Being the art history fanatic that I am (I speak the truth), Italy was at the top of my list of places to visit. While Florence was the city I wished to explore the most because of my background in Italian Renaissance art (most everything I learned in an entire semester is located in the Uffizi Gallery), I made a huge discovery while in Rome. After visiting certain museums that required one to book in advance, such as the Borghese Gallery (…yes I pre-booked museum tickets. And yes…I was called a “grandma” by one of my friends after I admitted to this. And to add a third yes…I was about thirty minutes early to each of these “appointments”). I am not ashamed.
Anyways…I remember seeing people emerging down a hill of steps and wondering what was at the top. Naturally, I walked up in the pouring rain (unfortunately it rained the entire time I was in Rome, and if someone ever asks me to buy an umbrella from them again, I’m not quite sure what I will do. You know what I’m talking about if you have been in Rome in the rain…). Once I reached the top, I realized exactly where I was. I was on Capitoline Hill, a place I had planned to visit but had placed at the bottom of my list due to all of the places I wished to see more.
Grateful for the discovery and a chance to avoid the awful rain, I bought my ticket (which was very cheap, may I add) and entered the facility. After seeing famous sculptures I had learned about, such as the statue of Marcus Aurelius and the Capitoline Wolf (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, no worries; I am randomly a huge art history nerd), my attention was caught by a set of stairs that no one was going up and the sound of rain in the distance.
(Capitoline Wolf…with Romulus and Remus).
I walked into a new part of the museum, where I was the only visitor, and followed the noise of the rain, wondering how I could hear it so clearly while indoors. Well, I realized how when I walked onto a balcony which brought me to one of the most jaw-dropping sights of Italy, in my opinion. As I looked off the edge and listened to the sound of the pouring rain, I overlooked the Roman Forum with the Colosseum in the distance.
Nothing had ever been so overwhelming to me…since seeing Big Ben of course, due to my obsession with London. Maybe it was the fact that I was alone in that wing of the museum, or possibly it was the lights illuminating the Roman ruins at just the perfect angle at night. Or…perhaps, it was due to the immense amounts of gelato I had recently consumed…but I remember being absolutely amazed by what stood in front of me and feeling so special that I was able to not only experience it, but to also feel so much because of it. It is a moment like this that will make you appreciate the little things and to allow you to realize exactly how lucky you are to be studying abroad.
While others are doing homework or attending the same events as they always do, you are exploring something so amazing which changes your outlook on the world. I cannot stress how much studying abroad has changed the way I view places and opportunities. The fact that one can travel to so many places in only a few months while others have done nothing out of the ordinary still fascinates me, as well as inspires me to make the most of my time. I had the most amazing studying abroad experience because of SAI, and yet, I still envy those who are about to start their own journeys.