Rachel Weisman

First Impressions of Rome!

Ciao! My name is Rachel and I am blogging to you all from the beautiful city of Rome! I am studying Fine Art and Art History, so Rome is the perfect city for me. I couldn’t be more excited to be here and I’m looking forward to everything that I will be learning this semester at Temple Rome!

From the second I arrived in Rome, I’ve been discovering more and more about the Italian people and their culture. For example, I quickly learned that Italians drive like madmen! Being from New York, I thought I knew what living in a city is all about.  I’m a street-crossing pro, or so I thought. I now know that crossing the street in Rome is like a real-life version of the game Frogger, and I must be quick, alert, and very careful!

Aside from being crazy drivers, Italians are very friendly. Walking along the cobblestone streets, I have been kindly recognized and greeted by Roman strangers. These people aren’t bothered to pass on a smile, and I don’t mind sending one right back to them, along a shy “ciao.”  There was even one situation where an older man approached me and he started speaking to me in Italian (I think he was asking for directions)! I just smiled, but he quickly saw the clueless expression on my face and realized that I had no idea what he was saying. He smiled back and apologized. I guess I’m looking more like an Italian and fitting in well with the culture!

But I would fit in even better if I spoke a little more Italian. I have set a huge goal for myself way before I even left for my semester in Rome: to be able to carry a full conversation with the local people by the end of the semester. Yesterday I went into a coffee bar to get some breakfast on my walk to the Villa Caproni (the Temple building), and the woman behind the counter asked me what I would like to eat in English (okay, so maybe I do look like an American tourist after all?). Instead of replying in English, I tried the best that I can to answer in Italian. The woman could see that I was trying, and she helped me with pronunciation and told me the names of all the different pastries.  I then started speaking to the other servers behind the counter, and they asked me about myself- where I was from and why I was in Rome. One of them made a deal with me that he would teach me lots of Italian if I help him with his English. Sounds great to me!

Being an art major, I love all of the amazing architecture and artwork that Rome has to offer. This is only my third day here and I feel like I have seen so much already! I’ve been exploring with my friends, just walking and seeing where the streets take us. So far I’ve walked down the Spanish steps, been awed by the Pantheon, and was completed mesmerized by the interior of the Vatican! I am already really incredibly inspired to create artwork of my own! I love how there are so many buildings that are hundreds of years old next to modern buildings. I am looking forward to everything I am going to see today and in the next week! On Sunday, the whole Temple Rome Program is taking a trip to Todi, a medieval hill town a few hours away. I’m so excited!

I can’t wait to take more pictures and share my experiences with all of you! Arrivederci!

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