The GoGlobal Blog

Category: John Felice Rome Center

ONE WEEK LEFT

ONE WEEK LEFT

Next week is the last of my internship and honestly this came really fast. Everything after Spring Break tends to go super quick, though. To celebrate the end of my internship, I’m going to be going to Santorini, Greece next weekend and I’m so excited for it. Treat yourself, why not? My roommate and I are going together so hang out on the beach to destress from this semester. I know I need it.

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Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

Romantic Solo Trip to Venice, Italy

So, there I was, sitting in Rinaldo’s in my usual seat on the couch in the corner listening to my peers discuss travel plans for the upcoming weekend. I couldn’t join in because I had no plans so I decided I needed to go somewhere. I pulled out my computer and my credit card, searched “Rome to Venice” and booked a train ticket and a hostel for the weekend. Spontaneous and maybe even a little impulsive, I made the decision and didn’t need to discuss it with anyone. After I realized what I did, I thought, Oh my God I’m going to Venice, ALONE!! And there began the brewing of excitement tinted with unease in the pit of my stomach.

Here’s my “excited-to-travel-alone” selfie.

After a late night of cheering on the Men’s basketball team and celebrating their victory into the Sweet Sixteen, I woke up (a little hungover), packed, and made my way to the train station. I’m not an anxious person, but when it comes to traveling with a deadline, I’m always on the edge of panic but everything went smoothly and I made it on the fast train headed to Venice. With a grin on my face, I admired the hills and fields passing me by as I sped over 150 mph towards the City of Water. Four hours later, tired and hungry (the default state of being for a college student studying abroad), I arrived in Venice, immediately dropped my backpack off at my hostel, and went off to explore the narrow streets and winding canals.

Venice is a maze. Google Maps would tell me to walk down what appeared to be a dark, deserted alleyway but, when I would turn the corner, the street would be bustling with life. I thought I was walking in circles because I would pass Murano glass shops, mask shops, and pizzarias then I’d walk over a bridge and pass more glass, masks, and pizza. I happened upon Piazza San Marco, the only piazza in Venice, crowded with one half tourists and the other half pigeons. Children were chasing the pigeons, couples were dancing to live music emanating from the caffès lining the piazza, men were feeding the pigeons and trying to get tourists to pay to take pictures with the birds, and tourists were walking around with their selfie sticks, always looking up with their mouths agape. When you travel a lot, you start to notice the typical tourist giveaways.

At the East end of Piazza San Marco lies Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica. Unfortunately, I was unable to go inside but I did admire the facade, which was highlighted with gold mosaics and sparkled in the golden hour sunlight. The sun was approaching the horizon and I realized that now was my opportunity to see a Venetian sunset so I frantically walked around trying to find that perfect view that I’ve seen in photos but, unfortunately, I could not beat the sun. I started back towards my hostel, meanwhile glancing at all the menus posted along the way. A woman, whose job consisted of getting people into her ristorante, advised me about the perfect Venetian dishes to try for a seafood beginner (I’m not a fan of seafood but I wanted to be adventurous). I ate spaghetti alle vongole which was spaghetti with teeny, tiny clams in their shell and tomatoes with garlic sauce. Delizioso! Oh, can’t forget the glass of white house wine, one must drink wine in Italy.

I began my second day in Venice with a cappuccino and a trip to Murano, an island about a thirty-five-minute waterbus ride from my hostel. Murano is famous for its glass production which began in the 7th century. I went to the Glass Museum and saw some ancient glass and learned the history surrounding the main product of Venice. The glassblowing process is so fascinating, I wish I could’ve seen it in person! After leaving the museum, I walked along the canals and browsed through the shops lining the water. It took lots of deliberation but I found some beautiful souvenirs to bring back home for my friends and family.

Let’s talk about transportation in Venice. There are no roads, only canals, so you can either walk or travel by water. Waiting for the bus consisted of standing on a swaying platform next to a dock and hopping on a boat when it arrived. Venice did not feel like a real place because it is so different than any city I’ve ever seen. Florence has mopeds, Amsterdam has bikes, London has the Tube, Paris has the Metro, and Venice has waterbuses and gondolas.

