When I traveled to Italy to study abroad, my plan was to see as much of Italy as I could before the month was up. I didn’t know any of the people traveling. I only knew my brother and a month before I met one of the girls that would be my roommate, Lauren. I wasn’t thrilled when I heard two more girls would join us. I was a bit annoyed since it was the first time I shared an apartment with other girls. Let’s just say I wasn’t sure what to expect.
My plan was to travel on the weekends with my brother and whoever wanted to tag along. I already spoke Italian so I wasn’t worried about class. My excuse to study abroad was to be able to visit Italy. I had taken Italian classes throughout high school and college so I was thrilled at the chance to communicate with the locals.
On our first day, we attended the Università per Stranieri di Perugia to take an assessment to see our level of understanding in Italian. I scored the highest level from the group. One of my roommates, Ariana, was evaluated with me for the oral portion since she scored as the second highest. Her Italian was good but we had to persuade the instructor to give us the same class schedule.
The rest of the group was divided between two levels so everyone stayed together. It made sense for Ariana and I to have class together; we were already roommates. We became inseparable after that.Even after my brother made new plans with his new roommates, my roommates and I traveled every weekend anywhere in Italy that we wanted to. We didn’t book selected tours we simple walked to the nearest train station and we would buy the ticket to a city we wanted to see and just explore that. We were fearless. I was able to communicate with the locals, which filled me with pride. Ariana and I would be the ones to decide where we would go and then people would tag along.
Even when we were stranded with 16 other people at the top of a mountain trying to reach Florence while everyone complained, we just laughed at the situation we were in. We had a great time exploring on our way to class every morning and on the afternoons after spending the day in the Università.
Every morning she would wake me up to go to class and as I got ready she would make us both some croissant with Nutella for breakfast. I would make some pasta after school unless we stopped for some cheap slices of pizza on the way from class. On one of our weekend trips, we ended up stranded for hours on a train from Verona to Venice until eventually another train managed to help us get back to the next station. The four of us where there clueless as to what would happen and what would be our plan once we arrived to Venice.
My roommates were always down for whatever trip we planned which made the experience in Italy a whole lot better. After the program was up, we said goodbye to Stephanie, Lauren and the rest of the group with a promise that we would see each other again in Miami. Ariana and I stayed in Rome for a few more days exploring around with my brother.
We had the chance to take a train to Naples and we ended up at the Island of Capri. It was a great decision; we had the change to explore the Grotto Azzurro and the little shops around Capri. After that my brother and I left her on the train to go see her family in Calabria. My brother and I went back to Rome for a few more days until it was time to get back home.When we came back to Miami, Ariana and I reconnected again. We took some Italian classes together and we would always attend any Italian cinema that came to town
Now we continue to actively participate in the Italian culture as well as plan travels somewhere else.
It was all of our adventures through Italy that brought us together and our passion for travel that fuels our friendship. She had family in different cities so we had the chance to go and visit them all. By the end of our program we were already planning our next trip.
Travel as much as you can, you never know the people you may meet or the adventures you might have.
All images © 2000-2016 Antonella Nakfour.