Ciao from Roma! I cannot believe that I have been in this incredible city for almost two weeks. Each day brings a new adventure—new areas to explore and new cites to investigate. The endless possibilities and activities are overwhelming at first. Traffic flows continuously, and people constantly stroll along the sidewalks. The size of Rome was a bit of an adjustment, for I have never lived in a city of this enormity for any extended period of time. However, that adjustment had to be made quickly so that I would not lose a minute of my precious time enjoying Rome!
After orientation, I decided to switch from the Internship program to the Language and Culture program. Though the internship would have been an incredible opportunity, I felt I would benefit more from taking classes and learning about the city I was living in. Instead of interning, I am now taking a class entitled “Rome as a Living Museum.” Our class learns about historic Roman architecture and art. We take weekly field trips to the areas that we study in class. This past week, our class ventured to the Roman Forum, where we observed the ruins that we saw on the slideshow in class the previous day. Experiencing these structures in real life is incredible. Each building was meticulously planned and created for a specific purpose and with a specific meaning. I find myself imagining the original days of the Roman Forum, heavily populated and bustling with activity.
As anticipated, the language barrier plays a major role in my attempts at communication with the Romans. Many speak English, but many do not. My beginner Italian class teaches the basics of the language—how to order in a coffee shop or how to pronounce the alphabet. It seems so simple in class, but the challenge emerges when I am in the grocery store line, for example, and cannot understand the attendant who tells me my total. I am have been lucky to encounter English speakers that aid my failed attempts at Italian communication. Hopefully my skills will continue to improve as I get further involved in my Italian class.
My favorite cite so far has been Villa Borghese. It is home to galleries and to manors, which lie within the abundant, lush gardens. Various fountains lie under the tall trees of the different gardens. One section holds an overlook of the entire city. The view is breathtaking. As I ran through the gardens yesterday, I encountered other runners, bicyclers, and observers who, too, stopped in their tracks to gaze out over Rome’s beautiful horizon.
My first two weeks in Rome have been amazing, and I cannot wait for what the rest of the trip has in store!
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<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Grace Haynes is a student at Washington and Lee University, where she studies English and Creative Writing. In her free time, Grace enjoys running, writing, reading, and spending time with friends. She is from Montgomery, Alabama and is excited to venture to Rome for the summer. Join her on her summer adventures!</span></div>