I Hate to Say It but… I Should’ve Listened to My Parents


You know when your parents tell you something a thousand times and you say, “Okay, okay” so they can go away? Well, I’m sad to say they have a point. 

These are 4 things I wish I would’ve listened to my parents talk about before coming to Rome: cooking, the heat, hair products, and relaxing your mind.


Cooking shows are my go-to when nothing is on tv or when I want to see someone freeze up from Gordon Ramsay smashing scallops in their face because they are still raw after the fifth time. However, I don’t cook. My parents always tried to get me in the kitchen, but I’ll rather wait for dinner to be ready.  

Don’t get it twisted. I know how to cook the basics: breakfast food. Anything else besides that, I am lost in the sauce. I don’t want to spend all my money going out to eat, so I am teaching myself how to cook meals for the week.  

In addition, some spices you use in your state may not be available in Rome. 


If you think of Rome, you may think of the magnificent Coliseum, gelato*, and pizza. But did you think about the SEPTEMBER HEAT?

July and August are the hottest months in Rome but when I arrived in September, I got smacked by the heat so hard. If I had the chance, I would bring more shorts, dresses, and airy clothing for the first few months. The first few steps out of the door will have you sweating and some shops don’t have a/c. 

*Gelato has become my best friend for when I need to cool down. When you come, you have to go to Gelateria Della Palma – they have 150 flavors.

Chocolate brownie and vanilla with cream.


Going to live in a European country, I knew there wasn’t a chance of finding the same hair products I use at home. Being an African American, my hair texture is thicker, coarser, and needs certain products to keep it moisturized and keep it healthy. 

Even though I bought loads of hair products before I came here, I don’t think it will be enough to hold for a semester. I am praying that when the time comes I can hop on Amazon and buy some hair products here. 


No matter where you are studying, you are in a foreign place where you are trying your best to adapt and learn the culture. It takes time to get to the place where you no longer feel like an outsider. Once you get into a routine, your mind will exhale. 

I deal with anxiety and I think about this a lot. On multiple occasions, I’ve had to calm my mind down in thinking I should already feel comfortable living in Rome. I remind myself that everything takes time and let the events of life go at its own pace. Rushing yourself to feel a type of way can make you not pay close attention to what’s around you.

Relax and enjoy the view.

Sabryn McDonald is a student at North Carolina Central University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in Rome, Italy.

One thought

  1. I Applaud You! Being able to admit “Not listening” is a Great step in the right direction. You are maturing and it shows. I didn’t listen either, but I thought I had a different kind of teacher, not heartfelt. Keep on striving you’ll Get Whatever It Is You’re Searching 4!

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