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“Five minutes until landing,” the pilot said. I couldn’t believe it. I’m in Italy! Nothing says bring in the new year better than traveling to another country. After a semester filled with papers and exams, I needed a change. I walked off the plane with a huge smile on my face. I made the decision to study abroad during the spring semester of my junior year. I told myself that senior year would be different. I found a summer job, and spent the summer working to fund my study abroad trip. Fall semester was spent preparing for my trip in January. I had so much to do. But, after the long, intense preparation, it was all worth it!

 

Sitting in baggage claim, I accessed my situation. It took me about 20 minutes to clear immigration, which was surprising. But, I had been waiting for my luggage over 40 minutes. On the verge of tears, I sat alone until an airport employee approached me. “Are you still waiting for your luggage?” he asked in broken English. I cleared my throat before I replied, “Yes.” He directed me towards Customer Service, and I waited another 15 minutes before he told me where my luggage was. It hadn’t arrived with me, and it wouldn’t be arriving until 5pm. It was 11:40 am. I didn’t want to wait that long so I decided to go to the hotel.

 

The hardest part about navigating through an Italian airport is having to decipher the signs to figure out if you are heading in the right direction. I must have asked Siri several times what certain words meant in English. I was out of my element! But, it was liberating. I didn’t know how much some years of Spanish could have helped me understand Italian a little better. After I found the bus station, I bought my ticket and got on the bus. Only an hour away from my destination.

 

During the bus ride, I took it all in. Italy is a beautiful country. Rome is an even better sight! It’s a great mixture between the historical aspect and modern aspect of the city. It reminded a little of NYC, my home! Getting off the bus and walking to the hotel allowed me to familiarize myself with my surroundings. The most beautiful part of Rome is its diversity. I appreciated the city a little more because of it. I did some reflecting on my walk to the hotel. My first impression of Italy wasn’t all that great. I lost my luggage and I didn’t know anything about the culture or language. I was alone. But, I didn’t let that stop me. Finally, after making it to the hotel, I checked in and went to my hotel room. It was a long day and I needed a rest.

 

Although I missed most my trip, I did get to walk around the city and explore for a bit before heading to Florence. I saw the Pantheon, taking a tour of a place that served an important role in the Roman Empire. Also, the Colosseum was just a few minutes away from my hotel. I enjoyed my time in Rome. But, most importantly, I enjoyed the historical beauty of the place, the history has lived on for centuries. I guess that’s why it’s called the Eternal City!

Kayla Jasmin

Editor-in-Chic at Kay Travels The World
UDEL Alum, Brooklyn native, Adventurer, and Learner. Those are some of the words I would use to describe myself. When it comes to travel, I am a novice. But, I know this for certain: I LOVE Travel! My first experience with travel started the summer after my ninth grade year, and I haven’t looked back since. There is always a story behind each place I visit. I love the journey; its about traveling to new places and seeing new things. And, for me, that means engaging with the local communities in the country or destination. After a study abroad trip to Italy, I realized how much travel means to me. I encountered obstacles that put travel into perspective for me. Its not all glits and glam; sometimes, its up to YOU to make the most out of your experience and learn from it.So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Written by 

UDEL Alum, Brooklyn native, Adventurer, and Learner. Those are some of the words I would use to describe myself. When it comes to travel, I am a novice. But, I know this for certain: I LOVE Travel! My first experience with travel started the summer after my ninth grade year, and I haven’t looked back since. There is always a story behind each place I visit. I love the journey; its about traveling to new places and seeing new things. And, for me, that means engaging with the local communities in the country or destination. After a study abroad trip to Italy, I realized how much travel means to me. I encountered obstacles that put travel into perspective for me. Its not all glits and glam; sometimes, its up to YOU to make the most out of your experience and learn from it. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Rome is one of the most historically rich places I have ever visited in all my years of travel. I’m glad you got to see at least some of it!

    • Same here, Stacie! I loved Rome, and I could’ve explore it a little more! But, there is always next time! 🙂

  • Marysa

    I have never been to Rome, or Europe for that matter. Looks like a great trip! I would love to go someday with my family. I love how much history there is in the city.

