“Benvenuto!” was the first thing our tour director said to us when we arrived in Rome, Italy. Our group of 52 was eager and anxious to leave the airport and explore the new foreign country. As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we already saw major differences that we weren’t accustomed to in the US. All the cars were the same in size, small. The structure and architecture of the buildings were very different from those in America. The gas stations and stoplights were much simpler looking than in the US. All these differences overwhelmed us and we couldn’t wait to see what else Italy had in store for us.
I was born in the US and have lived here my whole life. I never traveled outside of the United States so this trip was a big deal to me. The only things to do in Germantown, Maryland which consisted of, going to the movies or staying home, Italy was a completely different experience. As I walked through Rome, I noticed that people hung out more in the outdoors than in the indoors. Back home my friends would rarely stay outside because we found no entertainment in that. Already I started to see how the two cultures contrasted. This impacted me greatly because it had me thinking about appreciating the simple things in life like staying outside with a group of friends without technology influencing you. I wondered why these kids could have an amusing time without having to be indoors. I realized that the people found enjoyment in being with the company of one another and that was all they needed to have a good time.
During most of the trip we walked everywhere. This tired everyone out because we weren’t used to walking so much in one day. In America, we are used to taking our car everywhere even if our destination is five minutes away. However, Italians are used to walking everywhere which is probably the reason why I did not witness anyone overweight. Another reason for this was because of the different type of diet Italians had which mostly consisted of pasta and a lot of olive oil. The different eating habits made me speculate in how our country would benefit if we changed the way we consumed our food. However, almost every Italian I saw smoked which probably weighed out the different health problems for both countries.
The remainder of the trip we visited the Vatican, Florence, and Venice. What blew me away most from all these places was the fine art. Renaissance paintings, sculptures, and buildings surrounded us everywhere we went. I knew how I lucky I was to see these things in person than having to just read about them or see a picture in a book. Italy was so rich in art and I felt like I was learning so much more in a week then I would in school for a whole year. The experience I had in Italy impacted my whole perspective on life. When I came back home, I found more appreciation in the simple things in life such as taking a walk or spending quality time with my family. I knew that there was so much more of the world that I needed to experience and could learn from. I also learned that I should not base my outlook on life on just the modest things that occur in Germantown, Maryland. Italy helped me be a more open-minded person, and let me see things in a way that I usually did not see them before.
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