To study abroad or not study abroad, that was the question. However, for me personally, it was never a question. Ever since I was in high school, I knew that studying abroad was something I had to do while I was in college. I dreamt of studying in Europe, having the best time of my life, traveling, writing, taking pictures, and experiencing a different culture. And to be sitting here now, writing about my experience and knowing that I lived in Rome for 4 months is just surreal.
Once I made the decision to study abroad, the next step was choosing where to go. Well, with basically everywhere being an option, I knew that decision would be hard. However, I always had this longing to go to Italy. The culture and the people have always interested me because it is so different from the American culture, so I knew I would learn so much. Rome was my final decision. I did not know anyone else going, which made it that much more exciting and also intimidating. People would always tell me what not to do and to be careful when I told them where I was going, which made me a little nervous; however, the whole semester before I left, I was so ready to go. I could not wait to see what was waiting for me in Rome. I knew that I was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime; and that is exactly what it was.
The people that I met were just the greatest. I cannot get over how awesome it was making friends from all over the country. Plus making friends while you are studying abroad means you are travel buddies, which is another bonus. The things that I got to see while I lived in Rome were just incredible. I still cannot believe I was there while the whole world watched the Catholic Church announce a new Pope. My friends and I would just talk about how unbelievable our timing was being in Rome during this amazing event. And being there in the Vatican City when Pope Francis was announced as the new Pope of the Catholic Church was just a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
The culture, the food, the people, and everything about Italy is just amazing. Every city I visited in that country was different, and yet the same. The people are warm and friendly and man, do they know how to cook. Every place that I got to travel to outside of Rome was like a dream, full of history, culture, and beauty. Not only did I enjoy the beauty of the country, but I also learned so much. This experience stretched me in so many ways, teaching me about myself and about the world where I live. I think studying abroad is the best thing you can do while you are in college and I want to encourage everyone I know that has the opportunity to take it. It’s hard, yes, but I promise you it’s so worth it in the end. I will carry the memories and the stories from this experience with me my entire life, every day wishing to go back to my little home in Rome.