Traveling the world opens your eyes to issues, experiences, and cultures that you would have never known existed if you just stayed home and lived your mundane life going to college each day in hopes of achieving a degree. Going out there and actually experiencing a different culture/ country first-hand does a lot more for you than learning about it in a classroom ever would. I realized this when I took a couple weeks off this semester to go travel Europe with my best friend. While it was a fun, interesting and amazing learning experience I would never forget, there were a lot of differences I noticed between cultures on my trip to Europe.
I began my trip in Rome, let me start this off by saying Rome is by far one of the most ancient and most beautiful places that I’ve ever been to. Almost every street is a cobblestone street and there’s a historical site on almost every block. Rome was a city that I found myself walking through and appreciating everything that I saw because as a history buff it was so surreal to actually see these things that I would only read about in person. However, the food in Rome wasn’t the best. For starters The restaurant service there is a bit more aggressive than in NYC you can casually be strolling through the street and you’ll have people come up to you telling you to eat at their restaurant (that was probably one of the bigger things I needed to get used to cause I found myself saying no a lot). When I finally found a place to eat all they had was pasta, pizza and these cold cut sandwiches and that gets boring real fast. However, real Italian gelato is the best, better than any gelato I've had in NYC. The other thing about Rome is its transportation, the only time I bought a transportation ticket in Rome was to take the train to the airport. Otherwise, the majority of people don't buy bus tickets, they just hop on and off (the buses aren't free in Rome) and with that being said their inner city bus service isn't the most reliable (Just like the MTA). On a serious note though if it was one thing that Rome did have in common with NYC it was a city filled with tourist.
While Paris I was expecting to be captivated by a beautiful city and even more beautiful architecture(which truly did captivate me). Instead what really caught my attention was a refugee family on every city block (not an exaggeration) literally every city block my friend and I walked we discovered an entire family just living on the streets. I am a New Yorker so it's not new for me to see a guy or gal on the street asking for money but I've never seen entire families out on the street which is why it was so shocking to me. Now at the time of our trip to France, I was aware they were taking in immigrants but I figured they’d have them staying in refugee camps not out in cold being forced to beg for food because they literally have nothing in this new country. On a completely separate and somewhat positive note the public transportation in Paris is pretty damn complex, at least getting a ticket is and knowing for which zone you’ll be good in. Aside from all the historical sites and tourist attractions they have there, there's this little area in Paris that has a huge middle eastern influence present and it’s some of the best middle eastern food I’ve had It was probably the best comfort food I’ve had. Paris however, did remind me of New York a lot just the vibe of the city, it just seemed to always be alive all of the time. Also the fact that you can walk the entire city in a day and that's something I found myself doing. I would leave the hotel mid day and just walk; without even knowing it I would end up walking past historical sites thinking to myself hey that sure does look familiar.Even though these two countries were at the beginning of my trip, I was starting to get the idea that each country would truly be a unique experience. So I made it my goal after Rome to immerse myself in the culture of the country that I’d visit next. Obviously I would check out the attractions but for the most part I wanted to do things the locals would do, so I could see how life and culture was lived in each respective country.