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Hopkins ’19 – All Roads Lead to Rome

Matthew Hopkins ’19 — It was 9am – touch down in Rome. A 9-hour flight and I maybe slept 45 minutes of it. A combination of cramped leg space and a general fear of flying must have been what inhibited me. We unloaded the plane, grabbed our luggage, hopped on a train to the city, and hauled our bags about half a mile to our hotel. We were in Rome for the week, and honestly I didn’t know what to expect. In retrospect, I was in for the best week of my life. We hit the ground running (literally). the first day was a mixture of getting familiar with the district our hotel was in (Piazza Navona) as well as seeing some historic spots such as Trajan’s Column, the imperial forum, the Pantheon, etc. How amazing it is to not just learn about something but to be able to see it with your own eyes. We may have looked like tourists gawking at all these ancient pieces of history, and we were all pretty jet lagged from the long flight, but it didn’t matter, because we made it; we were in Rome. For the next week or so, this is how our days went. We got out to all the historical sites we had been reading about the past 2 months, and with each new basilica, arch, temple ruin we saw, my marvel for this city only grew. It was a pleasant surprise that most people in Rome spoke at least a little English, because I definitely cannot speak Italian. Even though one particular conversation I had with a group of girls transpired almost exclusively through Google Translate, the language barrier proved to be the least of my worries. Throughout the week, we had group dinners, and oh boy the Romans know how to cook. We ate things such as carbonara (that brought Dr. Nelson to tears), pizza (REAL pizza), and lamb chops. Not only did I get the chance to see Rome and supplement the materials I was learning in class, I also got a chance to be immersed in a brand new culture much different than my own. What an incredible opportunity Wabash College has given me to get out and see the world.  Let’s hope that all roads really do lead to Rome, so that one day I may return.