1. Italian food is diverse and delicious.
Despite common assumptions, Italy is full of diverse food options. This culinary capital of the world offers many varieties for each meal which has subsequently has caused me to be open to trying new things. Personally, I like having a small breakfast of a coffee and croissant, a large lunch consisting of a giant plate of pasta (and of course a dessert), and then a decent sized dinner that usually ends up being a type of pizza. Even though I have a pretty safe routine, I have also had muesli, fish, salads, and a lot of different types of tiramisu.
2. Italy’s history is incredible.
Studying abroad in Rome has been a special treat because the entire city has historic meaning. From the forums to the cathedrals and churches to the coliseum; almost around every block is something new that has contributed to Italy’s history. Even our weekend trip to Florence included rich history that played into how Italy developed and functions today. Plus, I found that the history seems to apply to every aspect of each class that is offered. You are constantly exposed to aspects of Italian religion, art, food, and customs as you explore this nation.
3. Sightseeing and attractions abound.
I have found countless things to see while I have been in Rome. I had been to the Eternal City before, but I still wanted to see many of the attractions a second or even third time. There are basilicas, amphitheaters, forums, fountains, piazzas, and so much more. You will be given the opportunity to explore and see the real attractions all around the area.
4. The locals are great.
Once you master the language barrier, you’ll come to realize that the locals are great. The Italian students who have been helping us around the city are wonderful and fun, and they have honestly made Italy more enjoyable. Going to the restaurants and cafes that are less touristic has been enjoyable. We try our best to communicate and get to know the locals there, which has caused us to continue returning. The locals are friendly, funny and love to talk when it is possible; they’re new friends.
5. Shopping opportunities are endless.
This is pretty simple to explain actually: there are a ton of places to shop. In Rome there is the Via del Corso which is the main shopping street that is about a mile long with so many shops. In Florence they have a ton of outdoor markets where you can use your bargaining skills (which ends up being super rewarding). All around the cities you can find little local shops and souvenir shops. You can do any type of shopping you would like, and it can be pretty reasonably priced too.
This post was contributed by Holli Schadt, who studied abroad with AIFS in Rome, Italy in summer 2016.