March 15th, 2022 (Rome) by Eli Larson

After a few months have passed abroad, I am now seeing the end of my program in Rome Italy. I find it quite different than Madrid. The public transportation is not as efficient, and operates a little differently, so asking if a coffee shop sells bus tickets in Italian is much harder than Spanish. I have found Rome to be overwhelming with the amount of monuments that litter the sides of the streets. In a typical day, I eat breakfast in my dorm in Trastevere, a town on the other side of the Tiber from downtown Rome. After my peers and I eat some croissants and enjoy a cappuccino, we make our way to our classroom. Passing by the nasoni fountains on the sidewalks, we arrive. After class, I normally walk to the coliseum area, past the roman forum and find somewhere to do some journaling or just enjoy the view. Some days my friends and I enjoy an aperitivo, where drinks at a restaurant are given with a complimentary appetizer, sort of like the American happy hour. On Tuesdays, I volunteer at a local homeless shelter in the mornings near Rome termini station, where homeless people can obtain a pair of shoes or a shirt, or anything they need really. On Tuesday afternoons, I spend my time at a women’s shelter for those affected by anorexia or domestic abuse looking for part time housing. It’s really great to feel as though I am acting in a way to help out the community instead of just enjoy it as a tourist. Through my program, we have a synchronized class that teaches us how to act in certain situations we may find ourselves in. As I can see my time winding down abroad, I am grateful for the experience to broaden my knowledge of the world, but dreading the goodbyes I will have to say to my newfound friends and favorite places.

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