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MISTI Program

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An MIT-Italy student finds her way around Rome

Rachel Foley
MIT-Italy Program
Internship: ENEL

ThIis post was first published on Rachel's Incredible Italian Inquisition
It has officially been two months since I arrived in Italy, and I must say, I am still discovering something new every day. Recently, I’ve come into a fuller realization of how interconnected Rome is. The first month or so in Rome, I was in my “tentative” phase where I stuck like glue to the bus that took me directly from the apartment to where I work. For that month, I was under the impression that very few people rode the bus, partially because the bus I would take was usually pretty empty, and partially because there was never anyone waiting at my bus stop when I arrived in the morning (which I found slightly odd).

It took me a while to work up the courage to take a different bus to work, and the main reason I found myself on said bus was because there was one week where three or four times, I showed up seconds after my bus had pulled away. It was frustrating and inconvenient, especially since my bus only came every twenty to thirty minutes. So I stepped onto a bus heading in the same direction and tried my luck. I must admit, I didn’t really commit that first time because I got off shortly after getting on and continued waiting for my bus. But it started me wondering…was there another way to get to and from work?

A week or so ago, I discovered that all five of the other buses that stop at my bus stop would take me to another bus that could in turn take me all the way to work. Now that was a pleasant surprise! Since then, I’ve tried five other routes to get to work, and Justas many to get home. Some I like, some I’ve decided to avoid. But the important thing about all of this: I’ve stepped out of my box. I tend to create patterns for myself and I don’t like to break them when I know they work. By learning something small like this, I’m learning to be flexible, and goodness knows how many other areas of my life that lesson can be applied to.

I think that’s one of the greatest strengths of MISTI: the program takes people like me and completely immerses us in a culture and situation that no amount of training could ever really prepare us for, while still providing us with lifelines that we can use as needed. It forces us to adapt, and that is an invaluable skill that we all need to learn. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate in MISTI-Italy. It has been an experience that I will never forget!