Rome: Perspectives from a Cypriot.

It is a sunday afternoon in Ostiense. Today is my 9th day in Rome. I am writing this to you from Piazza Testaccio. There are few kids in front of me, playing football joyfully and a nice melody on my right from someone who is playing an instrument that I have no idea what it is. But it sounds good anyway.

Rome has been very welcoming so far, with sunny weather, good food and lovely people. I am going to live in this beautiful city for one year in the aim of completing my master in Agribusiness management at Rome Business School. This is my first experience of living abroad, and I already loved it.

Rome Business School has diverse students from East to West, from Asia to Latin America. When I think and experience this diversity, I cannot stop myself from remembering the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau who said this inspiring sentence in 2016:

‘Diversity isn’t just sound social policy. Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world’.

I have to add that, Diversity generates lots of fun as well. Experience is talking.

Addition to the diversity at school, I have been living in a hostel this past 9 days which enabled me to meet with unique people everyday.  While some of them was here for vacation or more permanent stay, I am staying in this place until moving to my new room in November.

Hostel-type of accommodation or things like Couchsurfing are really powerful experiences which teaches you that, world is actually so small and people are usually friendly. All you have to do is exchange the greetings and start the conversation. Because, I believe that in this period of the world, the only way to more hopeful future is greater intercultural interaction.

Let’s get back to the city. I am afraid, I do not know the best word to describe Rome. It is really spectacular. I want to highlight one of the information about the city that I learned at the orientation. Rome has 280 fountains. There are big and small fountains everywhere. You may guess, Fontana di Trevi is the most famous one. On the other hand, Nathaniel Hawthorne, a writer from US in 19th Century, described the capital of Italy with the following words. ‘How is it possible to say an unkind word of Rome? The city of all time and of all the world!’.

I am trying to walk as much as I can in the hope of understanding the city further.  I try to hear the voice of Rome, the melody of streets and the vibe of the whole place. So far, I met with lots of street musicians and beautiful piazza’s in different neighborhoods. For those who does not know a word of Italian, piazza means square.

I can say that, Rome really has a happy attitude. If it was a human being, I bet there will be a smile always in her face. Also, it is reminding me İstanbul sometimes because of the shared history of the Roman Empire period. Istanbul was also the capital of Ottoman Empire which ruled in 3 continents until the beginning of 20th century. Both of them are charming places and a must visit for everyone.

On the other hand, arriving to Rome, after the crisis of Turkish lira is a different kind of experience. It took me a few days to get used to this reality. 50 lira may not buy you great things in Cyprus, but definitely 50 euro has higher purchasing power, here in Rome. Converting the prices back to lira is not a good idea in terms of practicality and mental health. Thankfully, I quitted this habit earlier then I thought. For those who wonder, 1 euro is around 6.50 lira these days.

I will try my best to stay consistent on writing regularly here and sharing my adventure in Rome. I am hoping that this one year in Rome, studying at RBS is going to be productive, enriching, and lovely experience in the aim of understanding the world, my field of work and myself better.

Upcoming days, I am planning to write about my field, Agribusiness , life in Rome and the new thoughts, feelings that may arrive while living in this charming city. Small but beautiful details of Rome that I catch is going to be here.  I want to conclude this piece of writing with a quote from Elif Shafak’s book called 40 rules of love.

Rule 10: ‘East, West, South or North makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey, a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond’

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2 comments

  1. Ali, Rome is definitely a lovely city. I am also very happy to be here and opened to live new experiences in such a place.
    Every street is so meaningful and I can’t wait to get to know everything!
    And thank you for sharing Trudeau’s quote, I feel the same way!
    Regards from Brazil!
    See you around!

    Like

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