What Surprised Me Most When I Landed in Rome…

Katherine Woodward is a student at Rollins College and an ISA Featured Blogger.  She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Rome, Italy.

After a three-hour delay and extreme jet lag, I was beyond relieved to step off my plane in sunny Rome. The historic city is magical and I feel that I am discovering a little more of its beauty everyday. After surviving my first week in exciting Rome, I must share several revelations.

  • Rome’s transportation system is both confusing and convenient. Despite endless stops and intersecting lines, it is a crucial to learn how to navigate the bus and the tram. They are able to transport me daily from my neighborhood to the heart of Rome.
  • At some point during my first hectic day, I realized that it is not such a bad thing to get lost in Rome. Back in the states my phone with its maps was readily available in a pinch. However with limited Wi-Fi use, I have to rely on my wits to traverse the city. Some “wrong” turns introduced charming piazzas and an array of wonderful cafes.

    Roman Street, Rome, Italy- Woodward- photo 1
    A new discovery around every corner!
  • Time truly does slow down in Rome. Stores close down for a midday break. Café patrons linger at their tables without any sense of haste. This atmosphere has its benefits. Now I take a moment to drink in the beauty of my surroundings without even a glance at my watch.
  • Hailing from Chicago, I am accustomed to busy city streets. However, tight alleys, quick scooters, and never ending crowds pose a challenge for the driver and the pedestrian. It is imperative to double check before stepping off the curb as daring Roman drivers do not necessarily yield to pedestrians. Stay alert!

New apartment, roommates, transportation, language, and classes certainly have presented me with some challenges this week. However, I embrace the cultural differences and I am falling in love with my new home!