2018 Fall Cecilia D'Arville Italy Temple Rome Temple Semester

A Different Kind of Different: Letting Go of Study Abroad Expectations

It’s hard to believe that in a few short days, I’ll be moving to Italy for a semester to study at Temple Rome. I figured after being accepted into the program, I’d be able to start daydreaming about the before-class cappuccinos and before-bed gelato and everything in between. However, I realized almost immediately that my journey to Rome would be almost as exciting as my journey in Rome. A few major roadblocks stood between me and my daydreams – namely money, housing, and legalities.

As soon as Temple Rome became a reality, so did paying for Temple Rome. I spent hours poring over niche scholarships focused on everything from mattresses to minimizing cat stress. I applied to a couple of these oddball scholarships to no avail. Soon after, I decided to apply for scholarships directly through Temple, including college specific, major specific, and study abroad scholarships. I ended up finding more success through these opportunities and was fortunate enough to be offered two scholarships which will help fund my morning coffee runs and evening gelato runs! I’m kidding of course, but I am grateful that these scholarships will allow me to stress less about money while I’m abroad through helping with tuition and the cost of living.

This brings me to my next roadblock: finding a place to live. Although Temple Rome offers housing, early on I decided I wanted to live in independent housing. This meant looking at Airbnb for hours on end with my friend Hannah (who’s also studying in Rome) for affordable housing options close to campus. Eventually, after a month or so of checking out places, talking to renters, and roping in two other roommates, Hannah and I found the perfect place near Temple’s campus within our price range.

At this point, the only thing standing between me and my anxiety-free daydreams of Rome was my visa. Luckily, my passport was up to date and ready to go. However, in the midst of getting together the documents needed for visa processing, I turned twenty, which meant receiving the amazing present of a newly expired license. In the week before the visa application was due, I anxiously waited near the mailbox for my envelope from the DMV. Thankfully the DMV isn’t quite as slow as you might think (if you haven’t seen the sloth scene from Zootopia definitely give it a quick watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0woPde7OE1k) and I was able to mail my application to the study abroad office on time.

Now, finally, I’m basking in my excitement for this upcoming adventure. I’m packed and ready to go and I’ve talked with friends and family who have gone abroad about how they managed the stress, excitement, and nuances of their experiences. While discussing his experiences in Rome, a friend of my mom’s said that living and studying in Italy is a “different kind of different.” His words helped me to shed my expectations for what the upcoming months of my life will look like. It’s definitely going to be different from anything I’ve ever experienced but not a different that I can fully prepare for. A different kind of different.

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Packed and ready for take off – only bringing the essentials of course!

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