This is the last post from our intern, Ariella. I asked her to write about her overall experience studying in Rome. It was a pleasure to work with Ariella and we wish her the best as she continues her studies at Cornell University.
I have spent the last four and a half months exploring Rome. I’ve immersed myself in a new culture, started to learn a new language, admired the art and architecture of this amazing city that continues to create history, and meandered through its confusing yet welcoming streets.
The illusions and expectations of studying and living abroad in Rome were surpassed by the realities of my temporary new home. The only real challenge seemed to be the difference in the food markets, which I quickly understood. How fun and interesting to be able to select and purchase food that looked real and smelled as it should. The shadows of dust and dirt reminded me of where the food actually came from, as opposed to very manicured and polished plastic packages of foods that all looked the same and had no aroma.
Stopping at every cafe along the way as I discovered my neighborhood and others I explored, I found my comfort zone. While homesick for family and friends for a short first week, I’m now faced with the fear of returning as I know I will long for the place I will be leaving behind. I suppose it’s good to leave with the feeling of wanting to return as my mission feels unfinished. I fantasize about returning for an extended period of time and can even imagine living here in the future.
Rome has surpassed my expectations and has given me much to think about. I have enjoyed the people, the culture and lifestyle, and the way one moves through this city. It has been so interesting to see how such an old city with all its monuments and history has been able to have continuity despite the politics and introduction of globalization. This is evident by all the current problems of immigration, unemployment, housing, circulation etc. It’s obvious that to preserve and yet become a place where the locals and visitors can enjoy this eternal city, introducing and maintaining infrastructure in the existing urban fabric has been quite a challenge.
It has been a privilege to live and learn in this setting with Rome’s varied colors as they age and as the sun rises and sets through the changing seasons, giving us different perspectives of an everlasting place.