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Now that we are abroad…

Burnt rubber and cigarettes. Stepping into Rome, your senses take over and these intense smells are your first impressions. Once you are abroad everything changes including the smells, sights, places, and people. Eleven strangers have come together all with one thing in common: to study in Italy!

In our first hours in Rome we arrived at the Ripa Rome Hotel and grabbed a bite to eat, of course! Pizza was our first Italian meal. None of us understood that asking for one slice meant having a large square of pizza cut out, weighed, heated up, and folded in half. It seems that everything here is small except for the food portions!

Being in the pizza shop was also the first time many of us had dealt in euros, which is an experience to be had. The man who worked behind the counter spoke only Italian, so not only were we dealing with the different currency, but also our first true language barrier in the new country. Although it was awkward at first, we were able to overcome it and eat some delicious pizza!

The next day began our tour of Rome. We started at The Vatican, how magnificent! Larger in size than any of us could have possible imagined, we were immediately impressed. A three-hour tour through a single wing of this historical building showcased so many different kinds of art such as fresco, tapestry, architecture, and maps of Italy. We were all awestruck by the beauty surrounding us.

Almost immediately after we left the Vatican, we began our walking tour of other historical sites. We began at the Colesseum, which is truly larger than life. You could feel the history pouring out of every crevice of this architectural feat. Then we made our way to the Trevvi Fountain and the Pantheon. By the end of it all, we were worn out but ready to continue exploring Italy and had all found a new appreciation for the culture in the historical city of Rome.

The three-hour bus ride to Florence the next day went by quickly seeing as we were all staring out the window at the beautiful Italian countryside and farms. After settling into the hostel, we began exploring our new home for the next few weeks. Historical buildings are everywhere and it simply creates an amazing sense of being thrown back in time.

Now our classes have begun and we are starting to feel like true Florentines! We are all still getting to know the layout, but it is becoming easier and easier to make our way to all of the different landmarks we have learned.

Being abroad can be difficult, but our new friends have made it easy for us to adapt to our new surroundings. We all look forward to learning more in our classes and other tours that we will be having in the upcoming weeks. Arrivederci!

Lea Hawkins, Anne Shrum, Olivia Wigon, Karis Barker LPI Florence 2013

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