First impressions abroad:

By: Kathleen Hughes, Foreign Correspondent

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. I have been trying to embrace this saying since arriving in Rome, Italy for the semester. So, I started eating my small breakfast of espresso and a croissant while standing up in a local café; I say “Ciao!” to everyone I see; I dress up when I’m in public; and I keep all the windows open in my apartment to let the wind act as our air conditioner.

However, there are just some things that I don’t think I can adapt to, the main one being that Italians just don’t seem to drink water like we do in the U.S. For example, I went to dinner with a group of friends from my program late one night, in true Roman fashion, and asked for water. I was answered with a laugh and a firm no from our waiter. It’s so uncommon to drink water that our waiter refused to serve it.

I have been perpetually dehydrated—chapped lips, sore throat, the whole nine yards—since I landed in Italy. I think I have added the Italians’ ability to function without water to the list of things that constantly amaze me about this beautiful country.

Aside from my little dehydration problem, moving across the world to live and study in Rome has been an amazing experience. I live in an apartment located three minutes from the Vatican and I just know that I’m going to run into the Pope at some point during my stay.

Life in Italy is just a little different than life at Wofford. Instead of Burwell, I walk down my street and have my pick of the best pizza, pasta and gelato in the world. My walk to class doesn’t include a view of Old Main, but instead St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo. I’m surrounded by fashion-forward people and haven’t seen a t-shirt my whole time here.

Yet, I still cherish the little bits of Wofford I find halfway across the world. My program reminds me of the Wofford family in that the professors are interested in making relationships with students and the classes are very small. I might not be on Wofford’s campus, but I still feel the love of the Wofford community through social media and the daily announcement emails I now get at 3 p.m. instead of 9 a.m.

I’m looking forward to embracing more of the differences between Rome and Wofford and cherishing more of the similarities as I truly start to settle into everyday life as a student in Italy.

Ciao, for now!


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