The GoGlobal Blog

Author: Gabriella Gardziola

Hi! My name is Gabbie Gardziola. I’m a senior at Loyola Chicago. I’m double majoring in history and international studies while getting a minor in sociolegal studies as well. I came to Rome because I’ve been to Europe before and really enjoyed it. My family is also from Italy and Poland so I figured I could visit. I also just really like traveling and seeing new cultures.
On-Sites and Sightseeing

On-Sites and Sightseeing

On-site classes are a hack to seeing Rome even when you may not have the time to go on your own.

To start, I’m taking six classes this semester. A full schedule. I would not recommend because you don’t really get a ton of time to venture about the city and balance work and maintain balance. I’ve been taking full schedules since I was a freshman, so I’m used to it.

One of my classes, an ENGL class about writing fiction in Rome, is a class where we travel quite frequently and get to see so much while getting tips about the city from the professor who lives in a nearby neighborhood. Within the first few weeks of classes, we’d gone to the Teatro di Marcello, the Jewish ghetto, the Roman forum, countless churches, and to a keyhole that became a monument if and of itself.

This isn’t the only class I have that takes on-site trips. One of my HIST classes takes trip out, too. We’ve visited the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the tomb of the unknown soldier built into it, and the Olympic Stadium just a forty-five minute walk from campus.

The point of these classes, however, is not just to see these places but to really teach you their history and importance. It doesn’t hurt that the teachers have lived here for years and know where to get the best granita (shaved ice with espresso poured into it and whipped cream on top), and the fun fact that twelve COUPLES ate in the belly of the Victor Emmanuel horse before it was showcased, and that there’s a pretty stellar gelato place across the bridge and over a street from the stadium.

Small City Ventures: Assisi and Bari

Small City Ventures: Assisi and Bari

We started travelling this semester inside the country. I had been to Assisi previously before and so had my roommate, and we loved it and were excited to have the chance to head there again. Only a two hour train ride makes it super easy to get to.

Of course, the legendary Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi is there, looming over the path leading from the parking lot where the bus from the station to the city stopped. Near-white and standing tall above us, it looked familiar because so many of the churches in Rome had white-stone themes, but this one was more angular and square. Sadly, inside there was no picture taking allowed but it was stunning, every wall and even the ceiling filled with paintings and decor. We went downstairs to see the tomb, where there were also no pictures allowed. It had an eerie feel because it was so dark and dim, a few candles lighting. There were pews and kneelers in the cramped space for people to sit/kneel to pray or just take a break.

Once out of the church, the sun beat down on us but there was plenty of shade in the narrow streets. Shops, bakeries, hidden pathways, even a museum lined the winding streets. There were shops for so many things: souvenirs, jewelry, religious items, clothes, leather bags, baked food, even wooden kitchen utensils.

Soon enough, we found ourselves climbing even higher on the eternal hill Assisi is situated on and discovered an old, old church nestled into one of the side streets. We knew it was so old because of the uniformity of building materials, lack of decoration, and small size. Scoping out these stores was what most of our day consisted of.

Until I found a hiking trail.

I found a hiking trail, to where, I didn’t know at the time. But I started up it, in a skirt that went past my knees and a thin tee shirt, and my friends followed me also in nice clothes. It took maybe a little over an hour and a half but we made it to the top where we found a fortress, and a spectacular view for miles.

After a long tiring day at Assisi, we took the train back and relaxed for the weekend, until the next. The next weekend we had a flight and full weekend in Bari.

We got to Bari relatively early in the day and couldn’t check into our airbnb so we explored the city with our backpacks. The center looked like the center of a smaller city in the US, shops on all sides, restaurants too, side streets leading to more of both. The big difference was the government looking building in the middle that had a bunch of high school looking kids with signs. Confused, we tried to read a few, only slightly successful, but we figured out they were for a climate change protest, which was super cool. Soon enough, we found ourselves by the water and relaxed after traveling and walking.

area by the water with benches

My roommate had brought a baby present for her cousin who still lived in Bari with his family. He was so nice and showed us one of his favorite places to eat, which was insanely good (Bari seafood, guys, I’m telling you). We turned in a little early to prepare for the next day when we’d take a train and her cousin would show us around.

Bari is beautiful. I forgot to mention earlier, but it is a wonderful sight, especially if you love saltwater. My roommate’s cousin took us to a popular stoney beach where there were plenty of people, but also plenty of water that was basically see through. I immediately got into the water. I love the ocean, sea, any and all salt water I can get near. And we enjoyed ourselves, swimming, joking around, eating focaccia. The area nearby was filled with white buildings and a park from way back when.

After a few hours, we headed back to the car and went to another beach, much more sandy and less filled with people, in fact you had to pull into the parking lot of an abbey and walk a bit to the area people were. I think there were only thirteen across the whole area. The water was just as pretty here and there was a cave I swam to where residents at the abbey would use to bathe. And there was a hole in the rocks, a hole next to the cave and higher up where you could jump and swim out of it. It took about five minutes, but I jumped into the hole, which was crazy. The beach day was filled with fun, laughs, and plenty of pictures.

