The study abroad trip to Rome, Italy over spring break was without a doubt the best trip I have ever taken. It was my first time ever being out of the country so I wasn’t completely sure what it would be like; however, my expectations were exceeded time and time again! From the moment we landed in Rome, our days and nights were filled with great food, visiting amazing historical sights, and fully engaging in their culture.
One of my favorite things we did was learning how to navigate the metro properly to take us all throughout the city. I didn’t expect us to be using the metro as much as we did, but it was such an interesting experience and a great way to see all different kinds of people. Something that made me feel strange at first was how many people did not speak English, or if they did they had an extremely strong accent that was difficult for me to understand clearly. It was definitely a cultural shock to be in the minority, in terms of language, and having to find other ways to communicate with the locals. Almost all of the restaurants we ate at had menus primarily in Italian which made for an interesting time ordering your food and sometimes not being sure at what you were gonna get! This was one of the main experiences from the trip that opened my eyes to how I’ve only been exposed to such a small piece of the world and how many other cultures and ways of life are out there besides the one I have grown up in.
The two locations I was most excited to see when preparing for the trip were the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain. I had seen countless pictures online and in textbooks at school of these two monumental places so I knew how amazing they were. Although I had an idea of how beautiful they were, nothing compares to standing right in front of them and seeing them in person. The stature and beauty of both were indescribable. It felt like I was looking at a postcard or a picture online because being just feet away from it felt so unreal. Until I was physically there in the moment I wasn’t able to fully grasp that these were real places in the world.
On the last free night of the trip, my older sister and I were able to eat dinner and gelato right in front of the Pantheon which they had lit up with bright colors. Being able to take a picture of each other at dinner and there was the Pantheon sitting in the background was unbelievable. An unexpected, yet awesome moment on the trip happened on our last day when a few of us got to see the Pope and hear him deliver a speech!
The thing that made our trip as amazing as it was had to be how perfectly our itinerary was set up. Each day of our trip was filled from the moment we woke up to late at night and I loved that. Although at times it could be tiring, I greatly appreciated how much was fit into our 10 day trip as I don’t know when, if ever, that I will have the chance to return to Rome. We saw so much in a short time, a few places we saw were: the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Vatican City, St. Peters Basilica, St. Paul’s Basilica, and that’s not even half of it! Every tour that was set up was perfectly timed out. Even with our days being packed full, we had every lunch and most of the nights free to do and explore what we wanted. I fully recommend studying abroad with UTC to all students who are looking for a fun, once-in-a-lifetime experience that will also give you the best memories to look back on!
Kayla Donnell (BS Psychology) spent Spring Break 2022 in Rome, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip linked with a UTC course. Kayla had the following to say about study abroad, “Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I was able to make friendships with other students at UTC who I probably wouldn’t have met if not enrolled for the trip, participate in a new culture, and see the most amazing sights. I recommend all students to participate in a study abroad program during their time at UTC as it was the best memory from college!”
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