Trying to fit in can definitely be one of the more difficult parts for studying abroad. The idea that I was going to be out of place in a foregin country was disconcerting, but also exciting. I found myself enjoying the challenge of living the life of a local, and I was pleased when it appeared that I was to others.
For my study abroad program, we moved to a different city after each week which made this challenge even more fun. Whether it was walking the alleys of Venice, eating blueberry steak in Florence, or shopping in Rome, I always felt like I fit in. I was never concerned with appearing as a tourist because I always followed the flow of the people. This was one of the highlights of staying in Rome because taking public transport comes naturally for me. As a native Chicagoan, navigating the ins and outs of public transport is a must, and I was happy to figure out the system in Rome. I loved seeing the streets full of people, native Romans and tourists alike. There was always something new for me to see or do, and my favorite part of Rome was living like a Roman.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a tourist. In fact, some of my favorite experiences were the touristy ones - picture of my study abroad group at the Trevi Fountain. Throwing a coin in the fountain and making a wish was absolutely something I had to do, and, yes, it does seem very touristy. I wouldn't trade the experience of living like a local, but also doing touristy things for the world. And, isn't that how the saying goes? When in Rome, do as the Romans do.