Rome: The Final Chapter - Or is it?
Valeria Garnica is the official program blogger for the Rome program in Italy in the Spring 2019. The program has concluded and Valeria wraps up her blog series with reflections on the program overall, what she learned while abroad and learning a new language.
Well, let’s start with this: I stayed. Yes, I stayed. I’m still in Rome and I never want to leave. After three wonderful months with the SBCC Study Abroad program, I stayed and it is the best decision that I have ever made.
Alongside wonderful friendships and insightful teachings, I must admit that for me, the most valuable experience gained from SBCC’s Rome 2019 Study Abroad Program was the “abroad” part. In three short months, I fell deeply in love with Rome. Each and every day that I walked the streets and met new faces, I continued to engage with a new part of myself that I had never seen before. A part that is curious and ambitious, enough to — well, stay.
The “Accent Center” (our SBCC campus in Rome) and its staff have given me a home, and a family. They are my point of contact and my greatest resource. Since my arrival, they have provided myself and our fellow California students with aid, comfort and most importantly, with a safe and rich experience. Even though I am not officially one of their students anymore, they continue to give me all the support in the world, insuring me that I am most definitely not alone.
Now it is summertime and I see Rome with new eyes, and I feel it with new skin. I attend an Italian Language school and live in a new home with new friends. However, I will never forget the experience I had with my American school in this city. I will never forget the ups or the downs and one thing is for sure, I will never be deprived of the educational experience that I was gifted with. Not only personally, but also academically.
I completed my major in Rome due to the transferable and diverse selection of courses available on the program. I also received my acceptances to UCLA and UC Berkeley in Rome, and celebrated such achievements in Rome because Rome allowed me to obtain these achievements, for example by writing about my experience in my application essays. I also learned a whole new language in Rome and even obtained valuable networking opportunities. I am now connected to a wider range of diverse people and have built personal and professional relationships because of this new Italian language that I have adopted. With a new language comes a new world. Rome has not only been in my past, but it will remain in my future — no matter if I physically remain here or not.
I thank the SBCC Study Abroad program for making me a more well-rounded person and student. I look at myself now, in relation to four months ago, and I am a new person. I am competent, I am sure of myself, I am worldly and I am more “me” than ever before.
Right now I sit in Rome, surrounded by the smell of rain. I look up at the rays of sun smoothly shining through the dark green tree leafs in the gardens of Villa Borghese, and I pride myself with my journey. Rome, is the best decision that I have ever made.