Matthew Scheller ’11 – When I first came to Rome, I was incredibly intimidated by the city lifestyle and size of the city itself. Being from a small town in Southern Indiana doesn’t exactly make it easy to cope with such an environment. However, after having spent some time walking around the city by myself with only a map I could hardly read because the images and text were so small, I became more and more confident about my journey. I found my school and place of residence, and I was the FIRST to report to both locations for the Temple Study Abroad program.
When it came time to move into my apartment and head to orientation, I immediately made 5 new friends, one of whom was my roommate. Over the course of a mere 6 days, I felt as if I had gained 100 new friends and had been welcomed into a new community in a foreign environment. It felt as if I had crash landed on some strange planet shaped like a boot and was thrown into a new life.
After a couple of weeks I had already traveled through three quarters of the entire country and had established some very comfortable and what I think will be everlasting friendships with people living all over the United States, people from Pennsylvania, Washington State, Oregan, California, Texas, and even a young woman from Depauw University. Now, before you break down my door carrying torches and pitchforks for befriending the enemy, I must inform you all that her father and uncle are Wabash Men, and she STILL TAILGATES ON OUR SIDE AT THE MONON!
By the end of the second month, I had been from Italy, to Spain, to France, To Greece, and back to the West to Ireland. I had seen the Ancient Sector of Rome and all its riches, I had been to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, visited countless churches and museums all of extravagant beauty, and I had ran in the Olympic Stadium in Athens.
Having said this, I must admit, that though I have seen so many things and experienced so much in only a matter of months, the thing I cherish most about my trip are the friends I have made. I am part of an enormous family of 180 students that are placed in a situation that can be exciting and dangerous, but we have grown together, learned many life lessions, and leaned on each other when in times of need. It really means a lot and strengthens your bond with people when you lose two family members so far from home, and those people are with you every step caring for you and supporting you. I thank God for this experience that no one can ever take from me, but I thank him even more for the people he has introduced into my life.