It is quite hard to believe that my time in Rome has already come to an end. These four months passed very quickly, something I believe had much to do with the fact that I was so engrossed with my internship and the development of Italian politics during this period. While a semester is hardly enough to understand why Italy is in its current state, I undoubtedly have a better understanding of how the country presently functions and what obstacles it will need to overcome in order to return to being influential on the international stage. Surely the change will have to come from within, as politicians in the newly installed government need to put aside their personal interests in favor of a more cohesive approach to not only stabilize but direct the country towards a more functioning future.
I was able to arrive at this realization thanks to my former boss coming through with an opportunity to finish out my internship in another deputy’s office. This particular representative from Sicily was more influential in the country’s domestic issues and had a leading role in the Chamber of Deputies’ finance commission. I worked under his press secretary, which afforded me the chance to learn how to follow daily events affecting the government. To my enjoyment, we focused specifically on declarations made by party members and the subsequent consequences they carried. What I didn’t realize was just how serious the repercussions could be because of what someone said. I recall one day at work when we followed a certain member of a leading party to see if he would make a statement regarding a rally that had occurred the past weekend. He remained silent the whole day only to attack a leading opposition member for her failure to suppress supporters of her party for disrupting his party’s rally. My boss’ heart sank as we watched the news unfold before our eyes, not because she was politically biased to either politician, but because she would now have to stay at work until midnight covering the story on all the news outlets. Just one example of the many things I learned following politics from the media’s perspective.
On a different note, I was very happy to get to meet this second representative for whom I had worked at the end of my internship period. He was not only interesting from a charismatic point of view, but also managed to captivate me with both his knowledge and shrewdness. We talked for about half an hour in the famous Transatlantico lounge about several different topics related to my internship and the history of the nation’s government and politics. What I took away from our meeting was that this man knew a great deal about Italy, how it got to this critical point in its history, and what it needed to do to save itself from further peril. As did most people I met this semester, he praised the American system of government, commenting on how well it functioned and citing as a key example the sense of patriotism not only strong back home but lacking here in Italy. Indeed I left our meeting with a great impression of this man, hoping that there were more like him who could help improve Italy’s well-being.
I wish my time here wasn’t over and that I had more time to see how things pan out in Rome. Now that there is actually a government in power, it has been fun following the progress it has made, especially considering that for two months the country was stalled by lack of political majority. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I sacrificed the normal internship experience to live history. I adapted to various changes that were simply beyond my control in order to understand how badly change is needed here in Italy. Most importantly, I got to meet great people along the way, not just because we got along but because they are working towards improving the quality of life. I am thrilled to have had this opportunity to work in Italian Parliament and it will continue to be of great interest to me as I return to the States to complete my undergraduate studies.