Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad Fall 2012

Lebanon Valley College

Home Stateside Once Again!

First of all, I would like to appologize for taking to long after the end of the semester to post my last blog that I had promised.  My only intent was to see the effects of the culture shock when returning to the United States.  Everything that I have experience has been so different.

So in case you don’t remember, I had said in my last blog that I was traveling to Rome my last weekend to see a Roma vs. Fiorintino football match (soccer game).  I ended up going with one of my roommates and a friend of his that finished her semester early (she was studying in Southern Africa).  So the three of us ventured off to Rome for our last weekend in Europe.  The whole weekend was emotional to say the least.  Two other friends came with us, to make five total, however, they just came for the sights of Rome.  The soccer game….oh my the soccer game…I have never seen such an event in my life.  The game was easily the COOLEST event I participated in while abroad!  Simply the atmostphere of the stadium just electrifies you, and you feel part of the team, part of the home crowd, part of ROMA!!!  Since soccer is so popular in Europe it is understandable why people get so worked up over what seems like a simple goal.  However, during each Roma goal, every single person in the stadium, minus the Fiorintino fans, would leap out of their seats and erupt in applause.  Please believe me when I say that you have never felt more alive than when you are surrounded by Italians cheering for their favorite “calcio” team.  Anyway, that was such an experience that I seriously have trouble typing exactly how I felt about it.

Rome was a very nice city.  It is simply a tourist city, obviously.  I really did enjoy the sights, however I did not enjoy the vast numbers of people.  The sights in Rome are rather trademark of Italy as well as rather self explanitory.  Therefore, I won’t waste time telling you about sights that have been talked about thousands of times.

I will simply move on to my last section of the semester, how I felt about my entire experience while abroad.  Studying abroad was simply the most terrifying, exciting, life-changing, eye-opening, wonderful experience of my life.  I understand that others before me have said the exact same thing, but I now understand why, because it is true!!!  I was scared because when first arriving, I knew very little Italian and hearing others speak it around me made me feel very uncomfortable, but excited to learn it as fast as I could.  The whole idea of being in another culture took a while to sink in with me.  After about three weeks of living in Italy, I was able to understand the daily routine that most Italians practiced.  My Italian became better and I was able to interact with other Italians on a daily basis.  My classes, especially Italian, really helped me with the Italian culture and what to expect of things and what not to expect.  Being involved with such a small school like Umbra Institute allowed me to make so many new friends, rather than just fit into a mold of many students.  My class only had around 80 students and I know that I became good friends with at least 50 of them.  Having new friends helped my experience because they were able to help me through the rough times and they made the good times even better.  I know that I will have some friends that I will keep for life, especially some of my roommates.  I am so pleased with everything that I learned while studying in Italy.  I know this is a huge commitment and everything seems so far out of reach.  I say that if you are on the fence about studying abroad, wherever you choose, you should!  I guarentee that you will not find another experience elsewhere, like the one you will have while abroad!  I have made some life-long friends, learned some valuable information about other cultures, and learned even more about myself.  Don’t waste time thinking about studying abroad, JUST DO IT!

Thanks again,

Alexander Garlick

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