One of the best things about studying abroad is falling in love with a different part of the world. AIFS Study Abroad alum, Michael, knew he’d fall in love with Italy during his semester abroad. What he didn’t know, though, was that he’d find love there too.
Michael and his girlfriend Kara studied abroad with AIFS in Rome in 2015. When they returned to the USA, they were drawn to each other by one very special similarity: their love for that semester in Rome. They’ve been dating for over 2 years now – and recently returned from a trip to the beloved city that started it all. Michael tells their story below.
My family is Italian and we went on vacation to Rome a couple of years before I studied abroad. I knew I wanted to study abroad at some point during my college career. So, when I walked into my study abroad office at Bradley University and saw the Richmond in Rome Program with two weeks in Florence and the rest in Rome, I knew that was the one I wanted.
My girlfriend Kara and I both went to Bradley University and studied abroad in Rome during the same spring semester of 2015. It wasn’t until we were back at Bradley for the next school year, however, that I started having feelings for Kara.
All of the Bradley students who studied abroad in Rome with us would meet up about once a month, make dinner together, and talk about our time abroad. During those dinners I realized what a special person Kara was. In January 2016, a group of our study abroad friends from all over the country either flew or road tripped to New Hampshire to stay at our friend’s second home. During that trip I realized how much I liked Kara. Now, we’ve been dating for two and a half years.
Kara and I planned a big Italy vacation trip for the summer of 2018. While planning this trip we knew the whole time that, no matter what, we were going to Rome. I think I speak for all study abroad students when I say that after our time abroad, we have had such a desire to return to Rome. We romanticize the idea of all returning to Rome for a big meet-up.
Going back to Rome with Kara was surreal. We stayed for three nights in an Airbnb and hit all the main tourist things so that we could see them again. We went to our favorite gelateria (Frigidarium), the Vatican, Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona, etc. It was cool to hit all the tourist spots again without having to look at a map, ask for directions, or ask what to see because we knew the city so well.
It was so much fun to walk around Rome and talk with Kara about all the things we did during our semester abroad. It was extra special because we weren’t just talking about abroad while in the USA – we were in the city where all of our stories happened. It was like going back to a place you used to go to all the time as a kid. The same feelings of nostalgia were there throughout our vacation.
During the Goodbye Cocktail on our last day abroad, Kara and I took a goodbye photo together. On our last day of our vacation this summer, we recreated that photo after two and a half years of us together.
Our trip was filled with fun all over the north, south, and middle of Italy. But at the end we looked at each other and said, “We should have spent more time in our beloved city, Rome.”
Are you dreaming of a life-changing study abroad experience like Michael and Kara’s? Learn more about studying abroad with AIFS!