Going to Rome was truly an experience like no other. When we began our trip, it immediately started in chaos, however. Our teacher got into a car wreck, plane tickets were giving us issues in a foreign country, and we were all losing a little bit of morale. However, nothing compares to the feeling of stepping off the bus from the airport onto the tight, lit-up streets of Rome, Italy.

Throughout the trip, we experienced many marvels. Some of my favorites included things such as visiting the Domus Aurea and the small town of Nimi. In Nimi, our guide showed us breathtaking views of the Italian countryside, followed by the tasting of the mini-strawberries grown there. We were quickly swept in to the tiny shops where we were able to shove homemade pastries into our mouths. No tourists – pure Italian culture.

While the Domus Aurea was quite the opposite, a tourist attraction as well as an archaeological site, it was just stunning to see the history of a former tyrant being unveiled. The highlight being the immersive, visual representation of what the Domus Aurea would have looked like in its prime.

But what really took the cake is the amount of free time we got to really take on the city for ourselves, weaving through pathways, finding our own little shops and restaurants to spend our time in, taking in the views of the beautiful city and artwork and history that seemed to be present behind every corner. Sure, there were times that we had panic moments, moments of not being able to speak the language in times we needed it or practices that frustrated us because we did not understand them. But this was all part of being immersed in this wonderful culture.

What I have learned through this experience is that there is more than just this little space here, more than just this tiny world that we all seem to live in. Chattanooga is only a pin-prick compared to what is waiting out there for us– a world of opportunity that just has not been discovered, and I am so excited to graduate and take that world on.

Daniel Peralta is majoring in English and spent Spring Break 2019 in Rome, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip for a Classics 1200 course. Daniel had the following to say about studying abroad, “It’s really quite amazing to be given the opportunity to walk in another culture’s shoes. The second you step off that bus from the airport and realize, ‘Wow, this is not home . . . and I think I’m okay with that,’ it is really something magical.”

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