Rome: Living in the Moment

Guest post by Paolo Eleccion, a Foster Senior majoring in Accounting and Information Systems. He studied abroad on the Foster Accounting Exploration Seminar in 2017. Paolo is a recipient of the GBC Study Abroad Scholarship.

Ciao! This past summer I had the opportunity to partake in the first ever accounting exploration seminar in Rome. It was my first time to Europe and I would do the program again if I had the chance too. As accounting students, we were fortunate to be able to take an accounting elective while having the chance to study abroad.

When we first landed in Italy we were stuck at the airport for over three hours waiting for our prearranged taxi to take us to the UW Rome center. Little did I know this was just the first instance of many others in Italy where I would be stuck waiting for a taxi. Now that I am back in the United States, if I could explain the Italian life style in one word, it would be “Relaxed”. After having some time to reflect on my experience, I would describe being in Italy as being, in the moment. As I walked to streets of Trastevere, no one had food in their hands, no one had coffee on the go, no one was running after buses, everyone seemed to be in the moment. Living in the moment.

One of the best pieces of advice we were given before going to Italy was to become a regular at a local shop. Almost every morning before I went to class, I stopped by Bar Rosssana to get my usual order, “Un Cappuccino y cornetto”. One cup of cappuccino, standing up, and a chocolate croissant. I became friends with the waiter who worked in the mornings and learned he was from the Philippines. Being Filipino myself, it was amazing to meet another Filipino in another country outside of the Philippines or America. What was even more amazing was his ability to speak English, Tagalog, and Italian. I had also learned that the stern elderly lady who ran the coffee machine was the owner of the place and had owned it for over twenty years. There was a time when she was busy with another customer and when she had finished helping them she apologized to me because she couldn’t get to me sooner. She didn’t speak any English but her gestures and emotions could not be mistaken. As the trips to Bar Rossana became more frequent, Rossana became less stern and even actually smiled once or twice during my three weeks in Rome.

Of all the tours and visits we did, my favorite tour was of the Jewish ghetto. It was amazing to learn about what Jewish people had to go through because their faith was different. It was humbling to stand and walk through a part of Rome where Jewish people were confined to. It was breath taking to see Jewish people today taking pride in a space they can call their own.

Lastly, I must talk about the amazing instructors who accompanied the students on our trip. They were Izzy Weber and Andy Marzano. I think I speak for the group when I say we could not have asked for better instructors. Both we extremely supportive and helpful throughout our entire time in Italy. I can honestly say my trip wouldn’t have been the same if it was not for these two. Izzy taught the accounting class and Andy handled most of the logistics. I still remember Izzy telling us Andy got one of the questions on the midterm correct when he was trying to be funny.

Italy was amazing. It is a trip I will remember for the rest of my life. Being the first group to participate, I truly hope the Foster School of Business continues this program in the following years.

It was a wonderful three weeks in Rome. I am truly thankful and honored to have had the opportunity to go.

Arrivederci Roma! Till next time!