“Where are you going again,” my dad asked me for what felt like the millionth time.
“Rome, dad. I’m going to Rome.”
After I got accepted to study abroad for Temple Rome’s program, I naively believed that the world around me would freeze, just long enough for me to gather myself to leave. Then, in no time at all, it would conveniently wind right up to my departure date, and I would be flying off to Rome.
But, reality hit me. Time doesn’t work like that. And as my dad’s forgetful nature implies, the world does not revolve around my study abroad program. I must admit though, I am glad that’s not how these things work, because preparing to venture off to a foreign city is not as easy as I thought it would be.
From the student visa application (oh my goodness, how many boxes are there?!) to searching Amazon for the correct adaptor, there are plenty of minor details to occupy my time with. And of course, there’s the more emotional preparation of trying to soak in quality time with family and friends before I’m off easing my culture shock with an Italian cappuccino.
With only a little over two months to go, I can hardly believe that this giant adventure that I’ve been diligently preparing for is quickly approaching. Despite the fact that I was eager to fast forward to my anticipated day of departure, I have now found myself experiencing a mixture of extreme elation with a hint of nervousness. Although I did have the incredible opportunity to spend a week in Iceland the summer before my freshman year of college, I have never “legitimately” spent time abroad — especially not by myself, in a city that speaks a different language than mine, away from the comforts of the familiar.
As I go back and forth between the exciting and apprehensive sides of anticipation, I have taken comfort in the fact that hundreds of students have done this before me. And, if I’m really looking to calm my more anxious nerves, I remind myself that people used to travel like this without the access to globalizing technology. Ultimately, spending an entire semester in the astounding city of Rome is not an opportunity to pass up. The unknown and unpredictable aspects of it will be what makes this an adventure of a lifetime. I joke with my friends that this experience is what I’ll reminisce on as the “golden days” of my life, as I force my grandkids to listen.
Back during my the middle of my first semester at college, I remember talking to my friend about studying abroad. We both made halfhearted excuses for why we weren’t going to study abroad in college. They included the typical excuses, from claiming fear of missing our family or our lives here to justifying that we would definitely travel after we graduated and had full-time jobs (ha). I’m glad neither of us were actually foolish enough to pass up on the opportunity to go and to be pushed in the most uncomfortable and rewarding way. I’m coming for ya, Rome.