I am officially a study abroad student. I know this because I have truly been initiated. My initiation you wonder? I lost my wallet. It seems as though you aren’t completely an international student until you go to check your phone and it’s not there, or like me, you can’t unlock your door because your keys are connected to your missing wallet. It is an incredibly unsettling feeling. You retrace your steps, call the places you were at that day and wonder which smooth pick-pocketer may have gotten away with your goods. You could have even expressed your frustrations by swearing in more than one language, which I recommend for pure entertainment alone. But what you don’t do is freak out.
Losing a wallet, a phone or a passport is a huge pain. But it is not the end of the world. Don’t cry, nobody got hurt. Things can be replaced, it may be expensive, but nobody is bleeding. All good. I say this because I was prepared for something like this to happen. Before I left, I photocopied my passport, IDs and monetary cards. I always check my financial transactions online (yes, it reminds me how much I really did spend on those shoes…). If you plan for this, when it happens you won’t feel distressed.
The amazing thing about this situation is that I actually did get my wallet back, WITH EVERYTHING IN IT. I had lost faith in humanity when Bush got reelected in 2004, but getting the call saying the police are holding my wallet has reassured me. Bless the Italian who helped me out–thank you for not taking advantage of my carelessness.
The most frustrating part of this experience was that I lost my wallet right before my class excursion to Milan the next day. Somehow I was smart enough to not have all my euros in my wallet. Seriously, don’t carry all your eggs in one basket. With my passport and under 200 euros in my pocket, my class excursion went by flawlessly, especially when I get a call from Temple Rome about the finding of my wallet.
I recommend to all students to sign up for at least one weekend long class excursion. The transportation, lodging and most activities are covered in the cost of the class, so the few extra hundreds you pay for the course go to good use. It’s like you have your own personal tour guide taking you around a new city. It’s a fun way to travel to different areas and get to know your classmates and professors. After spending three days in Milan for my Italian Design course, I have some advice for those preparing for their class excursions: expect to not have a lot of down time. Every morning was an early start with a filled agenda, so pack a light backpack for your belongings to stay organized throughout the trip. Always have a snack and cash on hand and don’t stay out too terribly late in the evenings, or you will most likely regret it. The only time you can do homework is during the beginning and ending of travel, so get your work done ahead of time to fully enjoy the experience.