Rome: The Eternal City Leaves Both Lasting Impression and Nostalgia! Past Review

By (International Studies, Rhodes College) for

IES Abroad: Study Rome - Language & Area Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel that Italian is my second culture now. I have adopted it and it is part of my everyday life. I would like to be able to use my language skills in future jobs and I have already done so since returning. I have incredible nostalgia for Rome and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about my experience abroad. The experiences and skills I gained abroad are unique to me and something that nobody can take away. Living and working with people from a different country definitely gave me a bigger understanding of the Italian culture and language. Even though it was just a semester, it left a lasting impression that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The grading system was very fair and the workload was generally less than what I have at my home university. However, there was less of a workload because the professors were very understanding that we were in a foreign country and they did not want us to spend all of our time cooped up in a room studying. Part of being abroad is getting to know your surroundings and learning through experience. I had a personal relationship with all of my professors and the small classes facilitated that relationship between professor and student.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

IES Abroad had just the right amount of hand-holding and independence. Representatives were there to greet us at the airport but we had to take our own taxis to our homes. They provided us with useful basic knowledge of the city, frequent list of events going on in the city, opportunities for weekend trips, etc. but they were not invasive otherwise. The program was about 100 students and at times felt a bit crowded in the building, but the class sizes were great and averaged about 10 students. IES Staff was very accessible and I felt that they were always there to help us

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I arranged my homestay through IES Abroad and I couldn't have been happier. My roommate and I got along great and I was in one of Rome's nicest neighborhoods. It was a very traditional Roman neighborhood close to the biggest park in Rome, a short walk from the Vatican, the IES Abroad Center, and great shops and restaurants. I did not need to buy any items to settle in, sheets and towels were provided and we were allowed full access to the kitchen. My host mom definitely treated us like family. I felt right at home with her.

* Food:

I am a vegetarian and I submitted that on my initial study abroad form and my host mom was very accomodating. She mainly made vegetarian meals for my roommate, herself, and me but sometimes she would make meat for herself and my roommate and she would always make me a vegetarian dish instead. Her cooking was incredible and the time spent talking over meals was some of the most valuable time I had there. While you're there, skip the fast food and try and get a taste for the local food culture. Food is such an integral part of a culture and an important component to understanding the Italian culture. Go to a local gelateria, like Vice Gelateria on via Gregorio VII, that doesn't use any artificial colorings or preservatives and makes fabulous, unique flavors! Try to experience the "Slow Food" way of eating and check out Bistrot Bio in Via del Casaletto, Vivi Bistrot in Villa Pamphili, or Spirito Di Vino. You can't go wrong with those!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES offers 3 different field trips, one of which is included in the program cost. I chose hiking through Cinque Terre and it was fabulous. The weather was great and the views were awe-inspiring. They also arranged a trip to Lago Martignano and it was a blast! We did paddle boats, swimming, had lunch at the on-site restaurant which uses only ingredients from their farm, and had a great time getting to know one another.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Rome. As with any place you live in or travel to, be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. I know some students that had their wallets stolen on public transportation. The healthcare made it very easy for me to get an appointment with a doctor when I was sick and IES was very helpful and set up the appointment for me.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

IES Abroad Rome did not require a high level of Italian knowledge prior to studying there. I was already fluent in Italian when I went abroad, but I wanted to improve my language skills even more so I chose a homestay and I tried to only speak Italian while I was there. Most people on the program spoke English however, and very few were fluent in Italian. I found that most shopkeepers, waiters, etc spoke English since Rome is such an international city, but I always spoke to them in Italian.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make a list of the things that are important to you in a study abroad experience. For example, is a homestay important or could you settle for an apartment? Is a strong language component important? Do you want the possibility of doing an internship abroad? I think IES Abroad Rome catered to a variety of students in that not everyone had the same goals or priorities. For people like me that wanted to get full language immersion, I was able to do so but I had to really make an effort to do it. If you only hang out with people on the program, you will probably not learn Italian as well. There are also a wide variety of internships available to fit any interest, and I even created my own, so it is very flexible to each student's goals.