Living In Italy
Travel In Italy

Say Yes to Studying Abroad in Italy

If you or your college-bound student are interested in travel, I suggest you say yes to any opportunity to study in Italy. I promise it will be the greatest opportunity for culinary, cultural, personal, and spiritual growth. 


Here are five reasons to say yes to studying abroad in Italy: 

Ancient structures and statues seemingly pop out of your textbooks and into real life, your life. 

In the Spring of 2005, I spent my sophomore undergraduate semester at a quaint college campus in Due Santi. There was nothing quite like studying ancient art and architecture while visiting the very landmarks from our textbooks, like il Colosseo, Galleria Borghese, and il Foro Romani. Who needs Augmented Reality (AR) when these well-known historical structures are right there for you to enjoy in real life everywhere you turn? 


You get to participate in your immersive and interactive architectural, artistic, and historical learning experience.

(Resting on the Duomo in Milano)

Learn a romance language!

After studying Italian Language and Italian Literary Tradition in the United States, I took my fourth semester of Italian in the heart of Italy. There is no quicker way to learn a language than to immerse yourself entirely. If you have a student interested in the Italian language or interested in travel, you should absolutely, say yes to any opportunity to learn the language in Italy. Even now, many years later, Italian still lives rent-free in my brain, unlocked and ready to use should I ever meet anyone from Italy. 

Make core memories.

It’s been eighteen years since I studied in this ancient and beautiful city, yet Rome is where my heart is always. I find myself ‘Rome’sick a couple of times a year – every single year without fail. While I’m sure many things have changed in these last two decades, nothing will change those core memories and joyous emotions. My favorite memories are my trip to Cinque Terre, or Carnivale in Venice with the best friends and best travel buddies. Late nights at the Trevi fountain, tiramisú breaks after studying, and weekend trips to neat, off-the-beaten-path places like the gorgeous Orvieto fill my heart. 

Have unforgettable adventures. 

In Rome, I’d lose myself on purpose to force myself to practice my conversational Italian with locals. I was practicing for Professoressa Beatrice’s class. I’m convinced she wasn’t my biggest fan – I skipped an Italian test one day for a Hanson concert at the Rolling Stone in Milano. Pope John Paul II passed away that same weekend, and getting a train back to Rome in time for my test was impossible with the thousands of travelers flocking towards the Vatican. Oops. However, seeing my favorite band in another country was one of the most unforgettable adventures of my life. And being present in St. Peter’s Square for the 2005 papal conclave is something that I’ll remember forever. 

Live and eat like a local for a semester or two.

Seriously, EAT. ALL. THE. GELATO! “Vorrei un gelato piccolo con frutti di bosco e fragola” was my go-to phrase for every single gelato shop I hit up. Gelato was the most delicious treat to have ever graced my lips. So, naturally it became a regular part of my diet. I may have had gelato withdrawals after returning to Texas. 


The pizza was like no pizza I’d ever tasted in the United States. Sometimes after classes, my friends and I would take a walk to the pizza shop on the corner and stuff our faces with pizza margherita. Occasionally, we’d buy the 50 cent wine from the nonna who made her own in her backyard. Ha! Not the most classy, but YOLO!

Go a step further into living and eating like a local. Find your hangout spots and become a “regular”. 


My semester was a whirlwind of travel, excitement, and exploration in and around Rome. We’d wander off to Albano Laziale to visit a quaint little pub, Santi & Peccatori. The owner would play Red Hot Chili Peppers for us every time we walked in. My favorite little gelato shop was right outside the Vatican City. I spent many Sundays after church with my little cup of delicious gelato from Old Bridge Gelateria

(Gelateria in Firenze)

If the opportunity ever comes your way for a semester abroad, just say yes! Especially if it’s in Italy. I don’t know anyone who did not enjoy their semester abroad. 


While my experience was with a small Catholic University, many secular schools are also available. You can find a full list at the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy. Don’t wait – vai vai, go apply to your favorite abroad program!


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