Guest Post By: Supply Chain and Operations Management Junior Jenna Brewington. She is a Foster Undergraduate who participated in the Foster Rome Program during Summer Quarter 2018.
Love was constantly present in my study abroad experience to Rome. I have wanted to visit Italy ever since I did a country report on it in 2nd grade and, even though I was young at the time, I’ve had a passion for Italy ever since. I can’t be more grateful to have this little obsession that led me to the Foster Rome Program and the opportunity to travel. It was something I didn’t think I’d be able to do for a long time, yet before I knew it I was on the plane to Italy.
What I didn’t realize going into the program was that I would get much more out of it than just seeing things that I had dreamed about for so long. I was getting the opportunity to immerse myself in another culture, to be independent, to step out of my comfort zone, and make friendships and memories that have changed my life. Without them I wouldn’t have known that the bridge across Lungotevere was better known as “Sun Bridge” because on our walk to class it’s where we’re directly exposed to the sun and the reason we arrive to class covered in sweat. Or I wouldn’t have experienced the Tuscan countryside in the most awe-inspiring way: on the back of a scooter through the hills across Chianti wine country as the sun set. Or shared laughter and honest conversation over homecooked delicious stir-fry (a change from all the pizza we normally had at lunch). Or visiting with our amazing program director on a roof-top terrace at sunset discussing different merits of studying abroad and how to genuinely appreciate and immerse into new cultures, especially Italian.
One of my favorite parts of the experience was the walking. It was more than walking, it was seeing new parts of the city, sometimes getting lost (because not using GPS added to the fun) and appreciating the little moments of life within Rome. One time, after a group visit to the Galleria Borghese, my friend and I walked home in order to have time to explore the gardens and surrounding area. We ended up walking through an old entrance of the city, then as we entered the shopping street we immediately ran into the most amazing street performers – a trio of brothers playing strings – and next thing we knew we ran into our friends! As we stepped out of a gelateria (a necessary stop) on our way back to the apartments it immediately started pouring rain! Instead of doing what literally every other person around us did, which was take cover in local shops and wait out the intense but short-lived Roman rain, our group continued on in excitement. We practically were singing and dancing in the middle of Piazza Novana; it was a moment I’ll never forget. It didn’t matter that we stood out, we were overcome with giddiness and love for each other and the beautiful city we were now living in.
Love is a big word. It takes a lot for me to say it, but without question the Foster Rome Program brought so much love into my life. From unforgettable memories, breathtaking sights, stimulating conversations, taking risks, and fulfilling a dream of my 2nd grade self. I can say it without question, “love you, Roma”.