with my family and friends, they’re always anticipating stories about my life here and encouraging me to continue chasing personal growth in the eternal city. Connecting with a time change is easier than I’d thought, and the distance has made hearing about life back home is even more entertaining than before I left. I will never not miss my life in Chicago, but I’ll be back within four months. I’ll only have a life here in Rome once, and I can’t wait to live it to the fullest.

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…

Most Of Us

Most Of Us

Since I was a child, the idea of traveling has always excited me, whether it was trying flaky pastries in a small village in Paris, or walking through the historical entrances of Pompeii, I have always been fascinated by the world and all of the distance that separates us as human beings, and yet, all of the everyday commonalities that unite us. However, I am a deep dreamer, and thinker, constantly wondering, and often doubting, about the next move, step, or leap. Although this may be useful for planning and organizing, I have found that this state of mind can get me into trouble. You see, overthinking can turn your wildest, happiest dreams into a prison of fear, anxiety, and doubt. It can lead to a place of certainty, safety, and comfort, but what I have found over the past couple of years is that there is no room for growth, nor learning when set in a box of sameness. See, I enjoy a well rounded routine with a schedule that is almost set to the tee, but I am constantly faced with the decision to break free bit by bit from my comfort zone and face everything that scares me. This includes leaving behind a magical fall school semester, a beautiful city that I call home, and family and friends who have carried me through a tumultuous couple of years.

My decision to study abroad in Rome, Italy was surrounded

with months of contemplation and discussion with family, friends, advisers, and even strangers at the grocery stores who would jump at the chance to relive, or do over, their study abroad experience in college. However, my decision came only clearly to me through writing, specifically when overlooking the waters of Lake Michigan, watching the sailboats pass back and forth, and the sun hitting the water just right. One day, when I was sitting by the water, I turned to the left of me and found a lonely grasshopper. Now, I am known to believe in signs, and I, of course, took this as one. After researching the meaning of grasshoppers, I found that they are representative of jumping forward into the unknown, without jumping backward into the past. Believer or not in signs, I took this grasshopper as a symbol to not be afraid, and to jump as a means of moving forward, of moving towards my greater self.

Now, as I sit here writing this at the library in Rome, I look back on that decision making process with sheer joy and gratitude of the journey that got me right here. It has only been two weeks, but over the course of them, I have experienced so much already. The staff of the John Felice Rome Center do an amazing job organizing a jam packed schedule of events for the two weeks of orientation that include four course meals, city walking tours, and even a weekend trip down to the south of Italy full of wine and cheese tastings, and historical site adventures. Of course it has been overwhelming with the amount of new people, new places, new sites, new sounds, new food, new everything, but I have enjoyed the moments of sameness that stretches throughout continents, and cultures.

Most of us get stuck in traffic. Most of get caught up at the grocery store deciding which cookies to buy. Most of us run late to work on a Monday. Most of us get irritated when the bus does not come on time. Most of us love the smell of homemade food. Most of us love the comforts of people who love us as much as we do them. As human beings, most of us just want the same things. We all want to be seen, heard, recognized, and loved. A traditional, and universal message I have already found in the short two weeks I have been here. We are all trying to figure it out. We are all trying to make our way. Rome you have already taught me so much and I cannot wait to see what is next. 

Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center a little less than a week ago and it has been a whirlwind of a journey to say the least. After traveling for almost 20 hours, I was thrown into more orientation activities than I could count. I was extremely overwhelmed by all of the information and the culture and the foreign language and so much more. I mean, I couldn’t even read the blurbs on the shampoo or conditioner bottles, yet alone adapt to a new life in such a short period of time.

When I mentioned to people that I was considering studying abroad, I got the same answer from almost everyone: that it would be the most amazing, life changing experience and that I would never want to leave. No one told me I was going to be homesick. People mentioned it a few times here and there, but no one told me I was going to be THAT homesick. I have so many wonderful, caring people in my life that it was extremely challenging to adapt to a life with them so far away.

The thought of wanting to jump on a plane back to the states has definitely crossed my mind more than a few times. However, I know that would be a mistake. I am so blessed to even have the option to study in a different country with so many new and exciting opportunities right in front of me. My friends and I have started to make lists of all the places we want to travel to in the next 13 weeks, which makes my stomach turn (in a good way, of course).

