When coming to study abroad in Rome, I had no idea what to expect from my apartment. The only information I had before I left was the address of where I would be living and the names of my roommates. I knew I would have to share a room, and that was something I was super nervous about. I’ve never had to share a room -- even freshman year in my dorm. I had no idea what to expect, and I just had to hope that my roommates and I would get along.
I wondered what on Earth my apartment would look like. When I arrived at my apartment, it was sensory overload. Stepping out of the car outside of my apartment, I still felt in awe of being in Rome, so I had no idea where to even look. It didn’t help that I had my two suitcases and I was trying to talk to the housing helper. I was so overwhelmed but with excitement. The next thing I knew, we were going up the elevator (thank goodness) to my new home.
Piazza Cavour is in my neighborhood and it has definitely become one of my favorite spots to go sit on a beautiful afternoon.
When I first walked in, I was blown away by the high ceilings. Three of my roommates were already there so they came and greeted me at the door. I then got a tour of the apartment and it was amazing; the place was so much more updated than I could have imagined. There are two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and three bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms have two beds and one has three beds. When I had arrived, both two-bed bedrooms were taken, so I was in the three bed room. I thought to myself, “Wow, you’re jumping right into this sharing-a-room thing.”
One day on my walk home from class, I came across this cute flower stand.
Once I started unpacking, it helped to make it seem real that this was actually my home for the next four months. I brought a blanket from home and one of my pillowcases to help make my bed really feel like my own. They were the first things I put on it. At first, I thought it was "extra" to bring my own pillowcase, but some of my friends who have studied abroad said it was a game changer. It has been the best thing, because even now as comfortable as I am here, it’s nice when I go to bed to feel a piece of home.
Just some of the photos that I have around my bedroom to help make me feel at home.
Before I arrived, I printed out a bunch of pictures of my friends and family from home. Above my bed there's a magnetic hanging board so I made sure to hang up some photos there, and I also have pictures on my nightstand just as a little reminder of my friends and family. As cheesy as it is, my roommates have truly made my CEA housing feel like home. I know I got extremely lucky with who my roommates are, but I have CEA to thank for that because I had completely random roommates.
Six of the seven roommates (thanks for taking the picture, Sam) on our first night in Rome.
All of the little tips and tricks of bringing a few little things from home definitely help with making a new place feel like home. The connections you make while you’re abroad are truly what make it feel like home.
Megan Reid is the Spring 2019 CEA MOJO Blogger in Rome, Italy, and is currently studying at University of Alabama.