We caught up with SAI Ambassador Bailey, who took a moment to reflect on his time in Rome.
Q. How has studying abroad impacted your life goals?
A. Studying abroad has taught me to always just try and do what I want. If there was a city I wanted to go to, I would go. If there was a food I wanted to try, I would try it. I learned to seize every moment because I didn’t know if I would ever have the opportunity to do it again. I incorporated that mentality into my everyday lifestyle when I came back, and now I just try to not waste any chance I get and take advantage of everything that comes my way.
Q. What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
A. There are so many things that I love about Rome, but if I had to choose one, I would say exploring. There is so much more to Rome than I initially thought and there are so many hidden gems that most tourists never get to experience. My friends and I would always walk, or even take bikes and just ride around the city. I would go out and explore whether if it was one in the afternoon or one in the morning because it allowed me to see so much of this amazing city and it made me realize that there is so much more that Rome has to offer than just the main tourist attractions like the Coliseum or the Trevi Fountain. The best part about walking around is that it’s free, and it helps burn calories when you decide to eat twice your weight in pasta.
Q. Do you have any tips for learning the language while students are abroad?
A. The one thing I regret is that I didn’t try hard enough to learn the language. I didn’t have enough space in my schedule to take Italian and I used that as an excuse to not learn. Because I knew enough words and phrases to get by, I didn’t try hard enough to practice and learn. I advise everyone to download language learning apps, such as Duolingo, and not just google translate. Even though I was able to survive, it would’ve made my life so much easier had I been able to keep up a conversation with locals, and it would have made the entire experience that much better.
Q. What advice do you have for new study abroad students?
A. My advice to anyone who is planning on studying abroad is to not waste any moment. You think that the semester is long, but it goes by fast, and you won’t get those opportunities back. There are going to be days when you just want to sit at home and watch Netflix or sleep the entire day because you’re “tired” from the night before, but you have to power through. Even if you’re tired from walking around, push through because you may say that you’ll have more time or that you can do it later, but in reality, you probably won’t because there is so much to do in such little time. By the end, you’ll end up wishing that you had just a little more time, so take advantage of the time that you do have. It’s better to regret something because you did it than to regret something because you didn’t do it.
Bailey was a spring 2018 SAI Rome student from Saint Mary’s College of California.