Gondolas have set rates in Venice so one gondola for forty minutes is €80 and you can have a maximum of six people splitting that cost. As we know, I was traveling by myself and I could not afford an €80 private gondola ride on my romantic solo trip but I couldn’t go to Venice and not ride a gondola! I scoured the internet until I came across a deal on Viator.com for a walking tour plus thirty-five-minute gondola ride for $51. US DOLLARS! Lifelong dreams were coming true that day. It was time to meet up for the walking tour of Venice and my tour guide was a Venetian with a sarcastic, dark sense of humor and I enjoyed it. We toured an area with less tourists and saw a few of the one hundred and twenty-five churches of Venice. Venice sinks about 12 cm a century so now is a great time to invest in the housing market (credit for that joke goes to my tour guide, Marco). 

It was finally time for my gondola ride! I was put onto the boat with two couples and another solo rider and we embarked on our thirty-five-minute expedition around the winding Venetian canals. My gondolier did not sing or wear a fun hat like I saw other gondoliers wearing but he peacefully propelled us along. The best way to experience Venice is by water and I am so glad I was able to go on a gondola ride. It was peaceful and beautiful but over all too quickly.

After disembarking from the gondola, I wondered around a bit and happened upon Piazza San Marco, again. There are wooden walkways for when the city floods stacked all over the piazza so I went off towards the Doge’s Palace to sit on the walkways with the other tourists. I had a salami sandwich in my purse leftover from my sack lunch and I was starving so I thought it would be a good time to relax for a minute and eat. Plus, I was saving money because I did not need to buy another meal. I pulled out my sandwich, unwrapped the tinfoil around it, and took a bite but within thirty seconds of that first bite, a seagull swooped down and grabbed the sandwich from my hand. The seagull landed about fifteen feet in front of me and eight other seagulls were fighting that thief for my sandwich. I was completely shocked. Did a seagull really just take my sandwich? The other tourists around me also looked shocked and I started to laugh hysterically. I could not believe that just happened and I thought it was hilarious because it was such a stupid mistake to try and eat in a piazza FILLED with birds. If you go to Venice, please do not eat in the Piazza San Marco, learn from my mistake!

There I was in the piazza, hysterically laughing, alone, and without food so I wondered around until I found a take away pizza place. I had walked past it a couple of times during my earlier adventuring and there was a spinach and ricotta pizza that I had been eyeing. Of course, I got the pizza because it was only €3.50 and the slice was huge! I think my sandwich was meant to be taken from me so that I could enjoy that delicious pizza. It was waaaaay better than any pizza that I’ve eaten in Rome so far.

The sun was setting on my second day in Venice and I found myself at a dead-end with a perfect view of the sunset. It finally hit me that I was in Venice. Traveling is hectic and everything moves so fast that it’s possible to forget to take a breath and really appreciate the place you’re in. I felt the cool breeze on my face and I knew that if I touched the water, it would be cold. I’m not sure for how long I watched that scene but I did not walk away until the sun made its full decent beyond the horizon.

Venice is gorgeous, unique, and a little bit ridiculous and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to visit before it sinks. I’m kidding, that’s not going to happen for a while. Traveling to Venice felt unreal because it is so different than any city that I have ever seen. This small town will forever hold a place in my heart, even if it feels like just a dream.

 

What Do I Do Now?

What Do I Do Now?

Part of my midterm was giving feedback about my company. I’ve already written tons on how that’s going for me, but I also got back the review they gave on me. For the most part it’s going well, they enjoy that I work there and I contribute solid ideas. I noticed the areas that I scored lower in were communication and making sure I complete all requirements in a task when I have to get it done quickly. So, with that, I was trying to reflect on what I’ve done up until this point, and how to change it going forward because by the end I want to make sure that I made the most of it. During the beginning of the semester, there wasn’t much structure to my internship because things kept changing. For example, they wanted me to create a schedule and brainstorm idea of what and how I want to post to social media. Then I ran into the problem of the company not having enough content for me to post so I had to find my own. On sheet the company  filled out detailing my strengths and weaknesses they also listed my responsibilities as managing social media for The Roman Foodie (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). However, so many more responsibilities kept getting tacked on to that.

Now, I’ve worked on following growth for The Roman Guy, and The Paris Guy. I’ve added tripadvisor reviews to the Roman Guy website. I write the monthly blog posts for the Roman Guy. I’m writing a blog bost for The Roman Foodie. I create content for The Roman Foodie social media accounts which includes going out to take my own pictures, finding quotes to lay over it, and schedule it into MeetEdgar to post at specific times a day. I’ve done research for my supervisor to present on how to use Instagram to turn in a profit/make sales. So, especially in the beginning it was very overwhelming. In retrospec

t,  should have been straightforward about when the amount I had to do in a week was unrealistic because of time restraints, but going forward I feel more comfortable being honest about that. I used to me worried that it would look bad if I said there was something I couldn’t handle, but it’s far worse to have to do too much and turn in poor work or miss a requirement because of stress.

