The Little Things

People view studying abroad in many different ways. I like to look at it as a trip full of tiny details and events that all come together to create one incredible experience. Here is one perspective of a study abroad experience in the making.

In Week One, studying abroad is getting locked in the airport bathroom minutes after arriving in Rome due to the fact that the knobs and locks are completely different in Italy. It is ordering a latte just to receive a glass of steamed milk, no coffee, and a few laughs. It’s riding a bull to Cotton Eyed Joe at Ariccia’s annual Porchetta Festival. It is being taught line dances from older Italian couples outside on a patio. It is sipping a cappuccino at a table with two locals bonding and laughing regardless of the language barrier. It is meeting my best friends and the sweetest staff that will be my home away from home for the next twelve weeks. It is the jet lag that has never been worse, but struggling through it together. And it is watching the fireworks explode over the city below on the last night of my very first week here.

In Week Two, studying abroad is crying in a lunch spot in Ariccia because I accidentally ordered pasta that I can’t eat because I am gluten intolerant. It is having a sweet, sweet family sitting behind us at lunch translating to the waiter what happened, paying our bill, and showering us with love. It is 22,000 steps taken a day while touring multiple sites. It is running into the same family who helped us at lunch again in a small town in Castel Gandolfo. It is my friend ordering egg creme gelato thinking it would taste like egg nog … It didn’t. It is sitting in lectures taught by amazing lecturers who are so passionate about us learning. It is traveling to Rome on the weekend with 3 of my best friends learning how to navigate and survive all by ourselves. It is treating a waiter kindly and getting pampered with free espresso, gelato, and discounts in return. It is the train back to Ariccia being delayed for four hours and sitting in the station tired and hungry but bonding and laughing nonetheless. It is the feeling I get when I realize that this is my reality.

It’s the little things.

Exploring in Rome

Rileigh Eaton