The Study Abroad Series: What I Miss About UMass

When I came to Rome for study abroad, I didn’t really expect to miss home. Sure, I knew I’d miss my family and friends, but I thought that the lustrous Italian culture would be so cool that I wouldn’t even think about the U.S. To my surprise, I was wrong. Not only do I miss certain things about the States, but I miss UMass even more! And I don’t mean that it just in the sense that I get FOMO when I see friends posting Snapchats at parties or hanging out (although I do get the occasional FOMO). There’s so much about UMass that I miss, so here are my top four things:

Social Scene

While we’re on the subject of FOMO, I do have to say that I miss UMass’s social scene a lot. Frat parties are the last thing I expected to miss, but there’s just something about them that feels homey compared to the bars and clubs here. Don’t get me wrong, nightlife in Rome is so much fun, but the city and its inhabitants can definitely get a little sketchy at night. At least at a UMass frat party I know that pretty much everyone in attendance is a UMass student and probably isn’t out to get me. It’s even better having friends in the frats because I feel more connected and at home. Plus, when I’m ready to leave, the dorms are only a short walk away. Now that the weather is getting warm, I’m also missing tailgates. What’s more fun than gathering with hundreds of other UMass students on a beautiful day to cheer on our amazing football team? But in all seriousness, take advantage of the social scene while you can.

Community

Speaking of students, I also miss the UMass community as a whole. At school, it’s really easy to meet new people, and everyone is super friendly. At least for me, there’s always a sense of comfort and belonging at UMass, and I feel at home being there. No matter how much I love Rome, I’ll never have the same sense of community here that I do at UMass. Even though UMass is huge – especially compared to my school here in Rome – I always feel that I have a place there. It’s definitely something I took for granted before coming abroad.

Berk

Don’t get me wrong, Italian food is amazing, but I really, really miss Berk (and UMass food in general). I think about stir fry on an almost daily basis, dream about the Saturday morning pancake bar, and don’t even get me started on late night. Making my own midnight snacks just does not compare to Berk’s soft serve, perfectly greasy pizza, and constantly changing variety of late night options. There’s no dining hall or meal plan option here, so I’m forced to fend for myself when it comes to eating. And I’m not the best cook, so living on frozen foods and pasta is definitely a step down from #1 dining.

The Campus

Going from a school of 20,00 students to one of 50 is quite the transition. You can actually read about it here! Although it has its advantages, the lack of a campus is definitely a disadvantage. The school itself takes up one floor of an apartment building, meaning the campus is virtually nonexistent. It makes me miss UMass’s huge campus and infinite range of places to hang out or study. There are so many spots, both indoors and out, to rest or get some work done. I especially miss the library, with its endless array of floor options. The tiny, one-room library at my school in Rome could never compare to good ole’ Club Dub.

Rome has been amazing, and while I’m not ready to come home quite yet, it does make me appreciate the U.S. and UMass a lot more. I’m so excited to be back for my senior year this fall!

Images courtesy of author.

Maria is a junior studying psychology and English at UMass Amherst. She has a passion for traveling, animals, and 80s movies, and her hair color is always changing.
Find her on Instagram: @m.ria

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