I’d love to say that I became an expert at getting around Rome within the first month or two after arriving here. Some students do, but most do not. This tends to happen because you go out in big groups and in the course of getting from point A to point B you’re talking and a bit distracted – often you don’t really realize where you’re going until you’re actually there! Don’t get discouraged though! All you have to do is pay more attention, or even better, venture out on your own and let your restless feet wander around the streets and vicoli (alley ways) of Roma. This way you force yourself to discover the hidden places and corners that house the best meals, the best gelato and the cutest little shops. Also, guiding yourself with monuments is a much better choice than trying to guide yourself by street names or alley names. Once you take in your surroundings and put all your monuments in perspective, you will be able to go just about anywhere.
Doing this, and to be quite honest with a little help from good ol’ Google Maps on my phone when I got too lost, I am now able to get around by myself, and even more so, SHOW people around! Whether it’s the new students in the Spring semester or friends or family visiting you from everywhere around the world, you will be able to show them around! It’s such a great feeling to be able to show them places they would not normally see if they only saw all the typical touristy sites.
I had a few friends from Germany come to Rome recently for a long weekend. It was such a great feeling to be able to show them around my adopted city: explaining the historical background of an ancient Roman site or showing them a hidden restaurant that you discovered.
Being here for nearly a year has been amazing but I feel like it’s still not enough time. Rome is not called the Eternal City for nothing, after all. But hey, you get pretty close to getting a gooood taste of it 😉
*For more info and pictures on life in Rome, in the JFRC and about the Rome Start program, like our page on Facebook!