What a whirlwind it has been. Being in Rome has allowed for a lot of travel because it is so central in Europe. I recommend spending the majority of your time in Rome, but this study abroad opportunity also permits students to easily travel on the weekends and during spring break. My past spring breaks consisted of coming home for the week and visiting with friends; never have I travelled anywhere exciting until this year. I spent my break in different cities in Spain and many colleagues hopped around multiple countries.
The ability to travel around Europe is a huge perk of study abroad in Rome–when else will you be able to travel to so many other countries and cities during your youth? Traveling for me is the opportunity to better understand a country’s culture and history. It is a way to challenge my previous perspective and gain insight on how others live their lives and what values are prioritized by people of different nations. Traveling is about opening my mind to what I originally viewed as the unknown, to become familiar with ways of life I had only made assumptions about.
As thrilling and enlightening as traveling is, it is exhausting. Really exhausting. I have learned a lesson with the amount of travel I am doing in the month of March: space out your travel plans. Due to Spring Break, a class excursion and plans with friends, my weekends in March are all spent on the go in different countries. As much as I love the Monday to Thursday class schedule, which allows for course excursions and travel on the weekends (another huge perk of Temple’s study abroad programs), that time is fully needed for rest, recuperation and exploring Rome. Class excursions and personal travel plans leave little down time to catch up on work and sleep, so be sure to not plan everything back to back. I am in the middle of a fantastically tiring travel spree. I have spent the majority of my time in Rome and am looking forward to staying there for the upcoming weekends afterwards.
What I am learning on my past and current travel experiences is no trip is the same. Here are some quick considerations for those planning to travel while studying abroad:
- Plan ahead for your trips and travel/sleeping arrangements to save money, also be aware of any class excursions and holiday times. Attending class excursions are mandatory to pass the class.
- Try to check in and print out tickets for transportation before you leave; wifi in Italy is never consistent. Don’t be stressed to find your tickets through all your emails minutes before you board.
- Stay in hostels and AirBnBs to save money. Try to choose places that are near the center of the city or public transportation. Be sure to check reviews online! In Amsterdam, I stayed on a campground thirty minutes outside of the city. As fun as it was to be in the wilderness, traveling was more time consuming and I had to better prioritize my time.
- Choose carefully who you go with–it can make or break a trip. Travel with people who have similar interests, are responsible and are positive/easy to be around.
- If someone pays for a trip in whole or covers some of your costs, be sure to write down the amounts to be sure what is owed. Without keeping track, it can get a little messy.
Traveling while studying abroad is a lot of fun, but it is still a balancing act with school. Be sure to not get overwhelmed and lose sight of why you are here: to gain college credits and knowledge. Spend weekends in Rome as well; that is when you have far more time to explore the Eternal City and really get to know this amazing place you are studying in.