Hello everyone! My name is Isabella (Bella) Cervini. My home school is Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, I am majoring in Music Business with a minor in Italian. I spent my Spring 2023 semester of Junior year here in Rome, Italy. One thing I can tell everyone is that studying abroad is a nerve-racking decision to make but coming from someone that has just finished up this journey, it is worth it in every single way. It is an out of the comfort zone experience, yes, but I have learned more about myself, the world, and life in a different country than I could have ever imagined. I want to be completely honest with everyone, the first week was tough, it is a surreal moment realizing you are living across the world for an entire semester, but I promise you, the worry goes away, and before you know it you are saying goodbye to the friends that will now be a part of the rest of your life. Every decision takes courage, studying abroad is definitely a courageous decision, but I truly have learned more these past few months than most classes have taught me at my home university. It is a time where you really get to know yourself in a different way, becoming even more independent, and exploring the world on your own terms.
If you are thinking about coming to Rome, I can tell you now that you will fall in love with life here in Italy, and as a plus side, if you are missing home, there are many different places you can go to feel a bit more at home. I remember eating my first meal here at the beginning of the semester, it was like a confirmation that I had made the right decision. The food here is amazing to say the least, it is pretty hard to go wrong with a meal, and you get to experience true cuisine that is made with love. Just try to avoid the tourist trap restaurants, most of the time you will find that they are too expensive and not that great compared to the local places. Also, the grocery stores are a great experience to practice your Italian skills and get to know the people that live around your area. Coming from America, the prices are pretty nice here, you realize not only how natural and organic the products are, but also that you can get double the amount you would buy in an American grocery store for half the price.
When it comes to the friends I have made throughout this journey, I truly had no idea how impactful the relationships would be. I came to Italy alone and decided to pick random roommates in order to meet new people, I am so grateful for that decision, it encouraged me to get to know the people around me and at my school. Of course, going alone can be worrisome, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met the amazing people that I now spend every day with. It’s funny, one minute you are brand new, trying to find your way, and the next you are sitting next to great people having trouble saying your goodbyes at your favorite restaurant you go to every week.
Traveling around Europe was a blessing that I could never have imagined. Honestly, if I had one regret for the semester it would be to travel a bit more. But I will say, although I did not travel every weekend, I really do not regret being here most of the time, that is why I decided to study abroad, to be in Rome. Fortunately, flights here are not like flights in America, the prices are very reasonable, especially if you book them a few weeks in advance, and getting to and from locations is very easy. If you are taking a flight, most plane rides are only an hour or a few hours and just one direct flight; traveling is very easy, I suggest planning out at least a few trips to go and explore different countries!
Overall, this experience has been more than a blessing, and if I could tell every college student to challenge themselves to take part in studying abroad, I would. I am so thankful that I decided to study abroad, and I am so thankful that I did not let my fear get the best of me. Fear is a limited time problem, you will overcome it, and quicker than you think too! I am grateful for the people I have met, the school I attended (although difficult, I learned more than I have in the two and a half years at my home university), and the SAI and global leadership program. The wonderful SAI leaders for the Rome program truly made this experience so much easier to adjust to, they were there every step of the way, and the global leadership program allowed me to get to know them on a deeper level! Thank you to everyone that made this experience what it was, I wish it was not over… The fastest semester of my life! Goodbye Roma!!!
Written by: Bella, Spring 2023 Florence student from Belmont University