Pre-departure Jitters

While preparing to leave the country, I feel anxious, excited, and curious about the unknown. Rome is notorious for its rich culture, exquisite food, and historical architecture; it seems surreal that I will get to experience it in a matter of three days. Although, where there is excitement, there are also many concerns that have crossed my mind. I find myself wondering what the sociopolitical climate is for women of color in Italy. How will I actually figure out public transportation? Will I be pickpocketed at every turn? 

In contrast, I hope that I soak in all that Italy has to offer. I hope to meet locals and appreciate the country’s customs and traditions. I also look forward to learning more about European politics and foreign affairs from an Italian and Mediterranean perspective. 

My decision to study abroad largely stems from my passion for learning about international relations. At first, the study abroad experience seemed way out of my comfort zone. But, because of the OIP staff, and friends that studied abroad the previous fall semester, and interim, I felt comfortable enough to give it a shot. 

I remember brainstorming about places where I would feel comfortable learning and living for three months without my parents. Then, I considered places that I had always dreamed of visiting or living in. Italy, France, and Africa came to mind, more specifically Rome, Paris, and Morrocco. This past fall I was taking a plethora of international relations and government courses, which heavily discussed comparing states societies. As the course progressed we covered more topics around the European Union, which sparked my interest in Italy’s role in it all. 

Overall, I am nervous to travel outside of the United States but I am hopeful for the new memories and experiences that lie ahead of me in Rome. I plan to journal and reflect upon what I’m experiencing often. Most importantly, I will be intentional about being present at the moment, to fully appreciate the experience.