The GoGlobal Blog

Orientation in Roma

Orientation in Roma

Ciao! It’s almost two weeks since I arrived at the John Felice Rome Center, yet it already feels like home. The students here, both from Loyola University Chicago and other universities, are open and eager to meet as many people as possible and to engage in genuine conversation. And Rome is even more beautiful, fascinating, and stunning that I imagined it.

I traveled into downtown Rome on the first night for gelato, to see the Fontana di Trevi, and to wander along the cobblestone streets. The following night consisted of a community dinner at the SLA’s (Student Life Assistants) favorite restaurants in Trastevere, a bohemian, colorful, and lively neighborhood. On Saturday we visited the Colosseum, which was massive, stunning, and magnificent, and then the Roman Forum, which was originally a marketplace, as well as a political and religious center. We made our way up to the highest lookout, Palatine Hill, and saw the sprawling city below us in the golden afternoon light. We then had several hours to explore Rome in the daylight for the first time. We meandered through the streets, admiring the pale yellow, pink, and orange buildings and the lights strung above us. Each alley was home to cozy restaurants and warm cafes and I could have spent days just in that area. We eventually settled on a restaurant and ate the best bruschetta I’ve ever tasted. On Sunday we had an orientation day trip to the town of Caprarola and toured Villa Farnese, a mansion in Viterbo, Northern Lazio. It sat at the top of the town and the hills were stacked with charming houses, fresh linens swaying from every balcony and window. We ate lunch in a rustic modern restaurant and I had the most delicious vegan meal – warm salty bread with olive oil and olive tapenade, polenta, pasta with broccoli and olive oil, perfectly seasoned chickpeas and potatoes, and vanilla ice cream swirled with strawberry.

I had classes Monday through Thursday, Italian 101, Ethics, Christianity through Time, and Women in Literature. All of my professors are welcoming, personable, and incredibly knowledgable and passionate. I went for a run one morning and found a scenic overlook in the neighborhood, Balduina and visited a Picasso exhibit downtown one evening that displayed the work he created while living in Rome. A group of us ate dinner outside surrounded by ivy and heaters at Taverna Trilussa, and it was stunning and delicious but we learned the unforunate lesson that customers are charged for the bread that the waiters continuously bring to the table. You also always need to ask for the check, as the waiter will never assume that you are finished and ready to leave. We finished the night up with gelato, the perfect ending to any great day.

The second weekend was our orientation trip to Campania, a region in southwestern Italy known for its dramatic coastline and ancient ruins. We visited and toured the Reggia di Caserta and the Museo e dell’ Abbazia, had a wine and olive oil tasting, toured a buffalo farm, explored Agropoli, ate elaborate and 4 course lunches and meals, and learned northern Italian dances. It was the last time until the end of the semester where all students and faculty would be together and a special bonding experience. After a speech from the Dean of Students, I became emotional about leaving in May, because in the short time I’ve been here I’ve already grown and experienced so much. I am beyond ecstatic for the rest of the semester, but I hope that time passes as slowly as possible, to soak up and enjoy every moment of it.



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