Benvenuti a Roma!

Bailey Gregory Headshot
Bailey Gregory
June 15, 2024
Ivy-covered archway along Via Giulia in Rome, with motorcycle and light street traffic

My study abroad journey with IES Abroad Rome began a few weeks ago, and as I have settled into my apartment and started attending my classes, I have established a new daily routine in Italy. Over the past few weeks, I have noticed several important elements that have truly made a difference in my transition into life in Italy beginning during my pre-departure preparation back in the United States. 


1. Integrating Italian Into Everyday Life – Music, Movies, and More!

While it was easy to convince myself that a few lessons a day to maintain my Italian Duolingo streak would be enough to keep my lingual skills sharp, I knew that I would soon be surrounded by the foreign language in a busy Roman piazza. To ensure my preparedness to regularly speak in Italian with my professors, peers, and local residents, I spent the months leading to my arrival incorporating Italian into my everyday life to make the transition a bit easier. 

Before my departure to Rome (perhaps due to my excitement, or simply my love of the Italian language), I had so much fun adding little Italian flourishes to my normal habits. I began my day with the fun, upbeat lyrics of my favorite Italo-disco albums flowing from my speaker as I got ready in the morning, and as I walked to class I was accompanied by a playlist of Italian music or podcasts. My ears were filled with a range of soft vocal jazz or a daily Italian newscast as I strolled through the dewy lawn of my home university campus in the springtime, which I have continued to do now as I walk across Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II overlooking the stunning Castel Sant’Angelo on the way to the IES Abroad Rome Center every morning. 

In the evenings, when I am completing chores or winding down after finishing my homework, I also love to turn on an Italian movie or TV show (many popular streaming services have some excellent options!) and watch without English subtitles, though it is sometimes helpful to put the native Italian subtitles to make sure I don’t miss anything and take note of unfamiliar words to study later. Not only is it relaxing, but it relieves a lot of associated stress about remembering and understanding social conversation, as well as common phrases used in everyday exchanges throughout the city. 


2. Preparing to Pack & Things to Consider About Your Location Abroad

One of the best resources to help ease my adjustment to life in Rome was the IES Abroad Pre-Departure Guide and Packing List, which had some excellent tips about how to avoid overpacking and outlined several items that I may not have considered until it was too late, such as plug adapters, an international SIM card for my phone, and other additional items that made my travel experience more comfortable. By considering all of these things early, I felt much more at ease regarding the overwhelming packing process, and I was prepared and confident to tackle new complications if they arose. Similarly, it helped me to create a tentative packing list of all of the clothing items I intended to bring with me to Rome, including many of my old, reliable items such as lightweight blouses, dresses, and comfortable shorts to get me through the intense summer heat of June and July. 

While you can’t really go wrong with light and simple summer outfits, it is also important to be aware of the dress codes that are imposed around Rome and the Vatican City, which require visitors to dress in modest attire that covers the knees, chest, and shoulders when entering sacred places, such as churches and other places with religious significance. Luckily, I packed a few light, sleeved blouses to wear on days I planned to visit churches and the Vatican, but if you are worried about how to dress as you pack, you can also wait to buy some inexpensive clothing in the Roman shopping districts, vintage markets, or a cheap scarf that are sold around the city by various street vendors and shops for forgetful or unaware visitors.  


3. Relax and Enjoy Your Time Back Home!

It was incredibly exciting to imagine all of the ways that I would be spending my summer in Rome, and my little motions of preparation ahead of my departure gave me an extra boost when I felt stressed by the last several weeks of the semester with the approach of final exams. Although I still had some time to finalize my plans and briefly return home before my first flight, my excitement for my study abroad opportunity grew by the day, and these slight adjustments to my daily life boosted my confidence to explore Rome and make the most of my Italian summer! However, it was also important for me to value my remaining moments back home. As the weeks have quickly passed, I have come to realize how much fun it is to share my photos and memories with my family and friends back in the United States as an exciting way to bridge the distance between us, though nothing can replace the time spent together cherishing the moments before your adventure of a lifetime!

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Bailey Gregory Headshot

Bailey Gregory

Hi, I’m Bailey! I’m from the mountains of western North Carolina and currently am a junior at UNC Chapel Hill studying Creative Nonfiction Writing and Art History. I love to read, and can usually be found fiddling in my garden or going for a walk. 

2024 Summer 1
Home University:
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Art History
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