Making Rome feel like Home

Submitted by Paige Sullivan on the 2023 spring semester program in Rome, Italy…

After spring break, it was a bit difficult to get myself back into a routine, especially because the school that I am currently studying at holds midterms the week after spring break. This meant that, once again, I spent most of my week in the library! Luckily my midterms were in the form of papers and assignments more so than actual exams, so I was able to pace myself. Being abroad and living in a city as wonderful as Rome, it is definitely difficult to remain in a routine and do homework instead of exploring the beautiful city, but also important to remind yourself while you are here. 

Giving my family a tour of Rome

This weekend, I actually had two back-to-back field trips for my art history class, but I was very excited about them! On Friday, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Pompeii. I have learned about Pompeii and been fascinated by it since I was a child, so it was so awesome to be able to visit it, and for a school trip nonetheless. Upon arrival, we were told that Mt. Vesuvius could erupt at any moment, but with new technologies and transportation systems, it would never be catastrophic the way it once was. It really was fascinating to see how well the ruins were preserved and learn about such rich history.

The following day, we had a field trip to Ostia Antica, which is a village that once existed but was preserved by mud. It was a truly beautiful sight and was very cool to imagine what a quaint Roman village it once was. The most interesting part was the bathhouses– they were so cool! It was awesome to stay in Italy for the weekend and learn so much about the history of the area I am living in! (Submitted during Week 9). 

This week was definitely the best yet because my family and my best friend visited! They traveled all the way from New Jersey to come see me. It was great timing for their visit, as I am a little over halfway through being abroad, and the homesickness was getting intense. Their time was limited, so I had to show them all around Rome as efficiently as possible while also going to class and staying on top of schoolwork. I would say that I did a pretty good job at tour guiding. I knew my way around Rome with no assistance, which was a very rewarding feeling.

Introducing my best friend to Rome’s food scene

Within one short week, we were able to see Campo di Fiori market, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican City, the Colosseum, Capitoline Hill, and Palatine Hill. It worked out great because my family was able to visit Pompeii and Naples while I was in class. Then, we took a trip altogether to Florence over the weekend, where we saw David by Michelangelo and went to so many cool markets and shops.

The best part of their visit, however, might have been the awesome food we ate. Although I do live here, I can’t eat out constantly, or else I would go broke. Luckily, you can’t come to Rome and not indulge! That would simply be doing it wrong. I had the most delicious cacio e pepe, truffle pasta, mushroom risotto, and so much more. We also ate lots of fried and steamed artichokes, which is a very traditional Italian appetizer. I personally prefer the fried artichokes, which is a Jewish style! It was the best week ever. It was also my family’s first time in Italy, and our first time ever in Europe together. I’m so grateful to have had this time with them (Submitted during Week 10).