Most times when I share stories about my time abroad with family and friends, I only share the parts that I enjoyed. While life here in Italy is amazing overall, there are a few things that I’ve had a hard time adjusting to and I wanted to write about them just so future study abroad students or anyone for that matter is more aware and prepared.
Before coming here I had heard many people talk about how unreliable the public transportation system is but for the first couple of weeks that we were here, the trams and buses always arrived on time. However, in the past couple of weeks I have had many problems with the public transportation. I take the bus to school almost every day and on several occasions, the bus just didn’t show up and I would have to wait for the next one. While it only takes about 20-25 minutes to get to school, I leave my apartment an hour before class to make sure that if the bus doesn’t come that I will still make it to school before my class starts.
When we went to the mall on Saturday, we waited 30 minutes for a bus to bring us to the mall. It was supposed to be there 2 minutes after we got to the stop, and the next one was supposed to be there in 18 minutes and they both didn’t show up.
A silver lining is that it has forced me to chill out a little and go with the flow and trust that I will get there when I get there and to not worry about it (except when I’m late to class of course).
Since we got here, our weather apps have not been able to accurately predict the weather. Our weather reports said it was going to rain for weeks but there wasn’t a drop. Last week, my phone said that there was at most a 7% chance of rain for the day but I looked outside and it was pouring rain.
Also, the weather here went from summer temperatures to winter temperatures practically overnight. The resident students at AUR have agreed that there was no “fall weather” this year which is very abnormal. I walked to class in 40 degree weather almost every day last week and it doesn’t look like it’s going to warm up.
Charge for Water
In the US, you are able to walk into most places and ask them to fill up your bottle with water or at least have access to a water fountain. Additionally, if you go into a restaurant and order water with your meal, it is free. In Italy however, you get charged for water and it’s not cheap. Rome has water fountains everywhere around the city which is great but once you sit down at a restaurant, you can’t get any drink with your meal without paying for it. A liter of still water is usually about 2-3 euros and we share it with the table. I typically drink a lot with my meal so I often leave the restaurant feeling somewhat dehydrated because I didn’t want to take too much. It makes sense that they charge for water but it has definitely been something to get used to.
LOTS of Receipts
With every purchase here in Italy, I am given at least one receipt, no matter how small the purchase was and they require that you take it. I actually get two receipts for most of my purchases and I’ve gotten up to 3 receipts in one purchase that all convey basically the same information. While it’s never happened to me personally, you can be stopped on your way out of a store and they’ll ask to see the receipt to verify that you aren’t stealing anything. Some receipts I have enjoyed having because then I can look back on it when I’m back in the US and remember that delicious affogato I got in Genova or my first gelato in Italy but it has become a little annoying when every bag of mine is filled mostly with receipts and having to empty them out.
This post is by no means me complaining about my time abroad. I am incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity and I have already experienced so many once in a lifetime experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.