An Open Letter to My Study Abroad Roommates

Out on the tarmac, it finally hit me; I was alone in Italy. I had applied to the program on a whim, the thought of walking down cobblestone streets overshadowing the idea of having no one to make these memories with. Little did I know that here in my apartment Dante, I would meet some of the people that would make this trip amazing.

To the responsible one of the group, Katie. Shortly after I arrived, an entire family walked into my apartment. As they all admired our lavish apartment, you walked into our room and set your stuff down on the bed closest to mine. That was probably a meaningless gesture, but it allowed me to instantly feel comfortable around you. Your easy going nature has been such a blessing, especially during the first three weeks when I couldn’t manage to figure out to unlock our door (sorry that it took me so long).

My personal favorite memory of you will always be during that first week when we went to Pisa and faced challenges getting back. We had already bought the ticket home and had planned to be there for seven hours but quickly realized that we only needed three hours tops. Not wanting to just sit around, we went to the train station in hopes of just switching our ticket. Which apparently wasn’t allowed. Nevertheless, we walked up to the train platform and prepared to board which seemed to stress you out. You went through every possible situation that could occur: “We could get arrested! Or kicked off! Or fined!” all of which seemed unlikely to me and better than spending another four hours in Pisa. Eventually, we arrived in Florence with no problems. Thank you for always going with the flow.

To the most outgoing one of us all, Mia. As I write this you are sitting next to me on the bus back from the Amalfi Coast which is going by pretty fast even though it is an 8 hour plus ride. In fact, on every single bus ride, I’ve gone on you have always been right next to me making me laugh and random things, whether it be your aunt’s cats or re-watching our cringy vlogs. There is no other person I would want to eat Italian gas station junk food with while looking at sunflower fields with, no matter how long the ride is. Not only are you my forever bus buddy, you are also the first person I go to when I want to travel. So far, we have been to Venice, Milan, Lake Como and various museums. Even all my favorite parts of the FSU excursions have you in them. I think I like traveling with you so much because you always push me out of my comfort zone, like when you made me cliff dive.

When we arrived in Manarola, we saw this huge rock in the middle of the beach that daredevils launch themselves off of to the cheers of the onlooking tourist. I immediately declared that I would never even touch the rock. Long story short, I somehow ended up on the edge of the rock. We probably stood there for thirty minutes until you suddenly looked at me and said, “We will only be able to cliff dive in Italy once” and promptly jumped. After a splash, you resurfaced and counted me down and I jumped. Thank you for making sure I make as many memories as I can in Italy.

To my fellow youngin', Jessie. Even though your bed squeaks every time you move a muscle, I am so happy to live in the same room as you. Since we are the youngest in the group, we can hide under the shield of immaturity, which was very evident went we went to Pisa. Pisa, like I mentioned before, is a very odd place and is filled with cringy tourist taking the weirdest leaning tower photos. Wanting to join in on this abnormal trend, we sat down and took several pictures/videos of us licking the tower. By the end of our photo shoot, we were rolling on the ground from laughter.

During the first week, we had a mini dance party in our apartment living room. Under the ceiling fresco, we each had in one of my Air Pods and one by one, we queued up a surprise song to play. It was so wholesome and since it was in the beginning, it really allowed me to feel comfortable with you. Thank you for dancing and goofing off with me.

And to our honorary roommate, Angela. While you may not live in Dante with us, you are definitely in our girl gang. I have truly enjoyed traveling with you and seeing all the various things you’ll do for good luck. You have done almost everything, with the grossest one being licking a grotto wall, but it still cracks me up how you were too uncomfortable to grab Juliet’s statue chest.

Even though you like country, I’ll always enjoy listening to some tunes with you. Our second potluck wouldn’t have been complete without your rendition of various 2008 Taylor Swift songs. You took over the music selection and choose the classic Romeo and Juliet and blasted it at full volume. As you belted out the lyrics, the room was filled with kindred spirits and really brought everyone together. Your positive and lively energy is contagious and has been truly appreciated this trip. Thanks for singing away this trip with me.

I’m leaving Italy tomorrow but this time, with the friends of a lifetime. Studying abroad in a foreign country alone may sound scary but after doing it, I would recommend because it makes you put yourself out there. I probably wouldn’t have met these amazing women without it nor would I have made these memories. Thank you, Italy, and thank you, random roommates!

All photos courtesy of Savannah Tindall.