What was your favorite class abroad and why?
I took an Intercultural Communications class at JCU. This class compared the culture in the U.S. to Italy as well as other parts of the world. In the beginning this class really highlighted the differences in Rome compared to the U.S. which helped when getting comfortable and adjusting. The variety of students in the class expanded the comparison even more, having students from all over the world! I left the class wanting to travel to so many new places.
What is your most memorable interaction with a local in your host city?
I made a friend in one of my classes who had lived in Rome her whole life and at the end of the semester she invited me to a dinner with her family and friends. We went to a really nice restaurant and there were about 10 of us. The meal was 3 hours long and we ate so much food! It was a little intimidating because they all spoke Italian and some of their table manners seemed different, but we had a lot of fun comparing the cultures, laughing, and sharing funny stories. By the end of dinner I really felt like I fit in!
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
My roommate and I would love to go on runs along the Tiber River and then go and get coffee after! The river is beautiful and a great place to people watch. Some days I would lose track of time and walk so far down the river that I would have no idea where I was and have a long walk back!
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
If you are confused, most people do speak English and will help you! Make sure to have your tickets downloaded on your phone ahead of time or printed out because sometimes you won’t have service, and if you are traveling by train don’t accept anyone’s help unless you know they work there! We had someone help us and they ended up not working there and begging us for money afterwards.
What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
Remember that this experience is new for EVERYONE! Try and adjust to the culture and lifestyle you are living in and attend all of the events that your program and school have! There are really cool events that teach you all about the city and the culture and you meet other people through them. My favorite event was the cooking class! I still make the recipes for my family and friends at home!
Christina was a fall 2019 SAI Rome student from Saint Mary’s College of California.