So, what am I going to do now? Definitely prioritize school and be more honest about what I need in work wether that be more time or less tasks. I’ve been keeping work and my life separate. It’s really annoying when I’m out with friends and I say, “Hold on I have to get to wifi so I can post this thing on Instagram for work.” So instead I’ve been taking pictures randomly throughout the day ahead of when I need to post something and create a caption at work so it doesn’t take up so much personal time. Since I decided to do this and keep work at work, my life has been so much more enjoyable and relaxed in Rome.

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I live in Rinaldo’s. I’ve officially set up shop and am not leaving until spring break starting today. I realize that I’m spending too much time focusing on creating content for work and brainstorming that I haven’t been studying enough. I’ve done research on different and effective ways to use instagram to make sales, while posting 3 times a week, I’m supposed to also be posting 2-3 stories a week,

finding new stories to write about like new restaurants, and the March Events Blog post is due next Monday. I completely bombed my finance test which probably shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. I need to be more focused and balanced in how I’m allocating my time. The rest of my midterms are next week so I’m basically not leaving JFRC until my grades are where I need them to be (or sleeping probably, but that’s college right?). Today I took the 990 Bus to Vatican City to take some pictures for my internship and send out postcards to my friends and family. It was 2,80 euros per stamp. The man who was working at the post office seemed was super rude. I handed him my debit card and he threw my postcards on the

desk and said, “No Card.” Alright, noted. I handed him cash, took my postcards and stamps, and left. It was probably because I spoke English to be honest. On my way back to the bus I stopped at a McCafe. I wish McDonalds had them in the united states like they do here. They have cheesecake, muffins, cornetto, colorful doughnuts, and it’s awesome. I got some decent pictures for the Roman Foodie instagram. I ended up buying a creamolosa al caffee. Its pistachio fudge topped with espresso and vanilla soft serve. I had no idea what I was getting but I figure I should try a new thing every day if I can. My life has been changed. With such easy access

to sweets, I’ve come to the realization that I need to do something to keep me healthy. So, for the past month or so I’ve gone to the gym 5-6 times a week depending how my body feels. I’m finally starting to see the benefit of all the work I’ve put in and I’m really happy about. So, the goal for next week is to sort my life out, but its really hard to say the least.

 

Studying Abroad and Adjusting to Work Life

Studying Abroad and Adjusting to Work Life

This week went much smoother. I no longer have a fever and I’ve got a better grasp on how to do my job. I enjoy being in the office. Weekends I’ve decided to prep photos for the week. It’s vital for me to prep my Wednesday Instagram post ahead of time because my posts are meant to go out at 6:00pm every. Since I tutor 5:30pm to 6:30pm I found myself rushing to create a post after homework and in between tutoring this week. The post was subpar, but I’m working on it.

 

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday If I’m out getting a cappuccino, at a market, or even passing a restau
rant, I need to take pictures of what I see and document where I saw it. Mondays and Thursdays are days where while I’m in the office I create. This could be anything from putting quotes on pictures I’ve taken over the weekend, to creating posts to schedule into MeetEdgar. These days are a little tricky because the shifts are so short. Monday I’m in the office for three hours while Thursday I work two. Friday shifts are five hours, so I have plenty of time to research marketing tactics to try to gain a bigger following. For social media, it’s really important to constantly be following people to get the company’s name out there.

To make more time in the office for other tasks, I’ve decided to check social media throughout my day. For instance, if I’m eating lunch at Mensa I could also be following people, liking photos, commenting on posts, or brainstorming post ideas. It’s tough but I can do it. Saturdays need to be spent studying or I’ll never pass. I think I’ve got a better feel for my schedules as time goes along. In retrospect, I’m happy I didn’t schedule weekend trips every weekend like the rest of the JFRC students. I don’t know how I’d be able to manage constant travel and my responsibilities in Rome. Things are looking up! Only two more weeks until Spring Break and I’m ready. I’ve already got flights booked to London, then I’m taking the train to Paris. While

in Paris I’m taking photos for The Romans Guy’s other branch, The Paris Guy. This week I was given the responsibility of growing followers in The Paris Guy’s instagram as in addition to my other responsibilities. I think the photo aspect with be fun and I’m super excited to get creative with it.

