Reflections on Trinity's Rome Study Abroad Program

SOPHIA GOURLEY ’19
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Ciao from Roma, Trinity! This semester, I have the incredible opportunity, along with 19 other Bantams, to spend the Fall semester at Trinity’s Rome Campus in Italy.
Deciding to study abroad was certainly not an easy choice for me. I perfectly t the Urban Dictionary definition of a homebody; “a person who enjoys the warmth and simple pleasures of being at home.” I live only 30 minutes from Hartford, love spending time with my family, and genuinely enjoy being in New England. With that being said, once sophomore year rolled around, I desperately needed a break from Trinity, and really wanted to do something out of my comfort zone. Although I absolutely adore Trinity and my friends, I knew that after being a way for a semester, I would come back refreshed and have a new found appreciation for the school.

When it came down to guring out which program to do, Rome emerged as the best option from the moment I walked out of the Study Away Fair last fall. It met all of the criteria I was looking for, which included being with other American students, being able to take at least one economics class for my major and living in a vibrant European city. I was also drawn to the Rome program because it would give me the chance to meet other Trinity students, who I otherwise would not have gotten the chance to know. While the majority of students this year are from Trinity, there are a fair amount from Bates College and Rollins College, as well as students from Williams College, Colby College and Wesleyan College. It is the perfect balance of Trinity and non-Trinity students, and the small number of 34 participants allows everyone to truly get to know each other.

Trinity’s Rome Campus is housed in a beautiful convent on top of Aventine Hill. The Aventine is the perfect place to live, as it is central to all of Rome’s main attractions, but it is in in a quiet, residential area. The majority of students live in the convent, while the rest live in a nearby hotel. Similarly, classes are commonly held in the con- vent, while the rest are in a local office space. Every student must take an Italian language class, and also elect to take one of the incredible art history classes offered. I am taking Intro to Art of Rome this semester. This class consists of a weekly walking tour to visit all of the major works of Roman Art, including the Colosseum, Pantheon, and the Vatican. I am also taking Public Finance and Sport and Society in Modern Italy, a history course that looks at the important role sports have played in the country’s history.
Now, to the most important part—the food! Every week-day, the nuns prepare breakfast and a family style lunch at the convent. For dinner, we are provided with four meal coupons per week, that are redeemable at several nearby restaurants.
The food in Italy, as cliché as it sounds, is absoeutely unbelievable. The pizza is to die for, and the pasta dishes are equally as delicious. It is obvious that the food is made with fresh and low-cal ingredients. Wine is also a staple part of the Roman diet, and is served with almost every meal. For dessert, nearly everywhere you turn there is a gelato shop, with a delicious array of flavors.
One of my favorite parts about Italy is that it has a little bit of everything. From mountains to beaches to vine- yards to cities, Italy truly has something for everyone. Not only has this program allowed me the chance to explore much more of this beautiful country, flights within Europe are usually cheap!
As a program, we spent last weekend visiting Pompeii, Naples, and Capri– easily one of the best weekends I have ever had. I’ve also gotten the chance to climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence, go on a wine tasting tour around Orvieto, and I currently am writing this article on the train to Venice! Over my fall break, I will be spending half of the week in Paris, France. After, I will be spending the rest of the week in Zurich, Switzerland. We also have class trips to Turin, Italy, and Bologna, Italy. In addition, I have just booked ights to visit Budapest, Hungary, and Amster- dam, Netherlands, with my friends later in the semester!
Although there is a decent amount of work to be done during the week, being able to travel nearly every weekend is by far my favorite part of the program.
I’ve come to realize I am one month into the best four month period of my life. Deciding to study abroad not only has taught me to live on my own, it has also introduced me to an incredible group of people and to (in my opinion) the best city in the world.
Rome is drenched in history and there is something fascinating on almost every street. Getting the opportunity to study and learn about such an amazing place, as well as see other parts of Ita- ly and other countries in Europe, has been an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.

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