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Stories From Abroad: Roma!

Joan Corcoran, ’13, Editor from Abroad

Ciao, Merrimack!  Joan here, with my first international article for the 2012 Beacon.

Before entering college, I knew that one semester I would study abroad. Although I looked into options other than Rome (such as Barcelona, Madrid, and Florence), I always knew deep down I would end up here.

Something about Rome can make you feel like you are amongst greatness.  One minute you are strolling through the streets, admiring the restaurants and little shops, and next you are stumbling upon the Trevi Fountain.

The physical differences between this European city and other American cities, although obvious, are not what shock me the most.  After living here for one week I already have picked up on many differences.  For starters, the Italians are very, very good at preserving energy.  Each household is given a certain amount of power a day, and if they go over that limit, all their power will shut off.  To turn the power back on they have to go through the process of unplugging every appliance in their apartment and restarting the breaker.

Also, Italians don’t buy their groceries in bulk.  They tend to shop at markets or the grocery store every day or so.  And, when they do shop and want a bag, they have to pay for it.  This motivates people not to be wasteful with plastic and paper.

When in Europe, being an American instantly sets you apart.  The locals and other Europeans can tell from a mile away that we’re American regardless of what we’re wearing or what we’re doing.  We are generally louder than the Italians.  Another dead giveaway, or so I’ve been told, is that Americans smile while walking through the streets and Europeans usually do not.

The language barrier has also proven to be less of a problem and more of an exciting challenge then anything else.  After a few nights in Rome I somehow managed to hold a conversation in what little “Italian” I knew (American/Spanish/Italian).  This was my first time actually speaking words other then “Ciao” and “Grazie.” This, to me, was one of my favorite Roman experiences as of yet and reminds me that I really am in a different country, and I am here to learn and experience new things.

What I have taken from this first week in Italy is to always be bold and tackle any obstacles and accept any challenge that will lead you to the best person you can be!  Arrivederci, Merrimack! Good luck with (insert upcoming sporting events/other events here)!

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