Studying In Rome: Week One

Studying In Rome: Week One

Well, not studying yet, but still learning
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As surreal as it feels, this Monday marks one week since I left home to spend the next four months studying in Rome. It feels like I just got here yesterday after leaving New York behind with my dad, carting four bags between us. The two of us have spent this week experiencing Italy for the first time while I went through orientation at John Cabot University, feeling like a freshman again.

Our flight left in the afternoon, last Monday, and the trip took close to 12 hours. It was my first time leaving North America, so it was also my first flight over water. Without human life beneath us as we passed over the ocean, the night brought complete darkness. I had almost given up on seeing anything from my window seat when I realized that without the light of the world's cities and towns over the ocean, every star was beginning to come out. As tired as I was, I spent hours staring out the window, watching the sky light up.

Our flight stopped in Paris for an hour, so we had just enough time to get through customs and grab a croissant. Not completely unsurprisingly, an airport croissant in France is 10 times better than any other croissant I've ever had. The flight from France to Rome also gave us complimentary croissants, though they were kind of cold and soft. The flight was short, though, and we landed in Rome around 9 a.m. (or 3 a.m., our time). The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the airport were the surrounding palm trees -- always a good sign when leaving an airport -- and that the sun was bright and warm. It became a little easier to be away from home.

That first day was spent exploring Rome and sitting in a hotel fighting jet lag. We walked through Trastevere and then crossed the Tiber at night, hoping to find some ruins. It turns out that ruins are scattered throughout the area, right in the middle of walkways and shops. We almost walked straight past Largo di Torre Argentina, where Caesar was stabbed, and ended up walking along the side of the Pantheon without realizing it until we had stepped directly in front of it. One of my favorite parts? Even though you're standing right in the middle of a city, the lights are not enough to blot out the stars. We could still see them scattered above the Pantheon and over the square.

The next morning was spent checking in at the school, getting my ID photo taken, and getting my new apartment keys. The apartment is on Viale di Trastevere, a main road about a 20 or 25 minute walk from each of the school's campuses. We took the scenic route through Trastevere's crisscrossing cobblestone streets, winding past churches and restaurants and little shops. By this point, it was the afternoon, so I figured I might find at least one roommate waiting, but I ended up arriving to an empty apartment. The first thing to catch my eye was the blue tile terrace that looks out on pine and palm trees and colorful homes and buildings cluttered over the hill across the street. The rest of the apartment is pretty spacious and open -- definitely enough to house seven girls, even though the seventh has not made an appearance yet. As the first in the apartment, I got first choice of the beds, so I grabbed one in the quad and started unpacking. I ended up meeting roommates as early as a few hours later to as late as the following night, until they'd finally assembled into a group of amazing and funny girls whom I can't wait to spend the next four months with.

Our orientation and exploring with my roommates and dad have brought me to various places throughout Rome, finding good food and ancient ruins, and I've still only seen pieces of it. I've had handmade pasta and seen the Roman Forum, learned how to actually say "bruschetta" and walked to the Colosseum. The city is huge, but small enough that the idea of walking never seems all that daunting. Classes start on Monday, my first being a figure drawing class and a class on writing about Rome, and even though I'm still a little jetlagged and missing home, I'm actually excited to make that 25 minute walk when the day comes.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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5 Places To Stay Near Ohio University

Graduation is approaching, book your hotels now!
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As graduation approaches, many will be traveling to Athens, Ohio to see their favorite Bobcat receive their diploma. There are plenty of options for the celebration following the ceremony, from mom-and-pop diners to the famous bar stretch. Find the perfect place to relax and refresh using this guide!

Here are the five best places to stay in Athens, Ohio:

As graduation approaches, many will be traveling to Athens, Ohio to see their favorite Bobcat receive their diploma. There are plenty of options for the celebration following the ceremony, from mom-and-pop diners to the famous bar stretch.Here are the five best places to stay in Athens, Ohio:

1. Hampton Inn

12 minutes away from the university, the Hampton Inn has free breakfast and a pool.

2. Ohio University Inn and Conference Center

The OU Inn is located on campus and offers pet-friendly rooms. There are two restaurants inside.

