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My Experience Studying Abroad and How it Changed My Life

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy. This was the best impulsive decision I have ever made. I never pictured myself as the traveling type, as I was always so nervous and had never been outside of the United States. I had my reservations about not being close to home like how I am at school. I was also unsure of how I would adapt to being so independent in a foreign country. However, all of my fears about studying abroad changed in February when I saw an email about an amazing summer program in Rome.

I saw the email and opened up the application on a whim. I immediately completed it because I decided that it was time to do something new. The summer study abroad program was only five weeks, so I thought it would be perfect! At the time, I thought it was short, and I was glad I would not have to be away from home for too long. However, I ended up wishing the program was longer!

The summer study abroad experience totally exceeded my expectations, and I could not believe how lucky I was to call Rome home for five weeks. I got to live in an apartment in the Travastere area with eight other girls from different colleges across the U.S. It was such a great opportunity to meet people outside of my college. I was lucky enough to become very close with one of my flatmates who goes to school in Missouri, and she and I practically ate our way through Rome in gelato.

The campus was about a 15-20 minute walk from the flat I was staying at, and I looked forward to walking the streets of Travastere every morning. On my way to class, I would stop at coffee shops and get espresso and pastries which started my days off in a fantastic way. The classes I took were about Renaissance art and Italian cuisine, so I truly immersed myself in the country’s culture which really heightened my experience.

On the weekends, I would explore the coast of Italy. I went on several hiking trips with an organized group. I went to Capri, Sapri, Amalfi, Positano and Salerno. Everything I saw was so beautiful, and I was happy I did these trips. I did a lot of hiking on various trails and mountains during my excursions. I even did the famous “Walk of The Gods” which had breathtaking views. This hike was about 4 hours long and started in Bomerano and ended in Nocelle, in the territory of Positano.

In between classes, I would explore different attractions within Rome. I ventured into Vatican City and saw the gorgeous Sistine ceiling. I saw so many churches with intricate art and details, and I even made a wish at the Trevi Fountain. My apartment was in a great location in Rome, so everything I wanted to see was only about a 30-minute walk away.

At times, I did miss home and even got a little tired of pizza and pasta even though it was incredible! However, I was so grateful to be there and experience what I did. I look back on my time there and wish I could have spent more time in Rome, but I know one day I will be back. I was able to see so much history, art, and culture throughout Italy, and it was all so amazing.

If you are on the fence about studying abroad, I am telling you to just go and do it! This was an amazing experience you will cherish forever.

Heather is a sophomore at Rutgers University majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a specialization in Global Media, and minoring in Business and Technical Writing. Besides writing, she enjoys binging true crime documentaries, baking cookies, listening to Blink 182, and walking along scenic trails. IG: @heathersuraci