Our weekend at Bari was coming to a close with an early flight the next day, but my roommate and our friend weren’t ready to stay in our Airbnb when the city was still alive. We walked around the main center, talking, and we found a bar stand. I say bar stand because it was a bar but there wasn’t anywhere to sit and you had to walk the streets, which we did.

Assisi and Bari were both beautiful cities and a nice expansion of our Italian trips. The next weekend though, would be Vienna, the first out of country trip we’d go on. 

The Day That Lasted Forever

The Day That Lasted Forever

It may have been two. They blurred.

The day of the flight was bittersweet.

Last sunrise of my Chicago summer

I had built up all this excitement over the summer about leaving and going abroad and it was great. But that day I hung out with some of my friends for the last time until I didn’t know when because they graduated, and I had to say sad goodbyes to my roommates.

It was a normal Friday for the most part- I ran, I stretched and did some yoga because I didn’t have to hurry to my internship, and I had a really chill breakfast accompanied with my slew of podcasts. I finished packing all the last minute things I needed to and relaxed.
I had to take an Uber because I didn’t want to try and take the L with a checked bag, a backpack, and a wheeled carry-on. Imagine that.

The flight went how every safe, regular flight went. I never understand when people ask how my flight was. I slept, I read, I wrote a bit, I watched the movies on the plane. We landed in Germany then took off to Rome an hour or two later.

When we landed in Rome, the students were gathered and transported via bus to campus. Many people slept. And once we got there, everyone startled awake and bustled through check-in and throwing your bags into the rooms and quickly cleaning up before having to go to a meeting.

The rest of the first few days were really just full of meetings and told where to go, which in hindsight makes sense and I’m grateful they did that because it forced us to get used to the time difference. But at the time, it was tiring and people were less than willing to do much of anything we were told to do.

Related image

It was a full week of going to meetings and following orientation leaders and sitting while people talked and informed us about stuff on campus.
It was hectic but it was good to get so much out of the way, to learn about the new campus as opposed to the campus I had become very familiar and comfortable with the one in Chicago after three years.

We went to so many places within the first weeks : the Spanish steps, the Vatican, a mass in a beautiful church (the church of St. Ignatius of Loyola) and a lengthy dinner to follow after, and different small towns with each group. My group went to Bolsena. It is an absolutely lovely lake town where the water crashes just slightly and there are plenty of streets to get lost wandering. The orientation groups broke off again to explore different parts of the city on another day. Mine went to the Borghese gardens right by the Spanish steps and it was stunning and filled with green, and the views were amazing.

It was after a “casual” outing my friends and I took on a free day for me to realize, Oh my gosh, I’m in Rome. I’m across the world from where I’ve been for my entire life.

And I couldn’t wait for more.

Better Late Than Never: My Intro

Better Late Than Never: My Intro

Hello hello hello!!

I’m Gabbie Gardziola (Guard-zee-ola) and I’m blogging while I’m studying in Rome!! As you can read in the title, this post is going to be a quick intro before I start to catch up on the weeks I’ve been here.
I’m a senior at Loyola University Chicago and I’m a history/global international studies double major with a focus in social justice and a sociolegal minor. I’ve worked part time at the Wolf’s Kettle when on campus since November 2018. It’s a lot, I know. Yes, I’ve been very busy during my college career. Yes, I can somehow manage all of it and remain sane. 

this is me. hello 🙂

When I said that I was planning on studying abroad this semester, people always asked why but made the connection themselves that I was an international studies major, of course I would study abroad if I got the chance (and I’ve been so lucky to get the chance). But I want to elaborate.
My family is half Italian and half Polish, a common mixture in Chicago, but my grandparents and parents were very much raised in immigrant-American households. My mom’s grandparents didn’t want the kids to learn Italian so they could talk about the kids without them knowing. My Polish grandmother didn’t want my dad and his siblings to learn Polish because she didn’t know it. Long story short, I don’t much about my family history besides the general areas we are from. And I wanted to learn.

As you could probably guess, this is my family, I haven’t been able to see them all at once since Christmas and have seen them for only a few days since.

On top of my family history, I’ve traveled a lot in the past and I wanted to continue. I had the chance to travel to different countries because of the sport I did and organizations I was a part of. I got to go to Mexico, twice, and Bolivia, once, through tournaments and camps for tae kwon do. I got to go to Italy, France, and Greece through People to People Ambassadors. I went to US Open for tae kwon do several times, some to compete and some to not, and seen the variety of cultures under one roof. I’ve been super fortunate to do these things, and if I was able to do it again, I desperately wanted to.

In Europe, many of the countries are close to each other, similar in size to US states, some even smaller. For backstory, I lived in Greenville, South Carolina from fifth grade until I left for school. For example, a drive from Greenville to school in Chicago took twelve hours, the drive from Lecce, Italy (in the heel of the boot) to Switzerland (the nearest Northwest country) takes twelve hours and forty-five minutes. That’s insane to me. When a flight from South Carolina to Chicago takes two hours, and a flight from Rome to Vienna takes a little under that. I love travel and new cultures and now I have a much quicker way to do/experience both.

So here’s the beginning of me telling you how this semester goes while travelling and keeping on top of school. Let’s go!!