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10 Things I Learned in Just 10 Days Abroad

10 Things I Learned in Just 10 Days Abroad


Caio everyone! I have now been in Rome for over a week, but it feels like much, much longer. Many things have happened since arriving here; I truly don’t know where to begin. In just the past few days, I visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain (all of which were amazing and could each have their own individual blog post). I spent an entire day lounging with friends  on the beaches of Maccarese. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from all over the country who have also chosen to study here. I’ve also spent the last week getting familiar with the JFRC campus and a new class schedule. Phew! It’s been a whirlwind of a time so far. And I’ll just say this: Rome is a hard city to describe in writing. Usually when a person describes a new place, they can compare it to another one they have previously visited. It’s a little bit like here, or a little bit like there, they say. However, I find difficulty in describing Rome that way because, well… I’ve never visited a place quite like it before. It is chaos and adventure and history and and art all at once. Rome is, so far, a wonderfully overwhelming place to be. That’s the best description I can write at this moment. To be completely honest, Rome has something incredibly special about it, something that I ‘m still trying to think through. Anyways, while I figure out my place in this crazy city, I’ve written yet another list. I like lists! So here it is.

The 10 things I learned during my first 10 days abroad:

1. Rome is huge. It is definitely not what I expected in terms of size. And I’ve only seen such a small part of it!

2. Many Italians speak English, but they are super appreciative when someone tries to speak their language anyways. My accent is horrible – but hey! – at least I’m trying (and probably giving some Italians a good laugh in the process).

3. Getting lost is a good thing. Between the trains and buses and all of Rome’s winding back roads, I have already lost my way a couple of times. But it was during those times that I was forced out of my comfort zone and was able to talk with locals. I also found some pretty amazing gelato on the way. Which leads me to..

4. The food. AHHHH. Some parts of Rome are not at all what I expected, but the dining experience has surpassed all expectations that I had about Italian food. The pizza, the pasta, the wine, all of it. Molto deliziosa! Oh and did I mention aperitivi? It’s an Italian tradition of serving appetizers with drinks during early dinner hours. The BEST.

5. Street vendors are pretty much totally unavoidable. The first couple of days, the vendors were sort of amusing. We all had a good laugh. But after a few nights spent in the city, getting selfie sticks, roses, and polaroid cameras shoved in your face gets old!

6. The coffee culture is much, much different. For starters, there is no ice. There is no such thing as iced coffee here (Yes, in case you were wondering, I am going through Starbucks withdrawals). Taking shots of espresso every morning is just part of the Italian daily routine, leaving no time for chit chatting. How very different from the states! But the espresso here is deliciously strong, nevertheless. I plan on exploring as many of the bars and coffee shops Italy has to offer!

7. Perhaps one of the biggest culture shocks: the shopping.  There is no Target or Walmart or convenient store to get everything at once. Necessities are, for the most part, sold at different places. I guess, in a way, it’s part of the fun of exploring Rome.

8. There is endless amount of adventure at my fingertips.  It’s sort of like Chicago in that way, I suppose. Everywhere you walk, there is a new restaurant to try, and new store to discover, and exciting, interesting people to meet. Not to mention the hundreds of museums, monuments, and galleries to visit. It’s pretty clear that in my time here, I will never ever be bored.

9. No wifi, no problem. At first it was a little strange not to have cell service or wifi, but I’ve gotten into the habit of staring at my phone less, and talking to those around me more. It is most definitely a positive thing. At this point, I mainly only use my phone for the camera use. I’ve already taken some amazing pictures! And lastly…

10. Rome is going to change me. It’s sort of one of those things a person can feel in their bones – that they will leave a place a different kind of person than before.

Thanks for reading! I just want to reiterate the fact that I have horrible phone service here. So for anyone who has been trying to get a hold of me, I’m not ignoring you. Promise! As always, the best way to reach me for anything is by email at And one last thing to add – I haven’t been able to get my photos to post at the quality I want. So once I figure that out, I will definitely put lots more on here.

Until next time!


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