The Beginning of a Great Italian Adventure

Anastasia Hernando
February 6, 2022

Right now, I am writing to you from my balcony in Balduina, the area of Rome where my apartment is! Some IES Abroad students and I have had to learn transit quickly since the IES Abroad center is about a 45-minute walk. While I do plan to try it sometime, the train has been easy to navigate and much nicer than any public transit in the U.S. that I’ve known. Plus, our roomy apartment and distance make for a quieter and peaceful version of Rome.

The weather here has been immaculate! Since I'm from Miami and go to school at University of Michigan, I have experienced both climate extremes. Thankfully, February here is more like a mild Spring than Winter. Despite how bundled you will see the locals, it has mostly been a range of 40 to 60 degrees (AKA perfect!) and today is not an exception. The breeze reminds me of air conditioning while I get some sun on this beautiful Sunday. Smells of toasted bread and nutty olive oil arrive to me in gusts, reminding me that it's just lunch time across the city.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most when coming to Italy was eating! Before I left, I fashioned a working ‘Italian Foodie Bucketlist’ for this very purpose. Yelp has become my friend as I look for cheap homemade pasta. Navigating the authentic restaurants amidst the overpriced tourist traps has been an obstacle. Regardless, I was able to knock off a combination of pizza, pasta, drinks and dessert in my first week! My pockets may be hurting, but I have a million excuses, starting with how great everything has tasted. My head is telling me no, but my heart and stomach are telling me yes! My favorites so far have been a nutella cornetto, gnocchi pesto, and pistacchio tiramisu. Well, now my mouth is watering just thinking of these meals! If you follow my blog, I will definitely add great recommendations if you look to study abroad in Rome as well! So far local coffee shops never miss, Cantina e Cucina near the IES Abroad center has great vibes, and Pompi has any flavor of Tiramisu you could think of. More recs to come!

I don't speak much Italian, but I have been getting by with the combination of Duolingo and my Spanish fluency. The fact that I know Spanish definitely makes me feel like I have the upperhand compared to others who don't. Regardless, we will all be taking Italian classes to help us acclimate better. So far, I've learned basic yet important phrases to use everyday like 'dove e' and 'posso avere' to ask for local navigation or to preface my restaurant order. 

Tomorrow, I'll start my first week of classes, focusing on Italian Politics and Art History. I'm most looking forward to learning about the culture while living in it. I think going to see paintings or government buildings I learned about in class will be so gratifying. In addition to this, I'm excited to overuse my Student Museum pass that IES Abroad gives all of us here. It will facilitate discounts and free museum entries, making my intellectual curiosity limitless! So far, we have toured Rome, visiting the Trevi fountain and Pantheon. I've glimpsed the Colosseum, along with other ancient ruins, and am looking forward to getting a closer look. 

I hope that you follow along with me as I eat, learn, and adventure Italy! Ciao! 

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Anastasia Hernando

<p>Anastasia Hernando is a student at the University of Michigan, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is currently working on writing her Political Science thesis on labor rights of the textile industry. Her passion&nbsp;for human rights motivates her to learn more about government and philosophy while studying abroad in Rome, Italy during Spring 2022. Additionally, her interest in social media and business excite her about her opportunity to share her experiences as a IDEA Correspondent.</p>

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Home University:
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Miami, FL
Political Science
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