One of the most historically rich cities in Europe, Rome is one of the most desired locations in which to study abroad. The URome program makes the transition from eating croquetas and drinking cafecito to eating pasta and drinking espresso nearly seamless. From housing to classes to weekend trips, UM provides a lot of assistant to ‘Canes going abroad.
Senior Adina Williamson was a part of URome during the Spring 2017 semester. A daunting aspect for some students debating going abroad is the language barrier. Going into the semester, Williamson didn’t speak any Italian, but enrolled in an introductory course. She was easily able to apply what she learned in the classroom to the cobblestone streets of Italy.
“We would go in the morning and get our espresso and croissant and we would try and speak in Italian,” Williamson said. “We had our little cafe that we’d walk to on our way to school and they would really quiz us on our Italian and try and speak to us.”
She recalled going on a wine tour in the Italian countryside when her mom visited her.
“We went to this old man’s house and he spoke no English and I was able to actually, like, communicate with him in Italian,” she said. “I’m not fluent by any means, but it was cool.”
Senior Dani Guerra did URome the same semester as Williamson. Guerra liked how the URome program allowed her to live in a foreign city while being with familiar faces.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I knew I would be out of my comfort zone … but I still wanted a group that I could fall back to, so I really liked the whole group of UM goes to Rome together component,” Guerra said.
Similar to Williamson, Guerra had no previous knowledge of Italian either, but as a Miami native, she’s fluent in Spanish.
“When I couldn’t get by with my Italian, I could ask questions in Spanish and they could somewhat understand,” she said.
She added that it was fairly easy for her to pick up Italian since there are similarities between the two languages.
The program is structured so well that neither of them experienced many hardships or homesickness while abroad. Another reason Guerra chose the program was that housing was included in the program and she didn’t have to look for it herself. Williamson loved that the housing options were apartments and not on-campus dorms.
“Our neighbors were Italian and you get the true authentic experience of being in Italy and shopping in a grocery store, having your own kitchen, doing that sort of stuff,” Williamson said.
The location of Rome allowed the two seniors to travel all over Europe. Guerra was torn between choosing Capri, Italy or Santorini, Greece as her favorite destination. Outside of Italy, Paris was Williamson’s favorite city that she visited.
“The culture and, like, the romantic areas and walking through the streets; I loved the rain,” she said. “It was so unique, unlike any place I’ve traveled before.”
One of the best parts about living in Italy is the food. Williamson’s favorite dish was bruschetta and Guerra’s was fettuccini with truffles.