The GoGlobal Blog

The Good, The Bad, and The Cross-Cultural Connections in Between

The Good, The Bad, and The Cross-Cultural Connections in Between

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Many apologies for the length of time it has been since my last post. Life abroad can get very busy very quickly! Since I last posted, I have traveled to Turin, Milan, Pisa, Bologna, Florence, Tivoli, and Munich. I’ve also been caught up in the crazy pre-finals week/end of the year mess of homework, papers, projects, and prepping for work for the summer. Surprise, studying abroad includes studying!

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My within-Italy trips (Turin, Milan, Pisa, Bologna, Florence) were all my first experience getting outside of Rome, while remaining in Italy, since the first few weekends abroad. I’m happy I got to take these trips, as they showed me different sides of the country I’ve been living in for over 3 months now! Bologna’s incredible food, Milan’s happening modern center, Florence’s vast history in art, Turin’s casual but fun atmosphere, and Pisa’s infamous tower were all exciting, new things for me to get outside of Rome and see. Each new adventure made me fall in love with Italy.

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That being said, my trip to Munich reminded me of everything I have missed enjoying about my home back in the states – and everything that Italy seems to fall short on. For one, clean, non-dog-feces covered, stable, un-cracked, and pothole-less sidewalks were a welcome change from the paths that dare to be deemed sidewalks in Italy. When you’re walking as much as you do in Europe, this is a big deal. In addition, the places we could go in Munich (and in truth, other non-European cities) were more diverse than ones in Italy, a notion similar to the “melting pot” of the United States. Restaurants of all kinds and stores selling many different things were available, whereas in Rome and other Italian cities, finding a good place for food or goods that aren’t Italian can be tough. That may seem like no problem because pasta and pizza is great, right? Yes, but after 3 months it  does start to get old, as does waiting uncertain amounts of time for public transport. I will never take the always-predictable “L” for granted again!

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All of this seems a bit like complaining, and sometimes I do actually complain about these things, but in truth the differences between various countries abroad, as well as my home country, all contribute to this experience of studying abroad. It’s not always supposed to be perfect, and every country or city doesn’t have to be absolutely amazing in every aspect for it to be a fun place to be. Rome can be pretty frustrating, but that doesn’t mean it’s not pretty incredible.

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If there’s any important thing I’ve learned from studying abroad, it’s this: life is pretty much the same wherever you go. There’s always good and bad aspects to any place. There will be good days and bad days. You can be ridiculously busy one minute and in the next be so free that you don’t know what to do with yourself (though the first is far more common than the latter). People are, essentially, the same at heart, no matter where you go. Studying abroad just magnifies the reality of it all. Ultimately, though perhaps for some it’s not a very exciting realization, life abroad is just as full of school assignments, work, and good times as life at home is. The good part comes when you recognize that this realization means you’re a citizen of the earth in the same way as these people around you who seem so different and so far away. We’re all here sharing this wonderful experience of life together as a world community, and that’s pretty exciting to me.

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