By: Lauren Hill, a junior at Auburn University
1. The Program. I walked into this knowing two friends from home but I was still a little nervous. I wasn’t sure who I was going to meet. I didn’t know if it was going to be cliquey or how people were going to react to each other. I can honestly say the people I have met here have been nothing but nice. Sure everyone has a group they will go to dinner with or go shopping with but that doesn’t mean they can’t hang out with other people. It can be hard when everyone is from all different states and universities but it makes it all that much better knowing people from all over. I think everyone has done a great job of just coming together whether it’s through community group, going to dinner, weekend travel or just hanging out. There is a very welcoming vibe and it has just been a great experience. I had no idea I would be almost done with the trip knowing I have met some incredible people and we are getting to share this amazing trip together.
2. The Classes. I definitely had no idea what to expect with the classes. I wasn’t sure if the teachers were going to be strict or if I would enjoy what I was taking. I thought I would only be doing school work and not have enough time to just explore the city. Boy was I wrong. The teachers are amazing. They are so passionate about what they are teaching you can’t help but be intrigued. I enjoy going to my classes even though sometimes it can be hard to sit in a room while Rome is waiting on you. The teachers understand that you are here for classes but also to explore and go enjoy life. Not to say there aren’t papers and homework but it’s different. It doesn’t feel like too much when you can look at your window and just admire where you are.
3. The Culture. This one is hard. You can read about what to do online or hear from other people but until you are here you don’t really understand. My advice is know the simple words: thank you, goodbye, hello, can you help me with. Those will go a long way. Most places I have been to are able understand me and I can understand them. By showing them you’re trying it goes a long way. A goal I set was try doing something different everyday. It doesn’t need to be anything big. It could be wandering a new place or trying a new restaurant. You will be able “to dive in” by doing this.
4. Travel. Don’t be afraid to go new places you have no clue about that’s the fun in it! In Europe it is so easy to travel place to place by train, bus or plane. Some advice would be have an idea of a few things you would like to do there before you just go to a city and don’t know what to do. Also make sure you book your housing before you book the transportation there. Ask people around you. People in the program have all gone different places and have great ideas what to do if they have already been there so listen to them.
5. Live in the moment. Today it is so easy to pull out your phone and just be engulf by what you are reading or seeing. Live in the now. You are going to see so many new incredible things don’t miss out because you aren’t paying attention. A word of advice for pictures, it is easy to just snap a picture but not really experience what you are seeing. Try and look around and live in the moment then take a picture. The picture will mean so much more when you remember your feelings when you were in that moment.
6. Don’t be afraid. You are going to try a lot of new things but be open to them. Have confidence crossings the busy streets. Don’t feel scared to ask for help if you don’t know what you are doing. Try new foods you wouldn’t usually eat back in the states. (That one is a lot harder than it looks for a picky eater like me but still try). Meet new people and create lasting friendships. Don’t take this trip lighting this is an opportunity of a lifetime you will remember for the rest of your life. I have created last memories with incredible people that I will always have with me. Going on the GO Rome trip was the best decision I ever made.