Arrivederci, Los Angeles! Ciao, Roma!

Andrew Masciarelli headshot
Andrew Masciarelli
August 30, 2023
A photo of Andrew Masciarelli and his intricately packed suitcase

After several months of waiting, I am set to leave Los Angeles on Sunday to begin my study abroad experience. As I look to the fall with eagerness, anticipation, and excitement for what my study abroad semester in Rome will bring, I am counting down my remaining shifts at work and saying goodbye to dear friends before I embark on an incredible journey. Although I am still several days from my arrival at the Fiumicino airport, my suitcase has been elaborately packed with some outfits I cannot wait to don on the streets of Rome. I still haven’t fully processed that my childhood dreams of going to Italy will be coming true so soon. As someone who didn’t grow up with the opportunity to go on vacations often, the idea of spending roughly 4 months in a new country is truly riveting, and I feel so privileged to be a part of this program. As the clock ticks and the reality of it all becomes ever closer, a tidal wave of emotion has certainly been setting in, and not all of it is easy to grapple with. 

Coordinating my appointment for an Italian Visa and getting all of the necessary paperwork proved to be a challenge, but I have learned that the key is to stay motivated by what the future holds and to remain ahead of deadlines. Moreover, I have learned that one of the best ways to ensure my success is to ask for help. As someone who is stubborn, I grew up believing that the best way to solve my problems was to work through them independently, but as I have taken on these new tasks, I have learned that the resources available to me, including the IES Abroad team, are invaluable and always willing to help with any questions that I have.

Moreover, I often feel anxious about my decisions pertaining to housing and classes. With only one semester abroad, it can feel imperative to make the right decisions. That said, I try to remind myself that regardless of what class I take or where I end up living, I will receive new insight and have the opportunity to explore and adventure however I may choose! Additionally, I do sometimes feel hesitant to move somewhere that I don’t know anyone. That said, I am so excited about the prospect of meeting my classmates and building new relationships that could last a lifetime, and I know that the initial anxiety will be brushed quickly aside when I get to know my peers!

Hardships are bound to appear, but there are infinite reasons to be excited, and I remain confident that my reservations will subside quickly! Whether I am scrolling through TikTok and saving unique restaurants in Rome or doing important research on recent fashion trends in Italy, I am reminded that the number of opportunities on the horizon are boundless. I even decided to buy a travel journal to begin documenting the unforgettable experiences that are about to unfold just so that I can look back on them one day. As I spend my final days in Los Angeles, I find myself ready to get to the airport and begin my journey in this new chapter!


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Andrew Masciarelli

Hey there! My name is Andrew Masciarelli, and I am a rising junior from Occidental College studying economics and politics. Outside of my studies, I love to cook, and I am also spending as much time as I can teaching myself how to play the guitar!

2023 Fall
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