As I begin to finalize the details of my departure for Rome—booking my flights, registering for courses, and preparing for my fast-approaching appointment at the Italian Consulate—the experiences I will have while there are beginning to become more real. I am increasingly finding myself fantasizing about my future day-to-day Roman life and wondering what areas of the city will become my havens, what classes will engage me intellectually, and what my new friends will be like.
In my mind, I wake up early for an on-site visit for my painting class, and stop for a cappuccino at my favorite local bar along the way. I meet my class at St. Peter’s Basilica for a morning of painting our favorite feature of the monument, whether it be the intricate base of a column or a group of visitors agape at the church’s beauty. I imagine strolling back with a group of friends to the Villa Caproni, but not before picking up fresh panini on our way so we can have a picnic lunch on the banks of the Tiber. Well rested from a morning of art and food, my political science classmates and I will engage in an impassioned debate about Italy’s current immigration policies. Walking back to my apartment at the Residence Candia, I envision stopping at a local open-air market where I will use my newly developed Italian language skills to purchase fresh fruit, cheese, and prosciutto for dinner. Later that night, I meet up with friends for our weekly calcetto game, and wind down for the night by editing an essay on the mafia due in my sociology class the next morning.
It’s hard for me to imagine a more perfect day, and I know that there will be numerous more beloved daily routines that I will only discover upon my arrival in Italy. For now, I can only begin to prepare for what I expect to be an extremely formative experience, in which I will be able to grow intellectually, through strong academic and extracurricular offerings, and personally, through the adventure that full immersion in Roman life will bring.
My daily life now feels so removed from what it will be in just a few short months. At the most basic level, I’m a student at Tufts University who has never met anyone from Temple. When I arrive in Rome, I will likely be one of a few non-Temple students, who will have to boldly meet new people, adapt to norms within the student body, and acclimate to a different format and style of teaching. However, I am comforted by the fact that all of us Temple Rome students will be thrust into a new country, culture, and lifestyle together, and look forward to seeing how a common sense of foreignness will unite us. The expression “When in Rome” could not be more fitting, and I can’t wait to see the many ways I will adapt my tastes, behaviors, and attitudes to reflect the culture of my new home.