La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita
  • Joe Ae(Judy) Bae
  • 승인 2013.04.05 16:50
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Getting the perfect scoop of San Crispino Gelato, just like in Eat Pray Love, falling in love and roaming around Rome on a Vespa during a Roman Holiday, or going for a little dip in the Trevi Fountain and having La Dolce Vita.  All of these picturesque idealizations of Rome have kept me up for days before leaving for John Cabot University.  The 40-year-old American University set in the heart of Rome, embraced by its cultural and historical richness, would soon be a new chapter in my book.  Preparing to leave for Rome, Italy was indeed an excitement, but at the same time, also a source of fear-fear of new, fear of loss, fear for change.  To be truthful, I could not believe nor digest the fact that I would not only be going to Europe, but be living in Rome.  In life, many people will get the chance to visit Rome, but how many get the chance to live in the once grand Roman Empire?  I have been living abroad for more than 10 years, but I have usually been situated on the Asian part of the continent, so this opportunity was a big step for me.  Once I arrived in Rome, Fiumicino Airport, I grabbed a cab, paid more than I was supposed to (if like me, you are forced to pay more than 45 Euros, which is the set cost from Fiumicino to Rome, get a receipt, alert officials, and get a refund), and arrived in Trastevere, where my apartment was located.  As soon as I went in, I was more than pleased with the apartment; modern and all white.   With my 4 roommates, we all went out that night on all of our first days in Rome, with our downstairs neighbors.  Seeing the extravagant night view of St.Peter’s Basilica, the luminous Castel Sant’Angelo, and the vibrant open market by the Tiber River; I knew I was off to a great start.  I took diverse classes such as: Political Theory, Photography, Italian, and Rome Modern City, which is a class taken outdoors right in front of the monuments.  Looking back, I realize that my classes helped me be more active while living abroad.  Rome Modern City took me many places that were not introduced in traveling books, Italian class helped me speak basic Italian with the locals, and Photography class forced me to go out, take pictures and complete my project.  Before leaving Korea, I promised myself to keep busy learning and experiencing.  My plan was to travel around Italy for the first and last month and around Europe during the mid-semester.  And I did just that.  Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Venice, Milan, Florence and many more; Italy was a true enchantment for me.  Like a child in Disneyland, I was always so happy and ready to go out.  After classes, I would walk around the neighborhood or go on short trips.  My apartment was located in a golden spot, with the Vatican City just 5 minutes away, and the Colosseum 10.  I was also blessed to be staying in the country of exquisite cuisine.  My roommates and I indulged ourselves with midnight gelatos, pizzas, pastas, pastries, and coffee.  Always full with food and experience, the past 4 months were some of the happiest moments of my life.  For anyone who is planning to go abroad to study for what may be a semester or two, I would like to tell them to be active.  I have seen many who simply stay in bed, eat, and then go to class.  Break out of your comfort zone and your mundane routine.  Familiarize yourself with the locals and enjoy your stay.   Studying and having fun simultaneously is definitely achievable.  Different environments can be hard to take in, but this is a type of “good” change: change that develops you and expands your life.
The 4 months exploring Europe, making new friends, eating new food, going new places, and letting whatever comes my way happen, has truly been a delight.  Time did not pass me by in Rome.  It simply piled on to create a better me.

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