1 – Sono Tornataaa!

The First Gelato Upon Return

So I’m finally back in Rome, and I’m ecstatic. Not only does it feel like a homecoming, but I’m more confident than I’ve ever been in my conversational Italian abilities. Before I arrived here, I had taken part in a program with VoluntarItaly where I served as an English TA for a summer camp called GREST. There I was working with elementary school kids from 8:00a to 5:00p, so it’s been great to have time to myself these days.

On the first day of class, I had to run to catch the bus. While I was running, all I could think is, “First class back in Rome and I’m already running for transport. Typical.” Once I arrived at ItaliaIdea, I was told to go into classroom 6. Unknowingly, they had placed me in the beginner classroom. I thought to myself, “Okay, I can just stick it out the first week and maybe I’ll learn something new.” We started out by learning how to introduce ourselves, and I knew that if I was going to learn anything in the class, it would probably be at the end of the six weeks. I needed to switch out. Shortly after the mid class break, I asked the teacher to be switched to the proper level. I later found out that the man who had my correct placement had been out sick the day I arrived. I later met my proper classmates, most of which come from the U.S. and one from Barcelona.

Later Monday night, we went to Rec 23, a local bar that hosts a ‘language exchange’ every Monday night. At this exchange, Italians come to the bar to meet foreigners and practice another language that they are studying, whether it be English, Spanish, etc. I had gone before when I was abroad last year, and ended up making friends with some of the students of Universita’ Roma Tre. During the summer, the language exchange moves out by the Tiber River in a sort of festival called TeverEstate. It was nice to go with classmates and see new Italian faces. During the rest of the week, I got to know my classmates better and we all had lunch together in a park near Largo Argentina after my second class. My first in-class exam will be next Tuesday over conjunctions and direct and indirect pronouns. Wish me luck!

Park View from Tuesday’s Lunch

In addition to the SLA, I’ve been working on an application for the Fulbright Fellowship Program. It has been a bit weird doing the application abroad with remote advisor meetings. It feels strange to me that I’m working on this application to go abroad while I am abroad, but I’ve been sure to balance my time so I can work on the application and have meetings but still complete my assignments and engage the city.

Another pleasant highlight of the week was meeting an old friend, Flora, to go out on Friday night. I had met her and three other Italian students at the Rec 23 Language exchange last year. The others were back home in Calabria for the summer, however. We went to a bar called Black Market in Monti, a very chic neighborhood just east of the Colosseum. Tonight (Saturday), I am meeting one of my classmates and his visiting college friend for karaoke!