Far From It: Italy


Graphic by Sarai Presman

Graphic by Sarai Presman

Instead of starting classes at RHS in August, at Logan International Airport in Boston boarding a flight to Rome with only a small amount of knowledge of the Italian language. A million questions rushed through my mind.

How long will it take for me to understand the language? Is Italy how I remember it to be? How will I last a whole year without anyone I know? And did I really fit everything I will need for a year into this one suitcase?

My year in Italy will be spent living with a family who will not speak much English and I will be attending a school where classes are taught half in Italian and half in English. I will be living in the medieval walled city of Viterbo, about 50 miles north of Rome. Viterbo has about the same population of Rockville city proper, but takes up about ten times more space.

After going to Italy in third grade, I have always felt a special connection to it. Anybody who knows me will tell you that I have always wanted to travel to Italy since that trip. Hosting an exchange student from Turkey last year showed me the very real possibility of studying abroad and settled many concerns I had about the process.

Now that I finally have the chance to live in Italy for an entire year, I hope it will live up to my expectations. This trip is more than just a standout on my college applications; every time I see a picture of Italy my heart skips a beat.

We live in this huge, remarkable world but all too often our views are limited to our immediate surroundings. I look forward to living in an entirely different culture; from drip-drying my laundry, to having a glass of wine at dinner to enjoying a snack at the central fountain between classes.

I hope to gain a wider perspective of the world and hopefully be able to bring some of it back to America. So on that Friday morning when, I stepped off a plane in Rome and get on a bus to Viterbo, My questions started to have answers.

How long will it take for me to understand the language? Short enough that I will be able to take Medieval and Modern History in Italian second semester. Will Italy be the same as I remember it to be? It will be even better.

How will I last a whole year without anyone I know? Perhaps by joining an impromptu jam session near the fountain. And did I really fit everything into one suitcase? Maybe not, but it is a small price to pay.