Expect the unexpected. Like I said, homesickness was barely discussed in any conversation before I left. So, expect to be homesick. Expect to not be able to understand the Italians and their culture. Expect to cry a few times while you are adjusting. Expect for the homesickness to be gone with time. I have full confidence that mine will be because I have one of the best support systems at home. Life takes a few minutes to kick in.

Please continue to keep up with my journey here in Europe. Next stop: Naples!

We’re not in Chicago Anymore

We’re not in Chicago Anymore

It all hit me when I saw a palm tree rocking back and forth in the wind on the other side of a window at Fiumicino Airport. I thought of previous family vacations and tried to understand where I was, “Am I in Florida?” But I quickly nixed that thought as I worked through it in my mind. “This could not be Florida, there was a TV on the flight, I watched two whole movies and was served oddly sweet chicken teriyaki from a tin container.” This was no ordinary family vacation, this was going to be a journey, a five month journey to be exact. This was not a tourist-ridden resort town, oh no, this was Roma.

Roma and its overwhelming beauty and grand scale hit me hard on the first night. Fighting feelings of intense jet lag and the urge to put on pajamas, I ventured out with a group to The Vatican for a taste of our new home, and also gelato. With a cup of hazelnut gelato in hand, I walked up the street, the light glowing off the damp cobblestone. There on the top of the hill was a curve of columns, illuminated fountains and the wonder that is St. Peter’s Basilica all lit up. In that moment I forgot about how much my eyes wanted sleep, and instead, opened them wide to absorb every inch of beauty that surrounded me.

Now looking back on this first night, I smile with nostalgia, as if it were a memory from long ago. I’ve been here for seven days now and it feels impossible to me that I once didn’t fully know beauty of Rome. I’ve now seen the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Villa Farnese but I’ve also sipped on a cappuccino from a beautiful coffee bar in the Trastevere neighborhood and enjoyed aperitivo before dinner in Monti. Even in the simple things, Rome seems to take my breath away. I don’t think I’ll get it back for five months.

 

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

 

A Clear Day

A Clear Day

These past two weeks in Rome, I really feel like I’ve begun to take my own advice to heart and have found a way to start making Rome my city. The little map that I downloaded at the start of the semester is already filling up with a ton of gelato places, bars, museums, parks, and other spots around Rome that I’ve visited and want to remember. One of my favorites so far has been Villa Borghese; the giant grassy park reminds me both of the Metroparks back home in Cleveland and Millenium Park back home in Chicago. I can easily take some work there, just relax, and find myself lost in a new city.

These past weeks have also started to get really immersing. I started my internship at the American Academy in Rome where I’m working with the Fototeca Unione project building up a Digital Humanities database for researchers and fellows at the American Academy. The work is interesting, and I enjoy finding out more about Roman monuments and sites in Rome, but the best part has actually been the walk back from the Academy. After long days of practicing Italian and working alongside other researchers, I walk down Via Garibaldi on the Janiculum Hill (usually to the sound of Jon Bellion) and take in the marvelous overlook of Rome. Each look – especially as the sun sets – is as miraculous as the one before it. I just want to explore all of Rome’s maze.

And yet, despite how strong that feeling is when I walk down the Janiculum, I almost spent this weekend in. I had a rather exhausting week full of trips across town for my internship, trips across town for on-site classes, trips across town for my research… There were a lot of trips across town, okay? My legs did not want to walk another step. Luckily, I’ve made some great friends who refuse ever to let me rest. On Friday, I found myself in Trastevere experiencing some more of Rome’s nightlife: going for apertivo at Freni e Frizioni, having a chocolate shot at Rivendita, and wandering around the alleys with great company. Eventually, we were sitting down on the stairs of Piazza Trilussa drinking some wine and listening to some street musicians; it was definitely more exciting than a night in.

The next day, we took a trip out to Anzio – a little beach town to the south of Rome – to get some proper relaxation in. It’s not well pictured (mostly because I was not about to take my phone into the water), but the water at Anzio is so clear! There are caves and cliffs along the sides of the beach which made my adventurous spirit so happy! We swam, we explored, we tanned (and burned), but the clear skies kept me happy. Everything in Rome and around it forces you to slow down and I’m really starting to like it. A beach “afternoon” really becomes a beach day, a “lunch” with coworkers becomes a long conversation over coffee, and a “trip across town” becomes a night of sightseeing and great food. Even now, as I’ve settled down, I’m already looking forward to my next clear day out in the city.

Ciao Bella!

Ciao Bella!

Greetings From Bellisima Roma!