During my time posting for The Roman Foodie, I’ve grown to appreciate how much time goes into marketing for food. It could be the best food on the planet, but if it doesn’t look good, no one wants to try it. The key to being good at marketing is to make everything look as good as possible. The food looks good, the company looks good, I look good.

That Italian Life!!!

That Italian Life!!!

Its been three weeks as of today living in Italy. Its taken so much adjusting its crazy. I don’t think I’ve truly felt like I live in Italy until today.

I got a job.

Two actually.

Monday I started interning at The Roman Guy in their Marketing and Social Media department. I was so nervous the first day I thought I might die. I didn’t. I had a bit of trouble getting there because the office is located in a part of Travestere Rome that I’ve never explored before. When I got there my boss showed me to my desk where the team had laid out a map of the best places in Rome to go for food, drinks, and fun, three bracelets along with a bag with their logo written on it. She offered me some water and espresso and showed me my schedule for the first week. It was all very pleasant and laid back as long as I get my work done of course. I think I was more so astounded that I’m allowed to listen to music on the job and given a proper work space. My job is essentially to boost internet traffic through their social

media sites by 20% by April. I don’t anticipate that being incredibly difficult since their sites are ideal for finding amazing spots all around Rome. The whole process of dressing business casual, taking the metro, drinking espresso, and working for a Rome based company makes me feel more local than a tourist the longer I’m here. Every Thursday, everyone in the office does Thirsty Thursday and has a glass of wine together to boost morale. It really takes the pressure off working throughout the week. My main task as of now is to create my own schedule to produce content to post in Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout the week. I’m loving the creative freedom and the opportunity to produce unique content to help the company grow.

 

Today, after attending the Papal Audience,my group of friends and I headed to HomeBaked (Via Fratelli Bonnet, 21, 00152 Roma RM) for the second time in two weeks. Its easily becoming my home away from home. Its the only place I’ve found that has coffee I

could cry tears of pure joy. The owner’s name is Jesse and knows me by name now. He’s from Buffalo, Ne

w York. He studied abroad here as an International Studies major and just never left. Its been 15 years. The most important part of living in Rome and adapting to this new lifestyle is getting into the community and forming meaningful relationships with the people you meet. I know that sounds cliche but its true and its the best part of living here. I want to bring Jesse back a Loyola flag to put on the wall with the rest of his university collection from people who’ve visited and loved it there.

After, I began tutoring two Italian children in English. Pier is 7 and Niccolo is 5. Its only an hour and I learn 20 Euro for the hour I’m tutoring. I read them books, play games in english to build their vocabulary, and get them used to hearing English from a native speaker. Its tricky because they’re different ages and have different language competencies. I really enjoy it though. Getting into the community and helping out also makes feel like I’m part of it. Whoever is reading this, if you get the opportunity to tutor, take it.

 

I’m worried I won’t want to go back home by April.

 

The Little Things

The Little Things

The little things seem insignificant yet define our everyday. Like the way the bus jolts or the cold humidity, which I’ve never experienced as a Chicagoian. Or enjoying my choice of three different flavors of gelato in one cone (flavor number one is always cioccolato). That moment of realization that I’m lost, but completely content. Dreading the uphill walk to get to class and making friends with the neighborhood cats. The warm feeling of sunshine coupled with the smell of espresso and fresh air. Awe at the grandeur of Roman art and architecture while weaving through the Saturday afternoon crowds congesting the small cobblestone streets in the city center. The feeling of accomplishment when I successfully navigate home from an adventure.

These are a few of the things that define my first three weeks in Rome, Italy at the John Felice Rome Center. These moments are mine and no one else’s. Before leaving Chicago to come to Rome, I wanted advice from anyone and everyone about being abroad but I’ve come to realize that everyone’s experience is unique. Moving to a new city has exposed me to the little things that I’ve become desensitized to in Chicago. I want to remember all the little things from every place I visit over the next three months, especially the gelato. This weekend I’ll be exploring Florence, Italy, stay tuned for updates of my adventures!

 

 

 

From Roma, with Love:

From Roma, with Love:

Finally.

I have made it to Rome.

And it’s pretty spectacular.

Actually, I have been in Rome for about two weeks already. I should say: finally, i’ve made it to this blog post, which has been open for the past week. Classic, procrastinating Joe. It’s okay, i’m on Roman time. I’ll be better in the future, pinky swear.

Once again, i’m very late! Apologies to all my fans…

Thank you, thank you.

