Submitted by Paige Sullivan on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…
At eleven weeks into the semester, I feel fully acclimated to Rome and well-adjusted. However, my Italian speaking skills are lackluster. I took a trip to a new part of Rome to work on these skills. I went to a deli where the only language spoken was Italian, alongside a friend of mine that could help me translate. Being in this deli, I realized how much the main areas of Rome cater to tourists through their English-speaking and English menus. This experience in the deli felt so authentically Italian and inspired me to spend lots more time on Duolingo.
At the end of this week, I took a trip to Switzerland with some friends. It was a super short trip, but perhaps one of the best trips I have ever gone on! We flew into Geneva and spent the first day there hanging out at a spa on the lake which was a crazy experience. We got to heat up in a sauna and then jump into Lake Geneva to cool down! Later that evening, we got Swiss fondue, which truly changed my life. It was spectacular! We finished the evening with some Swiss chocolate, of course!
The following day, we went to Montreux, Switzerland, which was more in the mountains. We made a last-minute decision to go to Montreux, so we decided to ask the locals for recommendations on how to spend our day there. It was perhaps the best day of my life! We sat by the beautiful lake, took a cable car up a mountain, and got some more fondue. It was especially awesome because everyone we talked to was from a different country than the last, but had moved to Switzerland. We were the only Americans in sight, which was really wonderful! Overall, Switzerland’s culture felt much more laid back, and I am truly dying to make it back– despite it being one of the most expensive countries in the world. (Submitted during Week 11).
Back in class, I took a trip to the Jewish ghetto, which was very eye-opening. The Roman ghettos originated as far back as the 1500s and were abolished in the late 1800s. During World War Two, 2000 Roman Jews were sent to camps, and only 100 survived. What was especially insane about this trip was that we saw photos of the Jews being transported using a train station that I used to travel through frequently. It is chilling to think such tragedies happened here not even a century ago.
This week was spring break back at UD, so my friend Olivia came to visit. Olivia had just come to Rome over the summer, so this was less of a touristy visit. She wanted to be more immersed in what we do on a daily basis as study abroad students, so I brought her to some of my favorite spots, like the botanical gardens and Villa Borghese, a beautiful park that I love to read at.
Over the weekend, we were also able to visit Brussels and Amsterdam! Both cities were beautiful. They were both very vibrant and eccentric. I knew this of Amsterdam but was surprised to find out that Brussels had the same energy. The architecture was beautiful, and it was a weekend filled with french fries as they originated in Belgium! I felt very lucky to be able to travel with a friend from home, and show her the highs and lows of budget travel as a study abroad student (Submitted during Week 12).