It’s been nearly two weeks since I landed in Rome! I can’t believe how fast time is passing, yet at the same time, I feel like a day is worth a week here! Can you believe that I am already avoiding pasta?! The hype is real, and then you realize that it’s way more carbs than you need! Ha ha! Let’s dig in…

(Me & My Roommate, Srishti, at the Roman Forum)

Defying Gravity!

Theoretically, packing for four months seems achievable. Now that I’m actually here, I realize that I am missing quite a bit of the things I couldn’t manage to fit into my suitcase. No, a large suitcase and carry on plus a backpack with a 50 pound weight limit do not cover it all! I guess I’ll think of it as an excuse to buy things here in Italy or wherever I might travel to! Funny enough, my roommate and I found ourselves at H&M down at the city center…very cultural of us.

The flight itself was decent. I tried sleeping, but I ended up playing trivia games with my roommate instead. When we arrived, the Zone Hotel told us our rooms weren’t ready yet. Jet-lagged, we hobbled over to the restaurant eno-z for a BIG glass of water. End of the story? We showered and napped before walking back to JFRC later that night for dinner.

(At the Airport)

Mamma Mia!

Let me just say that although interesting, orientation here reminded me of freshman orientation…except much cooler! The days were extremely long ranging from 9AM-9PM, sometimes longer. That doesn’t include the time it takes to get ready and walk over in the morning from the Zone nor does it include the outings at night that we went on in our own time. Moral of this story? Sleep is for the weak, but also for the smart! Nevertheless, it was fun.

(At the Pantheon for a Drink With Friends)

Lions and Tigers and Gladiators, Oh My!

On the first Saturday, we went in groups to see the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Prior to the trip, Dr. Sander Evers gave an engaging presentation about the history of Rome, beginning with the classic story of Romulus and Remus. Once at the Colosseum, I think the background information helped me appreciate the site more, yet it wasn’t as exciting since it was my second time visiting. At least I was able to make new friends out of the experience!

(At the Colosseum)

What a Beach!

As the last day to our week long orientation, the SLAs (Student Life Assistants) took us on a grandiose trip to the beach. From what I remember, it was called Rambla in Fiumicino. We each got our own lounge chair, which was nice because I don’t think I would’ve wanted to sit in the sand all day. You would think that after 7 hours in the sun and no sunscreen, I’d be burnt to a crisp. Somehow that wasn’t the case! While the weather was partly cloudy, it was still hot and perfect swimming weather. The waves were enormous, and it was a real swim to get to the sand bar because the waves would cap over in the stretch before it. Don’t worry, I made it! I cannot believe the amount of salt water I swallowed. I lost my voice for the next two days! After swimming for quite a bit, I sunk into my lounge chair, exhausted and an Aperol spritz in hand. What a day that was!

(At Rambla Beach)

School of Rock!

Classes started on Monday, Labor day. I love my schedule, and I better! It will be the easiest semester in my 4 years at Loyola considering I’m a Biology Major with a Molecular Biology Emphasis on the Pre-Med track. I think my favorite class so far has been Writing Fiction in Rome. It’s not that I’m a great writer or even great at English. It’s a class where I can be creative and not dread doing my homework all the time. It’s also partially on-site. I think Applied Piano comes close in second! My other classes aren’t bad either. Italian is actually useful because a lot of it is conversational and things I would use going out into the city center. Honors, not that it was really a choice, has been quite philosophical and beyond my mind so far…But at some point we will reach the topic of World War II, and I find that topic fascinating. I had my first Cell Bio class last night, and it was the smallest class I have here! There’s only 6 of us! I think it will be an interesting class, but I hope I don’t fall asleep since it’s from 7PM-9:30PM! I think I’ve underestimated my classes a bit. I wasn’t expecting as much homework as I’ve been getting from all my professors. I need to invest in superb time management!!

Umbria and More!

As a final cap to our welcoming in Italy, the SLAs took us to Umbria for a weekend. It was an intense schedule for 3 straight days, but overall, it was worth it! We visited new towns and captured new sceneries on our phones. From the Narni Underground to the streets of Spoleto, I thought it was intriguing and again, I met so many people! I do, however, think I will be avoiding pork, potatoes, and pasta for a few days.

(With our Dean of Students, Dr. Beazley)

Until Next Time!

As much as this post has been a pleasure, it’s time for me to finally get some sleep! The next you’ll hear from me will be after my trip to Venice and Milan! I’m so excited!

