Monthly Archives: July 2014

Final remarks on the Rome experience

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The summer program ended last week with an art show exhibiting everyone’s work.

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This Tyler senior displayed some paintings she did around Rome.

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This student prepares to bring her work home.

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These two girls discuss what they should do for their last night in Rome.

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This student takes down his photographs from the exhibit before he leaves.

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Graphic design major Cassy looks through student sketchbooks left open on a table.

 

Six weeks living in Rome was a life changing experience. Making new friends, learning new things, and seeing a new culture is once in a lifetime opportunity of which I encourage everyone to take advantage. Whether going alone or with friends, whether you have traveled before or have not been outside the United States, this experience will change you and help you grow. It will be a moment you will never forget. In these last photos, I share with you some memorable moments and advice:

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Try to get up early to check out Rome when it’s less hectic. While you’re at it, grab the best cappuccino you’ll ever have.

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Visit other parts of Italy to get a better understanding of Italian culture as a whole. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is truly beautiful.

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If you have to buy souvenirs for women, go to Florence and stop by the San Lorenzo leather market for gifts that will surely please. Don’t forget to stop by Il Duomo while you’re in town.

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And, if you are a woman-or if you just like shoes-have some custom made to your feet. Cute custom made sandals can be made in Capri, or if you want to stay local, there are shops in Rome, too.

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Enjoy and explore Rome. Fall in love with the city and, if you can, visit again.

Goodbye Gelato, Hello Steak and Potatoes

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Another amazing week, and I got to spend part of it with my parents! The weekend was well spent exploring new places and sharing my favorites. We visited St. Peter’s Square, La Sapienza University Botanical Gardens, and Trastevere on Thursday, the Vatican Museums, Temple Rome, Piazza del Popolo, the Borghese Gardens, the Spanish Steps, and Barberini on Friday, and the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill on Saturday.

Rome's Hidden Secret - The Botanical Gardens

One of Rome’s hidden secrets – the Botanical Gardens

Some old building

Some old building

48,795 steps later, I was sort of willing to sit down in the library, write a research paper on the Roman Heat Wave of 2003, and memorize a mess of dates and images for Art History. As Temple Rome classes and my first Italian journey draw to a close, here are a few things I’ll miss, as well as a few things I won’t mind leaving behind.

What I’ll miss:

– The food. Pizza, pasta, bread, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, gelato, tiramisu, salami, sausage, pastries, cappuccinos, wine, bananas imported from Peru (trust me, it makes a difference), and all things hazelnut

– The lifestyle. Italians appreciate life at their own pace. Besides, I feel super productive when I am surrounded by the one-thing-a-day mentality and doing ALL the things.

– The weather. Cool in the mornings and evenings, sunny all day, with a nice thunderstorm every once and a while.

– The restaurant staff. They all seem genuinely happy to be alive and serving you good food, even when service is included in the menu prices.

– The cafés. There’s just something about watching macho Italian men eat pastries and drink coffee from miniature tea cups.

– The walking. To school, to the store, along the Vatican wall, beside the Tiber River…

– The views. Endless, incredible views of the city.

– The classes. Course content was relevant to the area and really enhanced my study abroad experience. “Students not tourists” is the best way after all.

– The professors. Temple Rome professors are passionate about what they do, and it was neat to have one professor who was native to Rome and very Italian, and another professor visiting the area for the first time, just like us.

– My roommates! I didn’t meet Jess and April until after I arrived in Rome and realized we were sharing a teeny bedroom for three…but it worked out perfectly.

What I won’t miss:

– The awkward sidewalk encounters… because passing on the right apparently isn’t a thing.

– The Italian style. Particularly women with their uber high heels fearlessly conquering Roman cobblestone roads by foot, bike, and Vespa, and I’m like yep…look at my Converse. They have arch supports.

– The lack of personal space. Shoving my way onto the metro at Termini comes to mind…

– European Wi-Fi. I thought I was going to have to submit my blog posts by owl. That’s why Temple got Stella…yes?

My study abroad experience passed quickly – at least in comparison to the speed of the Wi-Fi at the Residence – and as you can see, I’ll soon be missing Rome like its residents miss parking spaces.

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Time flies when you’re eating gelato, but I’m ready for steak and potatoes.

Berries and Cream <3

Berries and Cream

How Studying Abroad Can Change Your Life: A Bitter-sweet Six Weeks

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“Enjoy it. It goes by fast.” I’ve heard this so many times throughout my twenty years; about my teen ages, my time in high school, and before attending college. What does it actually mean, though? Of course, I’m naturally going to enjoy all of these things. When I was told to enjoy my study abroad experience because it would go by fast, I routinely responded, “I will!” as I boarded a plane to Rome, Italy.

Here I am, touching up my 10 page Global Sports research paper, and cramming for my Art History final. Holy crap, I’ve just spent 6 weeks in Rome. Sure, it flew by, but I’m not all that sure that I would want it any other way. While I often hear friends saying that they wish this could have been a full spring or fall semester, I found some perks in the brevity of this program:

1.) I was forced to try and adjust to Italian culture as quickly as I could. New challenges hit me like a ton of bricks when I came to Rome, and when you only have six weeks to figure them out and overcome them, you learn how to do so in an abridged manner. The quicker that I was able to overcome the language barrier and directional issues, the quicker I would be able to build my confidence—a major must-have when studying abroad. Having confidence meant being able to explore the city in depth while not being afraid to mess up, and in six weeks, I’ve found that very rewarding. To sum it up best, in six weeks, there’s no time to say “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

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You can’t waste any time when you have 6 weeks to explore all of this.

2.) Coinciding with a quick adjustment is the failure to fall into a routine. Yes, as strange as this may sound, this is indeed, a perk. When you fall into a routine, you’ve reached a dangerous level of comfort. In my experience, I become less alert, more bored, and less appreciative when falling into a routine; hence why studying abroad has been a great change of pace, and a quick one at that. In six weeks, with all that there was to do and see in Rome, I couldn’t help but to dodge a very outlined schedule. There wasn’t enough time in the day for me to even say that I was bored. All that time was devoted to being aware of my surroundings, and appreciating them. Never did I think I would have the opportunity to spend six weeks in Italy, but here I am, on top of the world.

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Quite literally…

So what exactly does that saying “Enjoy it. It goes by fast” mean? Well, to me, after being able to embark on this life-changing experience abroad, I think it’s more of a warning than a command. So for those who will soon be studying abroad, or even traveling to a destination with a foreign culture, I warn you; Enjoy it. Don’t take the opportunity to transform your life for granted. Immerse yourself into the host’s culture as if you only have one day to do so, not six weeks, or even a semester, because it all goes by too fast.

And finally, before I officially sign off from Rome, I thank my newly formed group of lifelong friends that I made during these past six weeks for putting the cherry on top of this whole experience.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my experiences as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them with you. Ciao from Roma!