Second semester Alumni Ambassador and junior at the University of Wisconsin Stout, Chelsea Mrozek, shares an article about her program's organized excursions during her time abroad with CEA in Rome, Italy during the summer of 2012:
When thinking about studying abroad, one of the first things that you think about is seeing as much as you can while you’re in your host country. At least for me, that’s one major thing that crossed my mind because when you start telling people that you are going abroad, they start saying things like, “Oh I had the best food here, you have to go!” or “If you want to see the most beautiful sights, I insist you visit this place!” So once you hear that, the wheels in your head start turning.
When I decided to go to Italy, I was looking at all the programs my school offered and when I saw that CEA offered trips for you while being with them, I knew I had to check it out more. Being I was in a summer term, I was only there for about 4 weeks for us to do everything. But CEA did a great job of giving us the full experience. We did a day trip to Florence, an overnight trip to Sorrento, Pompeii, and the island of Capri, and then an afternoon bike ride on the Appian Way in Rome. Knowing that I was getting trips like that with an instructor from my school and program, it was a no brainer! Now I just wanted to go on these trips or, excursions.
The first one was the bike ride on the Appian Way. It is part of the oldest roads made in Rome. We got to see ancient ruins, beautiful country sides, as well as riding on top of some of the catacombs. Along the way we also came across this little chapel so we decided to take a peek inside. Little to our knowledge did we know that we’d be stepping in a small capella group that belonged to the church; They sounded like angels singing. We didn’t stay for long but it was awesome to just stumble across some beautiful music. This ride took a couple of hours and was a great way to see more of Rome and its history.
Our second one was the day trip to Florence. We got to ride on the train so that was nice to see even more of the Tuscan area on the way there. Once we got there we hooked up with a tour guide and went to see the “David” statue; skipping the lines mind you! Then we went to see the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore with el Duomo, the famous markets, stocked with plenty of genuine leather purses, jackets, wallets, etc. We then went to lunch as a group, ate way too much then continued the tour and got to see more of the history of the city. After that, we got a few hours to roam on our own to shop and sightsee. That was a very eventful day and I still remember everything we got to see and do.
The third and last of the excursions was to Sorrento, Pompeii, and Capri. We got on a coach bus very early in the morning to head to Pompeii. Once we arrived there we got a nice tour of the ruins, got to hear stories of “what used to be,” and even saw the famous volcano, Vesuvius. That was a very hot day so once we got to have lunch after, we were quite happy. Once we had a little free time, it was back on the bus to head to Sorrento for the night. Once we got there and to the hotel, we had a few hours to explore before having a nice dinner at the hotel. So a few of us sat around the pool for a bit, explored the city, and even found an amazing overlook of the sea. Sorrento was absolutely gorgeous and I would definitely go there again. So after some fun that night, we headed to bed for our next adventure the next day.
So bright and early once again, we got our bags together to hop on the ferry to go to the island of Capri. Let me tell you, words and pictures cannot express the beauty of this island. The waters were a color turquoise like you’ve never seen and so clear; you could almost always see the bottom. There were houses and shops built up on this little island and boats surrounding it. Our group rented a boat for the afternoon, which I highly recommend to do if you go there! With this boat, we had an experienced driver who taught us about the island and other fun facts, and took us around the whole island. We got to swim in a breath-taking grotto, over a coral reef, and even got to see wild goats living on the rocky sides. After the boat ride was over we had free time until we went back to Rome. So some people went to the main beach, some went shopping, and some took a cable car ride to the other side of the island to a more secluded beach. It was nice to lounge on the beach and just take in the beauty of the reality we were living. That trip was so beautiful, I often dream of still being there.
All of these trips would not have been the same without our CEA instructors because having them there to show us around, give advice for restaurants, etc. was so helpful, we all enjoyed ourselves to the max. These excursions gave me some of the best memories of my trip and I know my fellow study abroad-ies would agree with me!
Chelsea Mrozek, CEA Alumni Ambassador at the University of Wisconsin Stout, CEA Rome Summer'12
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