- Downloading a map is very helpful when exploring Rome because data is limited and wifi isn’t available at all times. This is also nice because you don’t have to carry around a map, which makes you look less touristy.
- Comfortable shoes are a must. I do a lot of walking around Rome and it makes it a lot more enjoyable if my feet don’t hurt.
- Bring a water bottle! Rome has around 2,500 fountains where you can drink cold, clean water.
- Visit the less popular ares of Rome and try to see things that tourists usually don’t get to see.
Try New Things
- Ask locals where to eat. The ISA staff is super helpful and willing to make recommendations of places to see and eat. This is an amazing way to try local dishes and also try places that you maybe wouldn’t have.
- Italians love coffee. Definitely try different kinds of coffee. There are coffee bars all over Rome.
- Whenever you’re presented with the option to do something different or new, say yes! Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity so make the most of it.
Be a Local
- Speak Italian as much as you can. Learning a few of the basics can be very helpful ,especially if you are trying to communicate with someone who only knows a little English.
- Have cash. Many places don’t take cards, so having cash is necessary. They also appreciate exact change because, unlike in the US, they don’t have single dollar bills. They have Euro coins and two Euro coins.
- Go to small markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. They are a lot better and less expensive that if you went to a grocery store. Plus, there aren’t many big grocery stores anyway.
- Italy has it’s own time. Things don’t always follow a schedule so it’s good to prepare for things to be late. The buses are a good example of this.
- Homesickness can happen, but you can always contact your family. Calling and video chatting is very easy and is a great way to keep in touch. Writing letters and postcards is also great. I brought photos of my friends and family from home and hung them in my room. Another great thing is to make food that reminds you of home. Near the American University of Rome is an American cafe that sells lots of typical American foods.
The world awaits…discover it.