So far studying abroad in Rome has been all I had hoped for and so much more. I went into this experience looking to find myself and to experience a new culture and Italy. I have been here for a little over three weeks now and can already tell how much I have grown and learned. I am more outgoing, confident, adventurous, and I truly am finding out just who I am and who I want to be. I have been blessed with an awesome group to study abroad with and have made some great friends. ISA paired my roommates and I very well even though we are all so different from one another. We are a good mix together.
So far these are my top 6 favorite things of the program:
1. The food. Holy cow, is the food in Italy amazing. The food here is so much better than anything I have ever had in the United States and it is also healthier. Here I have fallen in love with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, eggplant, gelato, bread with balsamic and olive oil, and have gotten addicted to Nutella. Everything is so much more fresh here and just overall amazing. There is a little pizza shop down the street from the school I am studying at that has the best pizza. My favorite has cheesy mashed potatoes on it with some sort of meat and mozzarella. I’m obsessed. We went to Croatia this past weekend and my friends and I craved real Italian pasta the entire time.
2.My classes. I chose to take Environmental Food and Society and International Business while studying abroad here in Rome. Both my classes have about 20 people in them and the professors are Italians who teach in English. The classes are super interesting and you can tell the passion each professor has for the subject they teach. It is a nice change to be in a class that small compared to my huge classes back at my home university because the class is more personal and the professors know each of our names. For my environmental class we visited the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Headquarters of the United Nations last week. We listened to FAO employees who explained their projects they work on for the FAO and gave us a tour of the building. For my International Business class, we have visited the Italian Senate and sat in on one of their forums, had a speaker who was on the pharmaceutical company Allergan team who brought Botox to the Italian market, and will also be visiting the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. I am excited about our trip to visit Pfizer because I am pre pharmacy and this will be an awesome experience for me and could potentially show me possible career paths. I have really enjoyed my courses so far and the American University of Rome is an adorable little university with a great garden and terrace to hang out at.
3. Florence. We went on our ISA excursion to Florence and it so far has been my favorite part of the program. Florence was beautiful and I really enjoyed the walking tours ISA had set up for us. I got to see the statue of David, the Duomo, the gold bridge and leather district, and so much awesome and ancient art. A group of us took the tour further and climbed the bell tower at the Duomo and the view at the top was breath taking. I also got sucked into the leather district and bought the cutest pair of boots I have ever seen, and maybe a few other leather goods. You can’t help it; There are just too many cute things there! We went to dinner at some awesome restaurants and the gelato there was to die for. I am pretty sure I have had gelato or Nutella every day since I have been here in Italy. We explored Florence’s night life and there is so much to do! Our hotel was conveniently placed in the center of Florence, which made getting around so much easier than Rome. On one of the nights I tried Rabit pasta and it was actually surprisingly good. We also watched the sunset over the gold bridge one night at a popular hill that has the most beautiful view of the city. On the last day of the trip we went to Chianti, Tuscany to a vineyard for a tour, wine tasting, and amazing lunch. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. The area was not only more beautiful than you have seen in the movies, but it was also such a fun day. The food was great and the wine was some of the best I have ever had. I’m really glad that ISA had excursions included and they did a great job planning them. I am super excited for this upcoming weekend, we are going to Capri and Pompeii!
4. The world cup. Italy and their futbol, let me tell you. They are obsessed. It has been such a unique and fun experience to be in Europe during the world cup. I am definitely rooting for Italy and I love their love for futbol.
5. Croatia. I went on a trip through bus2alps on one of our off weekends. While the bus ride there was brutal, the experience I had there was incredible.
6. The people. I have met some of the most down to Earth and awesome people on my program. I am so lucky for everything that I have experienced.