Kelsey Woodworth has the travel bug and is working her way around the globe with various part-time jobs. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and an international minor from Auburn University. She loves books, coffee, live music, yoga, and the outdoors.
It’s late afternoon. The air is warm, but there is still a slight chill in the breeze as the sun falls deeper into the horizon. Golden light drenches the city’s marble, stone and stucco. Julius Caesar walked these same stone Roman roads you take today. The ruins of the forum stand, as they have for centuries, next to the Colosseum. Class wraps up and you wander to the nearest bar for an espresso (un cafè). This is studying in Rome, the eternal city where history lives along side of the present, and culture is tastefully dressed.
Rome (Roma) is one of the world’s most extraordinary cities because of its incomparable beauty, historical importance and unhurried lifestyle. It’s home to the world’s smallest country, Vatican City, and some of the most precious, fashionable, old men you’ll ever see.
Living and studying in Rome is nothing short of a dream, if you speak Italian that is. Before moving to the city, I would suggest you learn enough of the language to get around. Of course you will find your way if you don’t, but speaking Italian will make daily life simpler and more enjoyable. Learning the local language when you travel is crucial to understanding people and culture. Not as many Italians speak English as you would expect, so speaking their language will grant you a much warmer welcome.
Daily habits and customs are also important to assume when you move abroad. In Italy, this means food and drink reign supreme. Gelato is acceptable whenever and wherever you please. Breakfast? Sure. Midnight? Definitely. Breakfast in Italy is quick, light and served with espresso. Lunch is late (beginning 1-3 p.m.), long and heavy. Shops close for a few hours every afternoon and on Sundays. Plan accordingly. Dinner is late (beginning 7-9 p.m.), long and relaxed. On the weekends they may even stretch into the early hours of the morning. Courses are served with plenty of time to digest between.
• Antipasti – meats, cheese, olives
• Primi piatti – pasta, risotto, gnocchi
• Secondi piatti – meat, fish, poultry
• Dolci e digestive – dessert and digestives, like limoncello and grappa
Open container laws don’t apply much in Italy. So, if you prefer to sit in the square (piazza) with a beer at midnight instead of gelato, go ahead. Chances are you won’t be alone. Two of Rome’s most famous piazzas are Piazza Navona and Campo di Fiore. If you’re looking for youthful nightlife, you’ll find many students and backpackers in Campo di Fiore. The piazza is full of restaurants and bars. Piazza Navona is full of artists selling their work during the day and the Fountain of Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fuimi). It’s a beautiful fountain sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an architect, painter and sculptor. You’ll hear “Bernini” all over Rome. His work is in squares, museums, buildings, and Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. In my opinion, Rome wouldn’t be as beautiful without his prolific contributions.
Wander along the Tiber River. Gaze at the clouds from a blanket in Villa Borghese. Imagine what life was like living in the Medici Palace atop the Spanish Steps. Spend hours studying paintings and sculptures in their original form and location. Jump on the next train to Venice, Florence or Milan. Accept a ride on a Vespa from a handsome man or beautiful woman. Fall in love with Rome’s past. Fall in love with art. Fall in love with spaghetti. Fall in love with idyllic alleys and small shops. Fall in love with life in Rome. Fall in love with your present. Rome will be there to catch you. Find yourself. Wherever you dream of going, go. Pack up and ship out for at least one semester. Why study abroad? So that the world you’re living in isn’t just your own.