I’ve now been back in the states for almost a week. I quickly went to all of my favorite restaurants and had all of my favorite home cooked meals. There are some things that even the amazing food in Italy can't replace. These past months have been the greatest times of my life and I’ve had the privilege of experiencing so many new and different cultures. Through my time abroad, I’ve gathered quite a few helpful tips and pieces of advice.
- First things first, when you get to wherever you're studying abroad, find your nearest supermarket. If you're studying in Rome, it’s either going to be Pam, Simply, or Coop. There are many small markets scattered throughout the city, however, those smaller markets are going to be more expensive and have a much smaller selection.
- Second, if you're going to study in Rome, make sure to focus your packing around pants. The Romans don't really wear shorts so if you want to try and fit in somewhat, bring pants. However, what is really interesting is that they dress for the season and not for the weather. So, if it’s March and 80 degrees, they will still be wearing pants, sweaters, and their winter jackets. On the same note, if you're studying in Rome, or Italy in general, don't expect to wear sweatpants outside. Italians get dressed up even if they're just leaving their house to go to the grocery store and back.
- Third tip, don't worry too much about trying to fit in. The locals are usually able to tell pretty quickly that you're not from Italy, or whatever country you happen to be in, so it’s not that big of a deal if you don't perfectly fit into their culture.
- Fourth, do some research on restaurants and gelaterias. Tripadvisor is a great tool for this, however, sometimes they don't really show you the kinds of places you want. I would recommend reading up on different traveler blogs and similar websites for places. Also, ask your professors, administrators, and other staff at IES Abroad. They're going to know the area really well and can tell you about that amazing local restaurant that not many people know about.
In Rome, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a gelateria or a restaurant, however, I definitely had a few favorite places to go. For gelato, my two favorite were Come il Latte and La Romana. These two places have incredible gelato and add in extras like chocolate at the bottom of the cone (which is probably the greatest thing to ever happen to gelato/ice cream cones). For food, Le mani in Pasta has amazing seafood, Bir and Fud had my favorite pizza (it has fresh buffalo mozzarella on top), and Cacio e Pepe has amazing cacio e pepe and carbonara pasta. But there are many other great restaurants and gelaterias in Rome (or wherever you decide to study abroad) and many people find other restaurants that are their favorites.
Last but not least, just remember to enjoy yourself. Never let anything that’s going on take away from your time abroad. While hopefully we’ll all get to travel again after study abroad, it’ll never be quite the same. Studying abroad allows you to really immerse yourself in a city and get to understand the culture and lifestyle. It makes you feel like that city is your home. I personally feel as if I have a home in Rome now. I have Roman friends who have opened up their homes to me for next time that I return there. So, for anyone considering studying abroad, my final piece of advice is to absolutely do it. It’s 100% worth it to have the time of your life.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>My name is Josh Marrs and I am a junior from Rice University in Houston, Texas! I'm majoring in Sociology with a major interest in social inequality. My passions are playing tennis, basketball, ping pong, and any other sport I can get my hands on. Visiting Rome has been one of the biggest dreams of my life thus far and I will be fulfilling that dream by studying in Rome during the Spring of 2016. This will be my first time experiencing another country and I can't wait to share my experiences and reflections.</p>