It’s absolutely grand to have you all here. As Dr. Beazley, our beloved Dean of Academic Affairs would say: “I’m overwhelmed by your enthusiasm.”

Anyhow, i’ve looked forward to writing these posts for a long time, and i’m thrilled to be able to share my adventures with all of you. Before I actually get down to the topic of my Roman holiday, I believe that relatively brief, one-sided introductions are in order:

My name is Joseph Ignatius De Larauze, known to most as Joe, to many as French Joe, and to a select few as French. As stated by my sobriquet, I am French and American by birth. I was born in the lovely town of Evanston, Illinois, in the distant year of 1997. After 8 years living in the vicinity of beautiful Chicago, my family moved to France, in a town west of Paris. Culture shock, patriotism, and a strong dislike for the French (inevitable for one who has to live with them for the first time), ensued. But never fear, I lived a very eventful and incredibly awkward decade of my life in that beautiful country. I was schooled in the Lycée International, which still has a very special place in my heart today, even though it was no piece of cake. After High School, and after the International Baccalaureate, I said au revoir to my parents and two sisters, Nathalie and Maggie, and made the hop across the pond, back to Chi-town. I have been studying at Loyola University Chicago for the past two years, and am currently studying abroad at the John Felice Rome Center, which is the reason for our encounter today. I read with an all-consuming passion, which has influenced my majoring in English, and aspire to write and set people’s hearts on fire with my stories, as mine has been by theirs. I am also an Economics major, though i’m still trying to find my way with that one. I am a (very) part-time musician, love to listen to music, play it, and occasionally compose it. I love good food, good company, and hugs. I am Roman Catholic by birth and practice my faith intentionally, though imperfectly. There you have it. I hope that this introduction will suffice to help you get to know me, if you do not already.

So, about five paragraphs in, let me lead you through my journey, as it has been since my arrival in the Città Eterna. I did warn you I would be relatively brief, remember? I will accompany my narrative with a few pictures, but would rather let my words take you to where I am, and have been. On that note, let’s begin. Wherever you are, sit back, relax, get some coffee, and enjoy.

The Eternal City carries her name well. There is a kind of agelessness to her that is palpable, walking her streets, speaking to her people, admiring her splendor. Before my arrival here, I had believed Rome to be luxurious, like a crown perched upon a hill. I thought she would be ornate and sparkling, like the Eiffel Tower at night. I likened her to Paris, my point of reference as European cities go, and the real city of Love, thank you very much.

Now, I have arrived. Half-walking, half-tripping along the cobblestoned streets, I make my way through crowds of tourists, who snap pictures right and left. I try my best to escape the noise. I pass countless gelaterie, restaurants and street-vendors brandishing their wares like trophies. Rome is a tourist attraction. Yet, exploring the city, the edifices built hundreds and thousands of years ago, Rome beckons to me in a secretive manner. I am privy to something greater.

I walk the Forum, where countless musicians, philosophers, and various speakers once stood. I enter the Colosseum, and cheer on with tens of thousands of others as men fight men fight beasts. Bread and games. I don’t know about you, Russell, but i’m entertained. In the Campidoglio, rank upon rank of soldiers stand stock-still, eyes front, back strait, pilum held high. They await orders to conquer the world. I see the street-merchants, selling pottery and food and jewels, yelling over each other to attract customers.

Rome is history. All the years that have passed are still here, buried beneath my feet. Strolling through the city with my friends, I am awed by the ancient majesty of this place, eternal in her grandeur.

” Trois mecs”

Rome is a dream that I have lived every day since my arrival.

I miss Chicago. I miss my friends (you know who you are). But I am thrilled to be in this marvelous place, and I like to think that when you read of my journey, you are all here with me. There is still much more for me to share with you, so I don’t doubt that our paths will cross again.

Until then, I wish you all the best.

From Roma, with Love:

Joe I. De Larauze

And so the adventures have begun…

And so the adventures have begun…

Ciao amici from Roma, Italia,

I’ve been in Italy for about a month now and honestly, I like it more now than when I first arrived. I think I came with so many expectations of how Italy would be that I forgot to stop and think about what it could be. To experience Italy myself instead of pictures I saw on Instagram. In some sense it took away that aesthetic appeal that allows you to feel ‘awe’. 

After a three hour delay, I arrived in Rome where my aunt and uncle came to pick me up and we went to Padova. I stayed in Padova for the first two weeks of my trip, traveling to various near by cities.

