In the days leading up to my departure from the U.S. the questions, “Why do you want to study abroad?” or “Why Italy?” have come up countless times, but I never knew the best way to answer. Now that I’m here and I’m finding myself aimlessly exploring the streets of Rome, I have found a thousand answers to those questions, but one in particular that could put it into words the best: My heart always knew it was Italy. As cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. At a very young age I was bit by the travel bug, everything and anything to do with new places and big cities inspired me and had left me in awe. As I grew up, my fascination with Italy developed (probably being influenced mostly by my favorite type of food and my own crazy Italian family). When it came time to choose a college, I had one huge requirement (other than my major) and this requirement was that the school have a Study Abroad Program. As the time drew near for me to choose a destination to study abroad, the choice was clear, Italy.
Admiring my new home for the next four months
So fast-forward a little bit and here we are, just reaching the two-week anniversary of my touching down in Roma for a whole semester. Throughout these past two weeks there has been an excess amount of excitement, eating, guided tours, and jetlag recovery. Yes, jetlag is a real thing. Though I had originally thought I had somehow, magically, escaped the jetlag from my nine-hour flight, it sure did catch up to me. The exhaustion still has not 100% subsided, but my level of excitement has thankfully managed to take control over my body. Anyways, that’s enough about the bore that is jetlag. Now onto some of my most recent adventures!
The orientation program at John Cabot University gave a great preview of the city I would be residing in for the next four months. Through our orientation we did guided tours to the Colosseum and to each building part of our university’s campus. Though we did not get to spend much time there, I’m not even the slightest bit worried because I know I’ll be making plenty of detours to the Colosseum throughout the rest of my time in Rome (after all, I have to perform there with Paolo don’t I? Lizzie McGuire movie reference #1 of many). Outside of JCU orientation throughout the first week, I managed to make some new friends, bond with the other SHU-goers, and to get lost basically every time I left my room. Even though getting lost is super stressful, I’ve managed to stumble upon the best gelaterias, pizza places, and even the Vatican along the way (therefore, I regret nothing).
The famous Colosseum
Every corner you turn here in Rome is cuter and quainter than the last and I think that is just one of the things I have learned to admire about this city. Every restaurant I have eaten at, or even walked by, is set with wine paraphernalia and an irreplaceable smell from the kitchen that is strong enough to make your taste buds start to water. Each restaurant and piazza is illuminated by the perimeter of hanging lights and filled with local Italians strumming their guitars. Everything here, especially at night, feels like a scene out of a movie where you are irresistibly swept up into the romance of the city. Needless to say, I love Rome.
The beautiful streets of Travestere in Rome on my walk to campus.
The first of many beautiful meals that I have documented before inhaling.
Other than my aimless wandering around Roma, the SHU crew and I took a trip this past weekend to celebrate the conclusion of our first week of classes. Where did we go? The breathtakingly beautiful, Amalfi Coast. Now, I think it’s important for you all to know that the background of my phone/laptop has been the Amalfi Coast since probably the eighth grade… so you can probably imagine my excitement when the background from my laptop became the scenery in front of my very eyes. We arrived in Positano after descending what seemed like the most winding and narrow mountain to exist, (I may be exaggerating a little for dramatic effect, bare with me) until we finally reached the black sand beach lined with buildings of every color. At this point, my eyes may or may not have teared up (okay, they did). Our day in Positano was the most relaxing day in Italy as of yet and also one that I will never forget. The view of the colorful coast was to die for and the storm clouds overhead made the color of the city come to life. We spent most of our day laying out on the beach enjoying the view, wandering through the little shops along the shore, eating the most delicious local food, and casually crossing an item off our bucket list. The SHU crew, or a majority of it, decided to go paddle boarding on the Gulf of Salerno right off of the coast. Paddle boarding, to a newbie such as myself, can best be described as surfing and kayaking combined. Another breakdown: you’re standing on a long surfboard, holding an oar, and trying to navigate through the choppy waves… as long as you’re balanced enough to actually stay on top of the board. Fun Fact: I am kind of terrified of sharks. Needless to say, deep ocean activities are not my forte. Once my terror subsided and I actually had some balance on the board, I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having cruising up and down the shoreline with such an amazing view and amazing group of friends.
Fellow SHUgoer Laura Vero and I too excited to be in Positano
Another SHUgoer, Melissa Lizarazo and I while paddleboarding with a pretty spectacular view
No caption needed, but I think this is where I got a little teary-eyed.
There is a ton more in store for the rest of my four month journey, especially within this month with trips to Greece and Oktoberfest coming up. My bank account may be hurting, but my inner travel bug is living the dream! Throughout the rest of my semester here in Rome (and whilst traveling around Europe) I hope to take you on many more adventures with me. Ci vediamo presto, Ciao!