Until next time,

Emma

Trying to be less American

Trying to be less American

After one long flight from Chicago to Rome, a week of jetlag, a weekend in the Italian region of Umbria, and a brief period of lost luggage, I can finally (hopefully) say that I have settled into Roma at the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC).

It’s been a whirlwind of a week filled with gelato, glasses (or maybe bottles) of red wine, and practicing Italian, but I am so excited to be in Rome for this next semester during my year abroad. I can vividly remember the study abroad information session during Loyola Weekend in my senior year of high school when I first heard about the Ricci Scholars Program. The Ricci Program allows me to do cross-cultural research between Rome, Italy, and Beijing, China. From the first moment I heard about it, I knew I wanted to participate but it feels slightly surreal now that I am actually in Rome preparing to research changes in labor law and labor organization over the past half-century.

Not going to lie, the amount of work I’m staring down for this semester and the upcoming year has me feeling a little bit stressed. How am I supposed to balance my work while trying to soak up this whole experience? Last week, every night felt like a choice between being abroad and studying abroad. I was either back at the JFRC reading and working or I was out in Rome – a beautiful city – exploring all of its nooks and crannies. Every turn around the corner was a whole new adventure… but it also felt like I was shaking off my work.

This past weekend in Umbria, however, really helped me to realign myself and my goals for this semester. At first, I was upset that I would lose a whole weekend of either exploring or studying. Yet, as we traveled from city to city in Umbria, as we saw all these hidden gems of Italy, it forced me to slow down and realize that all of last week – in trying to immerse myself fully into my semester abroad – I was completely failing at immersing myself fully into my semester abroad. That fast-paced desire to experience everything, to do everything is so utterly American. This semester is about learning from Italian history and culture, and that means not just walking through a piazza but stopping in it, not just looking at a statue but reading up on it, and not just doing some research but actually learning from it. And why shouldn’t I stop and stare for a while? Every part of this country is beautiful.

And I know that no amount of speaking Italian, eating gelato, or learning about Italy this semester in Rome will be able to make me Italian, but maybe – if I let it – it can make me a little less American.

Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma! We sang that song three times at our Voice concert celebrating the end of the semester on Monday, April 23rd. There were a lot more people in the audience than I expected. (Many of us had pleaded with our friends not to come.) They came anyway, and we laughed and stammered through a few classic Italian songs, including our solo pieces. Most of us were not singers, but we had fun with it, breathing sighs of relief in between phrases because the semester was almost over, we were almost on our way back home.

 

Street art in Prati, Rome

 

     Early on in the semester, I read a blog post written by a former JFRC student, she warned future students not to spend too much time wishing they were home. She wrote that during her semester, she never really stopped missing home, but that’s okay. I too found myself stubbornly missing home and looking forward to going back all semester. I never woke up one day no longer missing home at all. When I read her post, I realized every moment spent wishing I was home was a wasted one. Soon, I knew, I would be writing this last blog post, from my own kitchen table in Chicago. I think after I read that, I was more motivated to make the most of each day, and I did that the best I could for the rest of the semester.

 

A guitarist plays on a curbside in Rome

 

     Looking back, I loved my semester. Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was my own, unique experience that I wouldn’t change. I traveled to Poland and Switzerland, I toured Auschwitz and jumped off of a mountain. I had pizza in Naples and gelato in Florence. Saw the David, the Trevi, Botticelli’s Primavera, and dropped coins in the hats and cases of dozens of street musicians.

 

St. Peter’s Square

 

     Not only am I lucky to have been able to take this trip, but doubly lucky to be able to come home to a place I love. Friends and family, and a whole list of things I missed. Less than 2% of American college students study abroad, an even smaller percentage gets to study abroad, all the while looking forward to coming home, while still enjoying their experiences in the host country. Needless to say, I have a lot to be grateful.

 

Snowfall in Rome!

 

     I got home Friday, April 27th. It’s been a relatively smooth transition. Three months is long enough to grow and change, but not enough to forget what home is like.

     Next steps: Have a fun summer, and hopefully work a good internship related to communications. Next year I will be an RA at Loyola University Chicago, living at the water tower campus near Michigan Avenue. One more thing: I can’t wait to travel like a tourist in Chicago. It’s time for me to see more of my city, and my country!

 

One angle of Amsterdam

 

A hungry scavenger waits for a meal above a fish market

 

Artwork on display during the WWII trip