Thursday, July 18, 2013

L'ultimo Giorno

Today was very bittersweet. The completion of final exams and presentations for a class at the end of the semester usually leave me with a feeling of excitement and relief. Today, however, I do not feel that way. Instead, I lament leaving the country I have come to love and (temporarily at least) call my home.

Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's 2nd largest bank
As I walked home from class today, I considered the surroundings and my time here. I cannot help but look at Italy not as just a home away from home, but also as a classroom. After my policy brief on Italy’s banks, I will never be able to look at a UniCredit on the street or in the news without telling the person next to me that it is Italy’s second largest bank, or any of the other trivial facts I have learned. Furthermore, I am convinced that the various Gelato shops throughout Rome are colluding on their prices. Outside of the classroom, Rome has taught me to take things a little easier and that sometimes it is ok to just see where life takes you.

Rome has this way on creeping up into your heart. When I first came, it was very easy to point out all of the things I disliked: the lack of air conditioning, arguably the worst internet connection known to man, and a dismal public transportation system that seems to arrive at some point between when you get to the bus stop and an hour later. The culture was also foreign, and I still to this day do not know why the man who runs the grocery store across the street shoots me the biggest scowl whenever I walk in. (Ok, maybe that has something to do with paying a grocery bill with coins at one point, but still, money is money.) Regardless, I have only good things to say about my time in Italy, and I can honestly say that even the characteristics I found myself disliking in the first couple of days I now look upon with endearment.
The Global Scholars crew touring Ostia Antica

Whenever SIS has its study abroad fairs, I used to wonder how exactly they managed to get so many students who were willing to take time out of their busy day to talk to other students about their abroad experiences. Now that I have studied abroad myself, I completely understand. The past three weeks have some of the best of my whole life, with some of the best people I have ever known, and I cannot wait to see what Turkey is like.

Professor James Walston, one of our wonderful guest lecturers, prefaced his lecture on Italian politics with a quote from The Leopard, an Italian novel written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: “Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga com'รจ bisogna che tutto cambi” or “We’ve got to change everything for it to stay the same.” After spending the last three weeks changing everything I was used to, I can honestly say that I have to disagree with Professor Walston. I am no longer the same person I was three weeks ago, and I cannot wait to see how Istanbul changes me in the next three weeks. 

No comments:

Post a Comment