    • It’s a great trip! And, Rome is a city that everyone can enjoy! Bucket list worthy for sure!

  • That is a super rough start. Glad you were able to regroup and enjoy Rome. Hopefully you get back to do it again, minus the missing luggage 🙂

    • Thank you! I hope I get back to Italy soon too! There is still more places to explore! And yes, minus the missing luggage!

  • I was in Rome last October. And now I am sad because that trip (coupled with Greece) was one of my favorite trips on the face of the planet. It was amazing – and sooooooooooo educational and um, DELICIOUS too! Wahhh! I want to go back!

    • Italy was one of the MOST rewarding trips I’ve taken so far! I learned a lot from Rome, and the food was a plus too :)! I want to go back to Italy soon!

  • Michelle Bentz

    My husband and I traveled to Italy a few years ago. It’s such a beautiful country! You are so brave traveling alone – I must admit even with my husband by my side it was a nerve-racking experience until we reached our destination and tour group.

    • I was definitely scared! It was my first time traveling alone, and I couldn’t begin to describe the fear I felt! But, I forgot all about that when I made it to the hotel, and started exploring the city! I want to go back to Italy soon!

  • Roger Willis

    Back in the mid-90’s, a couple of friends and I went to Italy. We were stationed in Germany with the Army. Unfortunately, we did not go to Rome, which I really wanted to see. My daughter-in-law and her dad went back in May and she loved it! I would love to see all the sites, like the Coliseum. Glad you had a fun trip! Commenting for Ladonna Dennis Maxwell @momblogsociety.com

    • Thank you, Roger! Rome was really amazing! My hotel was literally minutes away from the Colosseum! I loved every minute of my trip, and I can’t wait to go back!

  • It feels great when you can be stress-free after exams and hard work has paid off. Coming from a French background, Italian (and Spanish) is a little easier to piece together some words since they stem from Latin language. Sorry to hear you had to go through that process about retrieving you lost luggage.

    • Thank you, Nadalie! Before I left for Italy actully, my French professor told me that I would be able to understand the langauge a little because I had taken three years of French; so, learning French did help me get by in Italy! It was great to take a “break” from school. I’m glad I went to Italy!

  • I did my study abroad in rome. Its a truly magical city. The history cant be beat. Every street is beautiful. I hope you got your luggage eventurally! Italians are not the most punctual!

    • I loved every minute of it! I did get my luggage back, thankfully! The history and culture is second to none honestly!

  • Tara Mitchell

    Lost luggage would SUCK, but I’m glad you got out and explored anyway! Who needs fresh clothes when you have Italy! 🇮🇹

    • Thank you, Tara! I am with you on that one! Italy was great. I can’t wait to go back!

  • kellee

    Rome looks amazing and the history is incredible. I haven’t been to Italy but it’s on the short bucket list.

    • Italy, and Rome, is definitely bucket list worthy! It is an incredible place to visit!

  • Gisele Gamble

    So sorry your luggage was late! That had to be horrible! Italy is such a beautiful country and it is rich in history. I’ve studied about the architecture and it is amazing!

    • Thank you, Gisele! Late luggage isn’t always the best but I didn’t let that set the tone for the rest of my trip! Italy is a beautiful country! While I was there, I studied about rhetoric in ancient Rome and Florence and it was interesting for me! I did notice the architecture, and I was immediately captivated by it, especially St. Peter’s Basilica!

  • Luke and Meagan, Two Restless

    I’m sorry your trip started out so poorly – we’ve certainly had our fair share of missteps in traveling, but they always end up for the best. And, if nothing else, are great learning experiences!

    • Thank you, Luke and Meagan! I definitely learned a great deal from this experience! Now when I travel, I always keep this experience in the back of my mind so that I remain aware but have fun at the same time!

  • Exploring Curiously

    This reminds me of my my study abroad program. It is so exciting and confusing at the same time. I visited 10 countries as part of my program, so I was always in unfamiliar territory with a new currency. You were fortunate to have had Siri to help you!

    • Thank you! I spent some time in Rome and Florence for my study abroad trip, and I completely agree that it’s an exciting and confusing experience! Siri was a lifesaver; I don’t know what I would’ve done without her!

