Expect the Unexpected

By Cheyenne Fields, Foster Undergraduate who participated in the Accounting Rome Exploration Seminar during Early Fall Start 2017. Cheyenne was a GBC Study Abroad Scholarship recipient. 

Not to sound cliché, but my time in Italy was nothing like what I expected it to be. “Nothing like what I expected” soon became my motto for the entire trip.

This was going to be my third time studying abroad in my life, so I had an idea of what I wanted to do and how my day to day life was going to be. However, I never took the time to factor in the different group of people I was going to be with, already planned program activities, and temperate. But in the end it turned out quite nicely.

One of the most memorable experiences of my time while in Italy was my journey to and time spent in Pompeii, a city just south east of Rome with some of the most incredible ruins I’ve ever seen. However, the journey to see these ruins wasn’t an easy one. Our journey started early Friday afternoon as we took a train down to Naples. All the pictures we had seen of Naples were beautiful, colorful, and breathtaking. But when we arrived it was nothing like what we had expected. The placement of the train station was in a more rundown area of the town and we were all a little apprehensive about venturing too far. So, we took our transfer train to Pompeii and after some terrifying experiences on this train, we ended up getting off at the wrong stop. But we pushed on and eventually found our way to our Airbnb where we were greeted by the most gracious host we had the whole trip. A lovely couple at the Pompeii Suites that went by the name of Alfonoso and Sona. They drove us around the town and give a us a short tour and then dropped us off at the ruins to take a tour for the rest of the day. The ruins were “nothing like what I expected.” They were so beautiful and held so much history even though they were just the leftover structures of an old city and destroyed city. The precious gold and marble had long sense been looted. But most things were preserved in the ashes after Mount Vesuvius had erupted and killed everyone. After taking in all the history we could in we ventured back home.

Once again welcomed by our gracious hosts we were offered a cooking class for dinner. Again, this was “nothing like what we expected.” Alfonoso and Sona taught us how to make three traditional pasta dishes from Italy: carbora, garlic aioli, and a red sauce. From the perfect cook time of the pastas to the spices that needed to be added, they taught us everything. He also took us out to his backyard to show us how locally sourced all his ingredients were. Pompeii Suites offered us some of the best Italian food I had while I was abroad.

We requested a traditional Italian breakfast for our last hours with Alfonoso and Sona in Pompeii and we were not disappointed. We were woken up with homemade cappuccinos, fresh fruit, fresh jam, and fresh croissants. All which were locally sourced again, and better than what we expected.

After breakfast we began our long trek home. Stopping off in Naples again, but venturing into some of the nicer areas. Since Naples is known for having the best pizza in the world, we found a cute little restaurant, and indeed had the best pizza we had all ever eaten. After we all ate our fill we continued our trip home to Rome and then proceeded to get back on the grind of tax accounting.

Everyone has an idea of what they’re going to get out of their time abroad, but most things never pan out exactly as planned. My time in Italy was nothing like what I expected, but I couldn’t have asked for anything else.

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