Reflecting on Experiences in Rome

Submitted by Elliana Olivo on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

A weekend trip in Vienna, Austria

As study abroad is coming to an end, I never thought I would say that I am tired of travelling. I have loved every second of my life abroad but I am definitely ready to go back to America. One of the main reasons I studied abroad for an entire semester was because of my love for traveling and exploring new cities. However, while balancing school work, new adventures every weekend in a new European country and city I have not had any time to rest and just relax in Rome. There is a constant pressure to go to a new place or try a new spot you haven’t seen yet because of the short time we are living in Europe. Usually I am a person who thrives on this type of lifestyle but the travel time, time zone differences and cultural shock this often is a lot even for me. Although Rome has felt like a second home for me in some aspects, it is not America. There are a lot of aspects of the U.S. that most of us miss living in Europe for this long. Especially our families and friends back home and our usual lives we created during our last two and a half years of college. Routine, familiarity and relationships. (Submitted on April 24, 2023)

Although this semester is coming to an end I wanted to do a round-up of everywhere I traveled these past few months abroad. Starting with my home country Italy, Rome is my home base. After every long weekend it is such a relief to come back to our apartment and weekly routine of classes. Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre were major highlights of my travels. As well as, L’Aquila, Capri and Sorrento to finish off Italy. Some last minute trips that soon became some of my favorite cities include Prague, Vienna and Budapest. I traveled to these three places within the last two weeks of being abroad and they were so different from the rest of my weekend getaways. Some obvious choices we went to in the beginning were London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. Although these famous cities were fun to explore and experience they did not compare to Lisbon, Portugal and Nice, France. My least favorite cities were Pompei and Ostia that we went to one weekend for a class trip. We did learn alot about history but they were long days with a lot of travel time that we had to go to for a grade. If I had just a few more weekends left in Europe I would travel to Malta, Switzerland, Morocco and probably all of the south of Italy including Sicily and Positano. Being in Europe for such an extended period of time has taught me alot about myself and the different cultures we have visited. I definitely plan to come back to Europe but in a shorter amount of time with more days in each place I go. (Submitted on April 26, 2023)

Closing the chapter of my semester in Rome is a hard pill to swallow. Not only is this week bitter sweet but a time in my life that I will never forget. Living in a different country has taught me a lot of things. 

1. Always make more time for yourself and your family. 
2. Travel is precious and should always be cherished.
3. Always be open to new experiences. 

Although Rome has slowly become my new home it has made me miss my home in the states. What I will miss most about Italy are a few things. Most importantly, my friends I made here over the months. Not only do I have roommates for the first time but I formed a friend group that I hope to have forever. The food. The Italian diet of pasta, bread, croissants and cheese is mouth watering but I definitely need a break from the overload of carbohydrates. Last but not least, Italy has been and will always be my favorite place to visit. Maybe not somewhere where I will live for the rest of my life but I know I will be back dozens of times more. (Submitted on April 29, 2023)

Cinque Terre in Italy