  • I can imagine how scared you were at one point. So nice that someone helped you out. It helps to have a friendly face in the chaos! So glad you had this experience I am sure it has made you a stronger person!

    • Thank you, Joely! I was so scared I wanted to call my mom, but time difference! Besides my mom didn’t rise no quitter! The experience has made me more conscious of the decisions I make when I travel! Next time I travel, hopefully, I won’t experience this again!

  • My favorite part of travel touring the beautiful and historical buildings of the city I’m arriving in. I hate that you missed most of your trip. Your attitude is right on, though!

    • Thank you, Tami! I missed some of the places I really wanted to visit, like the historic Jewish Quarter! But, I made up for it by taking the time to explore the city on my own, and I loved every minute of it!

  • I’m sorry you lost your luggage! That must have been terrible. I’ve never been to Italy but I’ve always wanted to see the Pantheon. I learned about it in Art History and it seems like it would be a beautiful place to visit!

    • It was absolutely terrible losing my luggage, but everything is a learning experience! Art History and History played a huge role in why I chose Italy for study abroad so seeing Rome, especially the Pantheon, in person was electrifying! It is a wonderful place to visit!

  • Censie ‘Mumby’ Sawyer

    Wow. That was so scary. I am sure you learned so much from this experience and I am glad that you got some help. I have always wanted to try to Rome, I hope to one day!! Bucket list for sure!!

    • Thank you, Censie! It was scary but I overcame that obstacle for sure! Rome is defintiely bucket list worthy!

  • Stacey Billingsley

    I would hate to lose my luggage. I’d love to visit Italy, though! Maybe someday I will get to go!

    • Thank you, Stacey! Visiting Italy was one of my favorite parts about starting off the year! Add Italy to your bucket list!

  • I would LOVE to visit Italy one day!! I hate that you lost your luggage in a foreign country, that sounds like something that would happen to me! HA!

    • Definitely visit Italy, Ricci! Losing my luggage made for a funny story when I got home actually! I did cry alittle but I got over it when I got it back the next day!

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama’s Place

    It’s a beautiful place and I’m sorry you had to experience that crazy mess in the airport! It’s one of the worst things that could happen when you travel. I’m glad you still got to explore and see the sights though.

    • Thank you, Jocelyn! Italy is a beautiful place, and I’m glad I got to explore Rome! Travel isn’t without its faults, and I definitely learned that!

  • Glimpses of The World

    Sounds so nice. It seems that you’ve been all prepared with that summer job and all. So glad that you did it, you got to Italy! 🙂 It shows how one can accomplish things he desires, if he puts some work into it.

    • Thank you! I knew what I wanted, and I went for it! My mother has always taught me about the importance of independence, and working towards my trip to Italy was very rewarding for me! You have to put the work in to see the results, and I’m glad I did! 🙂

  • chubskulit

    I am jealous, I haven’t to Italy and it is one of my dream destination someday. I am excited to see and read the rest of your trip there.

    • Thank you, I have many stories! Italy was always a dream for me too! I loved every minute of this trip, and I wanted to share it with the world!

  • I have never been to Rome before, but it looks like a lovely place to visit. Maybe someday! – HilLesha

    • Definitely a place to visit someday!

  • I dream of Italy! Oh, the food! <3

    • Italy is truly a captivating city! I remember learning about the Romans in history courses throughout high school and college so the trip was eye-opening. I loved every minute of it! In that instance the world became my classroom. The food…words can not describe! I LOVE the food, and it’s another valid reason to visit the city!

  • Gingermommy

    Italy would be a beautiful vacation to take and all the food! oh man!

    • The food is amazing! One of my favorite parts about the trip honestly! Italy is beautiful, and I would highly recommend Italy to anyone wanting to go to Europe!

  • Shelley King

    How courageous of you to take this trip alone? When I go places I love to take buses and such. It is amazing the amount of the world you can take in. How exciting to visit Rome! I can’t even imagine the history and beauty. Sorry about the luggage loss but it didn’t seem to slow you down that much. #girlsrock

    • Thank you, Shelley! I was so afraid because this was the first time I had traveled alone. My first trip to Europe was in the 9th grade so I traveled with a group of people. I loved Rome! Words can’t describe how much I enjoyed this experience! My luggage getting lost was just a minor bump in the road but I recovered from it!

