Ally McElwee: LeadAbroad: GORome Program in Rome, Italy- Summer 2021
My name is Ally McElwee and I had the privilege of studying abroad this past summer in Rome, Italy. As some of you may know, the Euro Cup soccer tournament got postponed to this summer. The games are held all throughout Europe with all of the European soccer teams participating. As I was preparing to leave, I had so many of my friends telling me how well Italy was playing in the first round of games. I started to think about how crazy it would be if Italy won the Cup while I was living in Rome.
Within my first week in Italy, the team had advanced into the quarterfinals game against Belgium. Belgium was ranked higher than Italy, so the city was buzzing with nervousness for the big game that night. All of my friends and I were headed to Florence for the weekend. At dinner before the game started, our waiter gave us face paint with the Italian flag on it. We headed into the center of Florence and watched with so many excited Italians. When Italy won, all of Florence erupted into cheers and loud airhorns. It was our first experience of an Italian win!
The semifinals game was announced, and Italy would be facing Spain. We all went down to the riverbank of the Tiber where there were little restaurants set up serving game time snacks. They had screens set up every few feet, so you would never miss any of the action. Talk about a setting! At final time, the score was tied so that meant the teams would go into penalty kicks. We all linked arms with our Italian friends, praying for a miracle. Our prayers must have worked because Italy beat Spain! Rome immediately burst into an abundance of loud noises and happy cheers. I couldn’t believe I got to see two Italian winning games!
The week leading up to the finals, we all began to look for your classic soccer gear; jerseys, flags, more face paint. We decided to watch the game in the center of the city this time, so that we could be near all of the action. It was announced that Italy would play England- in London. The whole day there was a certain energy in the air. Businesses were closed, most of the main streets closed, and taxi services were closed. This was it! I couldn’t believe that what I had wished to experience was actually happening. England scored immediately and Rome fell silent. In just one minute it felt like all of the country’s hopes and dreams had fallen. But soon Italy bounces back to tie the game up. The team was yet again faced with a penalty shootout. I have never heard a city so silent. I knew how badly wanted this country wanted a win, and I selfishly wanted to experience it. After a few grueling minutes, Italy became the Euro Cup Champions! The entire city went crazy. Cars honking, flares going off, so many fireworks, and so much cheering. I cannot believe I actually got to be a part of this historic moment. We were out on the streets celebrating and dancing for two hours before we decided to call it quits. The city didn’t stop though. Cars were honking until 5:00AM, but could you even be mad? I will never forget this moment and I am eternally grateful. Forza Azurri!