3. Baymont Inn & Suites

A great value, Baymont is an AAA-approved hotel with free breakfast and pool and is only 7 minutes away from downtown Athens. Cribs are available upon request.

4. Holiday Inn Express

The Holiday Inn offers a pool, fitness room, free breakfast, and is 9 minutes away from OU.

5. Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott

11 minutes away from the university, Fairfield Inn has an exercise room, pool, outdoor patio, and free breakfast. Seniors over 62 years and older can save up to 15% on their stay.

Regardless of where you spend your downtime, Athens, Ohio is a great place to be. Enjoy celebrating with your favorite Bobcat!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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11 Places My Fiancé And I Can't Wait To Visit

We decided to make a list of places to visit that'll satisfy both of our cravings for travel.​
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I have always loved the idea of traveling. I’ve been to Peru, Germany, and Austria. I haven’t been to many places in the U.S. My fiancé, on the other hand, has traveled to various states in the U.S., but has never traveled outside the country. We decided to make a list of places to visit that'll satisfy both of our cravings for travel.

I grew up in Naples, Florida and I’ve only traveled a few times in my life. I always loved long drives and trips to places I’d never seen before. About two years ago, I was given the opportunity to travel to Austria and Germany with FGCU professors and students. It was the best experience of my life. That trip only fueled my ambition even more to travel. Once Tyler and I met, we found that we both had the same attitude about traveling. We have made a few road trips to places in and around Florida, but we’re really hoping to travel further over the next few years.

The U.S.

1. Manhattan, New York

I know, I know, it’s a bit of a cliché, but I was born here. I believe everyone should visit New York at least once in their life. There’s a certain energy in New York that is unlike any other.

2. Long Beach, California

Along with our love of travel, we also have an interest in paranormal and eerie ghost stories. The Queen Mary is a haunted hotel ship that is located in Long Beach that has a reputation for being particularly paranormally active. Why wouldn’t we want to experience some scary stuff in our hotel room, right?

3. Essex, Vermont

This beautiful northeast city is home to The Essex, Vermont Culinary Resort. A cozy little lodge full of fresh air, beautiful room, and breathtaking scenery. Did I mention we’re also obsessed with staying in hotels?

4. Seattle, Washington

We hope to live here one day, so visiting the rainy city would probably be a good idea. Dale Chihuly, a world-renowned blown-glass artist, has an unimaginable talent that he showcases at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. The museum is full of his artwork that can also be found at Artis Naples. A great little piece of home to take with me.

5. Salem, Massachusetts

Another spooky addition to the list, Salem is known for the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century. It’s also full of beautiful landscapes and gorgeous changing leaves in the fall.

6. Portland, Oregon

Rumored to be one of the friendliest cities in the world, Portland is an art-filled gem with hole-in-the-wall restaurants, coffeehouses, and microbreweries. Needless to say, it’s a traveling must.

Europe

7. Leipzig, Germany


A smaller version of Berlin, this quaint city has the perfect combination of history and modernity. The nightlife is sophisticated and perfect if you’re looking for a quiet outing.

8. Gothenburg, Sweden

Full of art and history museums, Gothenburg is a beautiful Swedish state that can be a great alternative to the tourist-heavy Stockholm.

9. London, England

This is another cliché, but it’s London. Arguably the most popular tourist attraction in England, London contains Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the River Thames. Beautiful places to visit while on vacation, or "on holiday" as they would say.

10. Bruges, Belgium

This adorable medieval town in Belgium contains gorgeous religious structures that have stood the test of time. Though it's small, it is full of European history!

11. Salzburg, Austria

The hills are alive! Salzburg, Austria is full of history, starting with the Hohensalzburg Castle (pictured above). This 11th-century fortress sits on a large hill that overlooks the snow-capped Alps and the entire town. This is a worthy vacation spot that will leave anyone mesmerized.

Take some time to make your own list. Travel to the first place that pops into your head. Why not? Every new discovery contributes to a chapter in your life. Be ambitious!

Cover Image Credit: Carla Viera

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