Let’s talk about it. Whether you’re the adventurous ‘Throw-Anything-At-Me’ type or the timid ‘I-Just-Want-To-Make-It-Through-TSA’ type, your first week abroad is going to be many, many things. 

My first day in Rome, though beautiful and exciting, was a hard day. I cried a couple of times once I could sit in my new room. The time change, the new culture, the language barrier… All ingredients to a bitter soup that can leave you feeling overstimulated and exasperated. This is all coming from the girl who got scammed by a taxi driver within her first hour on Rome soil and was placed in the wrong housing for a small amount of tumultuous time. It can be totally freaky! 

Remember: You do not have to go out or make your new best friend on that first day. But, whatever you do… Push through. 

It will feel scary and overwhelming, but you can do this! Seriously, you can!

Each day gets better. Go out, spend some money, and get lost (in the fun way, not the kidnapping, creepy way). The best thing to do is make small goals for each day. My goals on my first full day in Rome was to figure out public transportation and fill up my water bottle using the filtered water spouts that are scattered around the city. 

This was our view form getting lost... In the fun way.
This was our view form getting lost… In the fun way.

And while I still haven’t gotten public transportation down perfectly… At least I can do it!

Another thing that will be extremely life-giving when you are navigating your new life abroad is to assess what kind of food is comforting to eat and seek it out. I expected to be over the moon with Italy’s cuisine: pastas, bread, pizza! All the things my carb-loving Midwestern belly needs.

However… I’ve found that my true passion is for Italian desserts. Gelato, cannoli, chocolate cornetto… Plus, Italians love their Nutella. How could you go wrong? Whenever I come across a cute little bakery or gelateria, I might stop and try some new incredible dessert I’ve never tried. What a delicacy! My current recommendation: Cremilla. Order the tiramisu gelato and a macaron. 

By the end of this first week, I feel ready for classes and the rest of my time here in Italy. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting there. I have new friends, new opportunities, and a whole new world to explore. (Seriously… Going somewhere with completely different architecture and a language barrier feels like an entirely new planet, it’s crazy.) 

Push through, abroad friendo! You can do it!

Published by kathrynsmith

Class of 2023 Communications Major, Writing and Theatre Double Minor IES Rome, Italy

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