Travel the world. If that was the one advice I could give to anyone, it would be to emphasize how helpful traveling is to developing one’s own personality and independence. I’m no stranger to how hard it is to travel when you’re a broke student but nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade in my experiences for any amount of money! That being said, I have had the benefit of living in Lund, Sweden and now my into my second month in Rome, Italy– have I grown up from these experiences, a year apart?
Finding accommodation in Lund was effortless. As a foreign student coming from outside of the EU, I was guaranteed housing on campus.
Rome was another story.. It is a city with a high population density and many students, both foreign and local looking for housing close to their university. With a lot of stress, we managed to secure this housing, while still in Canada, signed the lease, transferred the money, while never having thought this could very well have been a scam! (Luckily, it wasn’t-but there are horror stories among my classmates of leases gone wrong). This was a big change for me! I had never shared a room with anyone but my sister and to suddenly share with three other of my classmates brought on a new set of pet peeves I never thought I had.
The literal path to education..
Walking to school in Lund was great! Everyone around me were students since I lived on campus and it was simple to get from point B to point A (Pun attended- see picture above).
In Rome, walking to school, we become a part of the city- immersed with other tourists, locals, and everyone in between. Our school is not on a campus, our school is part of the city and all its cobblestone road glory.
Taste a culture to understand it.
It is hard to describe a lifestyle without mentioning the food and it just so happens that the two cultures I have taken a part in, both love desserts and snacks.
Following a fellow blogger’s advice, I recently tried an Italian cannoli filled with pistachio custard. I wasn’t disappointed.
..& then I realized adventure was the best way to learn.
In the architecture practice, I believe studying abroad widens your horizons in understanding urban fabrics and architectural typologies. I have learned just how impactful different cultures and lifestyles are to design. It is undoubtfully so helpful to live in the site of your project- you really do a site analysis, you use the space, you interact with the context and its people, etc.
So, in the end of the semester, like every other architecture student, I presented my project that I slaved over during the semester with countless occasions of blood, tears, and sweat. I have no doubt that Rome will be no different, so stay tuned!