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Once upon a Roman Adventure

When it comes to describing my study abroad experience, where do I start? I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now, and it is certainly not unrealistic to say that anywhere would be a good place to begin.
 
After two and a half years of college, I watched over ten of my friends study abroad across the world. From Prague to Australia, my friends had seen it all, and I knew that I wanted the same experience. After analyzing all of my options and considering where would be best for me to study, my family and I decided that there would be no better place in the world than in the center of western civilization - Rome.  A history major and an Italian student, this was a dream come true for me.
 
  Like many irresponsible collegiate men, I didn’t do much research or reading of CEA’s pre-departure paperwork, but from the second I got off the plane in Rome I knew that I was truly in a different world. The smells, the sights, the sounds, they were all something completely new and beautiful to me.  The CEA staff was quick to find me at baggage claim, and before I knew it was I speeding past the Colosseum and the beautiful buildings of Rome.
 
Shortly thereafter, I arrived at my picturesque apartment on Via Benaco. Moving in was easy –  the CEA staff was prepared to help me with any problems I may have had upon arrival. Within moments, I made two good friends. One of them was studying abroad from Canada, and the other happened to be a University of Arizona student, like me.
 
  Soon we were out on our own, walking around the city of Rome, exploring and taking in the sights. To be fair, I am not a big fan of walking anywhere, but walking around Rome is nothing like being back home. There is something about being in another country that makes it so much more enjoyable. By the end of the first day, we had met some of the girls in our program and prepared for our first night in Rome, one that would certainly never be forgotten.
 
As no one else in our group spoke Italian, I was the point man for communicating with the local Italians, who were always very friendly and easy going. I found that they love speaking to travelers and are especially fond of students who are studying in their city. So, for those of you who don’t speak your host country’s native tongue, don’t worry! You will be okay!
 
   Once we finally made our way to the Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps,) we got a chance to see the true beauty of Rome at sunset. Hundreds of onlookers sat on the steps and observed the beautiful sights and sounds of the eternal city as the sun set on the first of my many amazing days studying abroad.
 
TJ Venne is currently a senior at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, Ariz. He studied abroad in Rome this past Summer 2011.

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