  • Oh my, hope I can visit Rome too, soon! Love this place , very historic!

    • That’s acutally one of the reasons I decided to study abroad in Rome! I love history, and Rome is full of history! Thinking about it now, no wonder Rome’s nickname is the Eternal City!

  • Kelly Reci

    That looks like a great place to visit. I will definitely put this on my book mark as my future references in my next ravel visit.

  • cewtypye

    I would love to explore Rome some more. We are planning a overseas trip very soon!

    • Rome is definitely a place to see again! When you head overseas, make sure to check it out!

  • Victoria Heckstall

    I would love to go in rome someday. I will put this to my bucket list. Really love that place so much

    • Yes Victoria! Rome is a city to add to your bucket list!

  • Lynsey Betz

    Rome is such a beautiful place, there is so much beauty take in, I’m glad you had a wonderful time!

    • Thank you, Lynsey! It was a wonderful experience! Definitely a place to visit again!

  • pnkgirl25

    I love that title. And Rome is on my bucket list, it’s absolutely city that everyone should visit. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you! Rome is a must see city, and I completely agree that everyone should take the chance to visit!

  • Jacqui Odell

    Understanding transportation is one of my biggest fears about going to a different country. I am scared I would get lost.

    • I thought so too Jacqui! The transportation system was completely different from NYC, for example. But, I was able to decipher some of the signs at the airport to figure out where I should be heading. Don’t be a afraid of getting lost! Most times, it’s a learning experience!

  • Jennifer Van Huss

    It sounds like you had a fabulous time in Italy! I lost my luggage the first time I flew to Europe! It happens! Enjoy your trip!

    • Thank you, Jennifer! Italy was great! I can’t wait to go back again! And, I got my luggage back the next day so it wasn’t all that bad! 🙂

  • WEMAKE7

    I’m so sorry to hear about the issues with your luggage when you got there. Sounds like a wonderful place to visit though. I’ve never been out of country before and hoping to some day.

    • Losing my luggage was the only negative out of the experience, thankfully. Italy is a beautiful country, and Rome is rich in history and culture! I would recommend a trip to Italy when you visit Europe!

  • umiko

    Imagine if there’s no Siri. But like you said, you got to enjoy the historical beauty of the place that has lived on for centuries.

    • I couldn’t imagine no Siri! But, yes I did enjoy the historical beauty of Rome, which made me forget about the uneventful start to the trip. It also taught me that with travel, there are bound to be mistakes and obstacles along the way.

  • Amit Sharma

    I know how you feel about your luggage I’ve had a few issues over the years but mine was thankfully always returned back to me after a few days – I have a couple of friends that are in Rome as we speak and they are having an amazing time, i will be sure to pass this post onto them, I’m sure it will come in handy for them 😀

    • Yes, I got my luggage back the next day actually! And, thanks for passing this story along Amit! I hope your friends enjoy the story, and I definitely hope they have some stories to share as well! 🙂

  • Lena B

    What an incredible tory and it contains so much of what I want and fear at the same time. Want – explore new countries. Afraid – to be out of my element, lose my stuff, not be able to understand what to do and not enjoy the new culture because of it!

    • Thanks Lena! The experience for me was bittersweet! It was definitely a rough start in the beginning but it’s all worth in the end when I realized the positives outweighed the negatives! Oh, and I did end up getting my luggage the next day at the airport!

  • It is a dream to visit Europe one day, and I would like to see Rome as well. I do worry about the language and how would I get through!

    • Visiting Europe is a truly remarkable experience! I enjoy myself alot in Rome as well. I wouldn’t worry too much about language though. I got by just fine, especially since I picked up on some basic phrases and words!

  • Bethany Stout

    I have never been to Rome but you make it sound amazing. Rome is def. going on my bucket list after reading this article.

  • Margarette Puno

    I have never been in any country but Rome is one of my dream country to visit. It looks so wonderful place.