Bisogna porsi degli obiettivi. Meaning you have to set goals for yourself. I surely had intentions in mind when I decided to study abroad in Rome. Although it wasn’t exactly to master the Italian language, nor try every single pasta dish imaginable, I created perceived goals of what I wanted to accomplish while spending the semester in the Eternal City. And surely most students who study abroad should.
I would like to share some of my goals I have for myself while living in Rome, studying and navigating the city. I purposely chose to take courses that met on site and had field trips, so I would visit places I wouldn’t have seen on my own. I wanted to see different museums and sites that weren’t on the tourist to-do list. I wanted to have a better understanding of what I was looking at and know what was going during the time of its development. I wanted to be better at directions and independently find my way. I also wanted to not only accept the feeling of being lost, but embrace it. It’s okay to take the long way to the destination or wander aimlessly.
Personally, the main purpose of why I did study abroad was a testing ground. I have always been interested in living abroad, so study abroad was the closest way to try out the experience. Living in a foreign city for a few months has given me the opportunity to understand what to expect if I decide to live somewhere in Europe later on. Traveling around Italy and other countries has shown me the possibilities of what life could be like away from the United States.
A few weeks ago, Temple Rome hosted an event in which students met with ex-patriots, people who grew up in America and now live in a different country. These expats are living and working in Rome and gave insights about what it is like to live abroad. Some points that stuck out to me addressed the types of jobs available for new expats and when to make the transition. Some of the expats noted it’s common for people to first start out teaching English at schools or nannying; they also said it’s easiest to commit to living abroad right after graduating college because people are already in a transitioning stage. They pointed out that not knowing the language does make it more difficult to go about everyday errands and communicating with people, but social media helped many make friends where they were located. Some of the expats admit living away from family and friends can be lonely at times, but being in a beautiful location is rewarding. And their loved ones from home love to visit them often.
Overall, this experience of study abroad is incomparable to anything else I have done in my life. Although I am unsure if I will end up living abroad or where I will do it, being in Rome these past weeks has been eye opening to history, culture and the world beyond what I previously knew. I recommend the experience of studying abroad to anyone who is capable of doing it. The opportunity to live in Rome is something I will cherish forever.