The day after I arrived, we took a train to Venice.

First impressions of Venice: it’s so hot and crowded.

I don’t think I’d ever go back though. The buildings are beautiful and Venice itself is, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t feel impressed or that something different was there. If you plan on going to Venice in the near future, I suggest you go around or after 6 pm, that way you get to see the city during the day, but also during the night. Plus, it won’t be a scorching 92 degrees!! Also, a lot of people that I know that have taken a gondola ride, have said it’s amazing. But for me, I thought I was gonna drown the entire time because the boat was literally tipping to one side. And the water smelled really salty, not sure if this is recent, but it gave me a headache. But, I’m sure your experience will probably be better than mine.

Palazzo Giardino Giusti

Next, I went to Verona on the evening of my fourth day in Italy. We first went to Palazzo Giardino Giusti, basically there is a traditional renaissance garden with lots of statues. I highly recommend wandering around the gardens, there is quite a view at the top. Next, we went to Casa di Giulietta (the most awaited). It was very crowded, but definitely reminded me of the scene from ‘Letters to Juliet’. When I turned into the corner to her house, both sides of the walls were filled with letters, bandaids, big black heart outlines, and a statue of Giulietta (in bronze which is considered to be lucky) at the end of the entrance.

A few days later, we went to Switzerland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell that I was excited for this?) I had always wanted to go to Switzerland  and I was so happy that we were able to make this happen before school started, however, I would want to go back to spend more than a day there. In the time that I spent in Switzerland, we went Berne, Lake Brienz, Lucerne, and Interlaken. There’s so much to see and the VIEWS are absolutely breathtaking. It’s so beautiful!!

Lucerne
Interlaken
Lake Brienz
Giessbach Falls

***Lowkey wish that I studied abroad here (not that I don’t like Rome)***

My two favorite places in Switzerland were Interlaken and Lake Brienz because I felt it was something different from what you normally would see and feel. There was just a pure sense of serenity. We wondered off a little from Lake Brienz and found this magnificent waterfall that was hidden. Its called Giessbach Falls in Obwalden, it’s literally ten minutes from Lake Brienz (sorry I can’t upload the video:/ ). But, the view will not disappoint after you’ve hiked a little. Lucerne was nice too, but it’s just more of a city.

I can’t wait to go back someday! I’ve left a piece of my heart in Switzerland, for sure!

Came back to Italy for a quick trip before school started, but there wasn’t much to see in Pisa or Florence. Sort of wish I had more time to explore the town.

In Pisa, we saw the Torre di Pisa and the surrounding buildings. The architecture was beautiful, however, I wasn’t a big fan since I live near a replica of the tower anyways (I see it almost everyday, LOL). But it was interesting to see the real thing in person. I found out that the tower was built on soft grounds (because it’s between two rivers) and the first level started leaning right after it was built. It took a 100 years, before the construction of the tower started again. Even then the tower leaned at 0.4 degrees. Right now, the tower leans at about 5 degrees and they believe that it should be stable for another 200 years, hopefully.

 

In Florence there are a lot of churches, and each of them has something unique about them. The outside of Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiore was fascinating with the different colors that were used, but also the detailing. By the time we got to Duomo the tickets were sold out for the day, so plan ahead. We decided to look around before we went to Piazzale Michelangelo, where there was a breathtaking view of the city.

During the orientation days after we started school, we had the opportunity to tour the Colosseo and Foro Romano. This was the first time that I got to see Rome since I’ve been in Italy. We walked around the coliseum and then went to see the inside. Afterwards, I walked through the forum and at the top there was an awesome view that overlooked the ruins, but also the coliseum on the other side.

Just a few tips when traveling:

  1. You don’t always have to go to the major tourist attractions. I think the main thing I liked about going to the places I did, was that I tried to find a few hidden gems that normally tourists would miss. It’s because they are too focused on things they want to post on social media to show back home. I am guilty of this, it’s very hard! But there is so much to see and enjoy. So unplug(, if you can)!
  2. It’s okay to wander without having a set plan. It’s a great way to learn how to find your way throughout the city, learn to talk to locals and maybe even learn to use transportation. You also find places that you’d never see if you just went from point A to point B. After all, it is about the experience. Mind as well immerse yourselves into the culture.
  3. You don’t have to leave Italy!!! There is already so much to see and experience in Rome. And since you’ll be staying in Rome for three and half months, I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to get to know Rome.

Arrivederci alla prossima,

n.p.