7 Reasons to Study Abroad in Rome
Why Rome is the Perfect Destination for Any College Tourist
Italy has definitely been one of my favorite countries to explore while living abroad, and so many of its traditions and cultural aspects vary from region to region. Rome, in particular, has so much to offer. From the Rome’s rich, historical culture to its central location, there are countless reasons why you’ll fall in love with studying abroad in the Eternal City.
The welcoming atmosphere
Living abroad for the first time can be an intimidating experience. When I arrived in Italy, I was incredibly surprised by how warm and welcoming people were in Rome. There was never a moment where I couldn’t ask a stranger for directions or find someone to practice my Italian with; and by the time I left the city, I had grown fond of so many local shopkeepers. In Rome, a simple “buongiorno” when walking into a new place will go a surprisingly long way in terms of making friends.
One aspect of the Italian culture that most people are aware of is food. After spending time in Rome, you’ll find out that there are regional dishes that you would not be able to find elsewhere. One of these dishes is Amatriciana, a pasta dish made with tomato, pecorino cheese, and guanciale, a cut of cured pork. One of my favorite Roman dishes was Cacio e Pepe, a simple and delicious pasta that is made with pecorino cheese and black pepper. Options like these are perfect for having dinner in a restaurant with classmates and friends.
Rome’s central location makes it the ideal starting point for weekend trips while studying abroad. Italy is known for its extensive train system, and from the city, you can easily buy a ticket to visit another part of the country. You and your friends could easily buy round-trip tickets to visit Venice for Carnivale over the weekend, and be back in time for class on Monday. The quiet and serene town of Assisi is only a two hour train ride away from Rome; and you can also visit the formal gardens of Villa d’Este for a quick day trip. You could also easily visit Florence and Naples without needing to book a flight.
Rome has an incredibly rich historical past, and while studying abroad, you’ll see parts of that history blended together with new commerce. After visiting some of the most well-known tourist attractions like the Coliseum and St. Peter’s Basilica, be sure to take time to explore some of the sites that are integral parts of city life. Villa Borghese, for example, is a beautiful manor with lush gardens. This stunning historical site sits right above Piazza del Popolo, an urban square where you can watch demonstrations and do shopping.
The nightlife in Rome is incredible. The same long, winding cobblestone roads you’ll explore during the day almost seem to come alive at night. You will most likely hear about the college bars near Campo de Fiori in Piazza Navona; but you’ll find the best nightlife once you begin to explore the neighborhoods Trastevere and Testaccio. Here you’ll find upscale bars, clubs, and dancing venues to hang out with friends and meet local students.
Rome is known for its gelato. This rich and decadent dessert is churned at a slower speed than ice cream, which makes its flavor more intense. You’ll quickly learn that there are several places that are famous for having the best gelato in Rome, and with a whole semester in the city you’ll have the chance to make that decision for yourself. While you explore the city, be sure to try to find the best tiramisu, as well.
Rome has something to offer everyone in terms of activities. From shopping in open-air markets and designer outlets, to attending festivals or fairs, there are so many opportunities for a college tourist to experience traditions and a different way of life. Spending a semester walking down those winding streets, experiencing the culture, and mingling with some of the most friendly people will make you grow incredibly fond of the Eternal City.