2014 Summer Kenneth Freeman Temple Rome

Preparing for the experience of a lifetime can be a bit overwhelming

It’s 2 a.m. in the morning. I have to get up for class in 6 hours, but I can’t sleep no matter how hard I try. I’ve read my book, watched some television, I’ve even counted sheep. That’s when you know you should just stop trying. Sleep deprivation seems to be a normal thing for me in recent weeks though. This kind, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. I blame Rome. It seems to be the only thing on my mind, and it’s getting worse as the days countdown to takeoff.

You know when you see something and it reminds you of another thing? That’s how I’m feeling about EVERYTHING; pasta, suitcases, planes, currency exchange offices in Center City. Rome, Rome, and more Rome. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t bet against every search in my Google history containing the word “Rome” or “Italy.” It’s safe to say that I’m excited, and despite this being the only emotion that is surfacing, I ensure you that it is NOT the only emotion that I’m feeling as I prepare for the summer.

Navigating the large campus of Temple University and exploring the large city that is Philadelphia has certainly made me quite the expert with directions, bearings, and traveling into newly discovered areas in the city. But man, am I nervous for Rome. For starters, I only know two words of Italian; hello, and goodbye (which are the same word; Ciao). Add my unfamiliarity with basically anything and everything in Rome – the metro system, the food, Temple’s campus – and I’m pretty much a tourist beacon. I might as well carry a giant sign around with me: “Warning I’m a Tourist.” The bright side to this, however, is that I am willing to try to understand and accept Italian culture, which kind of takes away from the “touristic” model.

Despite being scared, I’m prepared. But being prepared does come at some cost. I’m talking about stress. Finding a flight, applying for loans, and searching for solutions regarding communication and the U.S. dollar should come with a “potential hair loss” warning. Luckily, I like to stay on the ball and get things done early. What I’ve come to find so far:

  • I’ve never flown alone, so it was fun to book a flight.
  • I forgot how lengthy of a process it was to apply for a loan, so I’m glad that’s over with.
  • Verizon Wireless thinks college students are made of money and expect me to pay over a dollar a minute to talk on my phone in Rome, so good thing for social media.
  • The value of the U.S. dollar is sort of sad, but I would be really rich if I were to study abroad in Japan, so I guess it goes to say that I had a laugh while figuring out solutions to paying for things in Rome.

The countdown on my phone reads 44 days. In 44 days, I plan on embarking on perhaps the greatest experience that I will have in my life. It is evident that I am feeling quite the melting pot of emotions as the days close in and as I check things off of my list, but until then, wish me luck getting 6 hours or less of sleep a night. Thanks, Rome!

Just some essentials needed in order to depart. I would suggest allowing a reasonable amount of time in order to get your passport. They take a while to get, and they’re rather expensive. A small price to pay in order to study abroad, however. Also, many banks will exchange currency for you in the States. Definitely exchange some currency in order to carry in your pocket before arriving in your foreign country.

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