College in America v. college in Europe: I’m often asked by friends and family back home the question-which is better? There are many new adjustments that I’m making as an Italian university student; although a lot of things are different than at school back in Madison, I’m loving every second. Here’s a sample of what my life is like on a typical weekday as a student in Rome:
10:00 AM: Wake up; my classes don’t start until 11:30, which comes in handy after a long weekend of traveling! I get ready then scramble out the door for a leisurely walk to campus down Viale di Trastevere, the main avenue that connects my apartment to the area near school. It usually takes around 15 minutes. Luckily, it’s warm and sunny at almost 70 degrees!
11:00 AM: Stop for a cappuccino at my favorite local café; a morning in Rome wouldn’t be complete without a hot, freshly-pressed espresso beverage. I could use the pick-me-up since I got in late from a flight the night before!
12:45 PM: After my first class, I grab lunch at my favorite sandwich shop, Donkey Punch. You get a free drink with a JCU ID, and the sandwiches are made ready-to-order. They have a ton of different ingredients like grilled eggplant, sundried tomatoes, and avocado (a rare find in Rome). If you fill up a punch card you can earn your way towards free sandwiches, which I’m all about!
1:15 PM: Homework in the courtyard of the Guarini campus. There’s a ton of outdoor tables where you can bask in the sun and (maybe) get some assignments done. There’s also a ping-pong table, and a smoking area with tables in the back. So European.
2:30 PM: Head to Tiber campus for my next class. On the way, I avoid the crowds of vendors trying to sell everything from selfie sticks to sunglasses. Although, you can usually haggle for a good deal if you really want something. I also narrowly miss getting hit by cars on the tiny cobblestone streets, since sidewalks aren’t a thing in Trastevere. Just another day in Rome, I guess!
3:45 PM: Class is finished for the day! I’m headed home to catch up on some homework, and start planning my trip for the next weekend.
6:30 PM: Aperitivo time! Aperitivo is the “happy hour” of Italy where you can get unlimited drinks and snacks for a set price, usually around €10 for a few hours before prime dinner time (typically around 9 PM). Each restaurant offers a variety of choices of antipasti, aka appetizers, that you can sample.
7:30 PM: Head home for the night to hang out with friends in the student apartments, and get ready for the next day.
I’ve found that the days here during the week and weekend go by much faster than at home because there’s so many new things to do and try. Even just a “normal” school day in Rome is anything-but-average!