The GoGlobal Blog

Ciao Roma!

Ciao Roma!


I MADE IT! I have been waiting for this moment for what seems like an eternity. I was notified of my acceptance to the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC) back in July and have been counting down the days until my arrival ever since.

Traveling here took about 16 hours, but it was worth every sub-par airplane meal. My initial thoughts of my new surroundings went something like this: watch out for taxi scammers, graffiti is everywhere, culture shock is real, jet-lag is REALLY real, there is no direct way to get anywhere and traffic laws might as well be non-existent.

Our campus and dorms are nothing like the modern Lakeshore and Water Tower Campuses that we Loyola students are used to, but I have come to appreciate the Italian charm that the JFRC provides. The dorm room I was assigned is a bit smaller than other dorm rooms on lower floors, but it does have a little screened in balcony overlooking our beautiful courtyard. Few dorm rooms are able to get WiFi, but the forced detachment from my phone has been one of the best things for me. It has gotten my classmates and me out into this incredible neighborhood and country that surrounds us.

I tasted my first Italian gelato on night one and it was sooo good. My friends and myself got a bit lost attempting to navigate the streets, but this is such a great place to get lost in. We attempt to speak the little Italian we know with the locals. It usually results in a chuckle from them as we stumble our way through piecing together a simple sentence, but they seem to appreciate it. Italians are truly some of the kindest people I know.

Orientation hasn’t been the most fun when you’re still getting over some serious jet-lag, but the faculty and Student Life Assistants (SLAs) try and keep things as interesting and exciting as possible. The energy put forth by our staff is truly contagious. They make me so excited for every adventure and memory that is to come over these next few months.

A group of us attempted to work public transportation on the second night and go down to the area of Trastevere. Well, we utterly failed and ended up about a mile away from our destination. We got off our bus near the Vatican and got a more scenic evening than what we anticipated, but nobody seemed to mind. We eventually made it to Trastevere and it was so neat. It was the Italy I had pictured in my mind complete with narrow streets lined with shops, restaurants and bars (in Italy, “bars” are a place where you get coffee, but I’ll refer to them in the American way on here). Some of the bars in the area were undoubtedly geared toward Americans and the drinking culture we have, (it was €1 Shot “Braindestroyer Night” at one bar) but it was still a great night out in the city with friends. After another failed attempt with the public transportation, we began the forty-five minute walk back home in the rain. We only hit a small bump when the Italian police pulled us over in the vacant St. Peter’s Square to see what five, young Americans were doing there on a Thursday night. After I struggled to speak with them in Italian, a friend and myself ended up talking with them in, of all languages, Spanish. The run-in ended with joking over favorite NFL football teams and a “buonasera” (good evening). Needless to say, navigating the bus system has become a large priority we are all veryy slowly accomplishing.

I attended a neighborhood restaurant visit with about 100 other students on our third night. We were served a four-course meal complete with red wine to drink. The meal was delicious, but I would have to say that the tiramisu we were served for dessert was my favorite part. I can’t say that I am the most adventurous eater by any means, but I have been working on getting out of my comfort zone.

Day number four consisted of a trip to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The city of Rome is filled with an incredible amount of history and beautiful architecture. To get to experience it daily is remarkable and I feel so blessed. It is crazy just how innovative the people must have been to construct such grand and intricate buildings centuries ago. Here I can hardly put together my niece’s toys even with clear instructions right in front of my face. After touring these two sites, I walked through some of downtown Rome with a few friends and tried my first Italian espresso. We were given a bus ride from campus to the Colosseum, but it was up to us to find our way home. We once again failed tremendously at this test. This was fine at first because we were in the beautiful and bustling downtown (it’s “saldi” (sale) season in the stores), but that was before 30 minutes turned into an hour and finally an hour and a half of being lost. We finally made it back to campus two hours after leaving the cafe. Needless to say, directions are not my thing (and apparently none of my friends’ either). I visited some classmates at The Zone (a hotel about a 15-minute walk away that houses several of our students), for some wine to end my over 13-mile walk of a day.


To sum up my journey this far, I would say this: I don’t always know where I’m going, but I feel so lucky to be making the journey.


Until next time,


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