ACCENT Community College Scholarship: Grazie mille!

This week, ACCENT Community College Scholarship awardee Tatum Kula reflects on her time in Rome as her program comes to an end. She recalls the academic and linguistic struggles, the unforgettable memories, and the life-long friendships forged.

As our 90 days abroad have rapidly started to come to an end, all 19 of us students have sat and wondered where exactly the time has gone. Many of us were warned before the journey that the semester would fly by, but I don’t think any of us really understood how fast that would be. I sit here writing this post, reminiscing on all of my adventures I have had and the people I have met, and question whether it all actually happened or if I was just dreaming. Our lives the past two and a half months have been full on non-stop traveling, writing, laughing, and living. Quite honestly, it has also been exhausting, but I don’t have one single regret!

Our minds have been working harder than usual, constantly trying to translate the different languages we encounter, finding our way around new cities, understanding different currencies, reading menus, etc. On top of all that, our professors have certainly kept us busy with writing assignments about our experiences, including Roman history and literature, and one professor even pushed us to engage ourselves with other students to practice speaking Italian! As awkward as those moments may have been, it was certainly a great way to learn the language. We have been given so many opportunities to learn about new cultures over the semester, and words can’t explain how amazing it has been to see how differently everyone lives. In addition to what has already been a crazy semester, many of my classmates had the weight on their shoulders of waiting to hear back from colleges, others trying to figure out where to even transfer a year from now. As the To-Do lists grew, it was so amazing to be able to de-stress on the weekends as many of us continued to travel to new cities, letting the adventure carry on. Not a day goes by that we aren’t grateful for all our adventures and wild memories. They have been worth every second.

This past semester has been one to remember and I am having a hard time imagining living a day without all the wonderful people in this program. In fact, I have a hard time imagining a day back in California in general! I hope I will be able to return to the States with the Italians’ slow-paced lifestyle, their desire for long conversations, passion for perfecting food, and hopefully, I will even remember some Italian language. I will certainly miss the short and stocky dogs, the cappuccinos, pastries (all Italian food for that matter), the incredible architecture, and so many other things I could name for hours and hours. Rome has become my home over the past three months and I am in awe of how quickly we all adjusted to the culture shock each day.

This adventure has helped many of us come to terms with who we are individually, as we constantly tackled new obstacles when traveling from place to place. Traveling really puts all your skills to the test, from translation to navigation to patience with last-minute flight delays. Additionally, it puts a group dynamic to the test as well as your ability to adapt to the opinions and perspectives of those you have only known for a short 3 months. However, we certainly have got to know each other quickly, given the circumstances. This has been an experience I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life, and couldn’t be more grateful for every single moment I lived through and the beautiful people I met throughout. I will be back, Europa! Grazie mille, Ciao!

~Tatum Kula, Santa Barbara City College





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