As I sit here typing my last post, I am filled with immense sadness, nostalgia, and happiness for the semester I just completed. I’m proud of myself for working full-time all summer to save money, jumping into the unknown, and learning a new language at 21 (a feat that is much more challenging than when you do it in high school). I’ll miss the people, the food, and Villa Borghese more than I can explain.
UCEAP Rome, in my biased opinion, is the best program EAP has to offer. In no other modern, metropolitan city can you see the same level of success Rome has with the modern interacting with the ancient. Next to the Ancient Colosseum from around 80AD, there are modern Metro stations, cars, and vespas whizzing by.
Rome will always have my heart. At restaurants in the U.S. when I see they have caprese salad or bruschetta on the menu, I will feel sad knowing that they cannot compare with the small non-chain cafe’s I have had the immense pleasure of eating at.
My professors were some of the most amazing teachers I had ever had. Both were majorly accomplished in their respective fields of Middle Ages Studies and Art History and were humble, intelligent, and made difficult course material digestible for the class. I’m proud of how much I know about the history of Christianity & global art crimes and how cultures protect their heritage. These classes contextualised dozens of monuments, buildings, and fountains that the untrained eye would just gloss over.
I wish I could explain more about how you will ever-so-subtly change as a person after studying abroad. You will gain patience from waiting for the busses or slowly cooked, delicious food. You will gain intelligence from your classes that incorporate Saturday sight visits into the curriculum, even though all you want your weekends for will be travelling (WARNING: DO NOT TRAVEL EVERY WEEKEND because you will miss out on many things Rome has to offer). You will gain a global perspective on art, education, and politics. And lastly, you might gain a little bit of weight from all that pasta. Sorry.
Here are some general tips:
- Do not buy a bus pass…but don’t quote me on that. Rome doesn’t check very often to see if you bought a pass and you will waste over 30 euros a month.
- Try limiting eating at restaurants to just once a day if you need to save money; grocery stores are super affordable and allow you to practice cooking.
- Check your course syllabus at write papers at least a week before they’re due.
- You are allowed one class to be pass/no pass, so chose that one carefully, and potentially one that cannot be used for GE’s or your major.
- Gelato is about 2 euros for a small cup, so be careful. It adds up on your waist and your wallet.
- Plan your weekend trips with Ryanair or easyJet at least a week ahead of time so prices don’t jump up.
When people ask me how study abroad was, I don’t want to ramble or bore them with my specific experiences. The only way I can answer how study abroad was is simple: it was exactly what I expected. I made a bunch of friends that I have the fortune of going to school with at UCSB, learned a new language, ate some of the best food on earth, lived in a colorful neighbourhood with cobblestone lining the streets, and lived very much in the present. The last thing I’ll say about Rome is this: you don’t need to eat all the bread or see all the monuments to enjoy yourself. As long as you appreciate where you are, who you are with, and all that you’re learning, you will have the best time.