Hey y’all– WAIT I mean, CIAO! I just arrived back home in Georgia after two weeks in Rome, Italy with EF Language Campuses. This trip was an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone. If you know me, you would know that I struggle with being independent *cough cough stage 5 clinger cough*.
Before going on this trip, I feared not having my parents’ hands to hold; I was terrified of being alone in a foreign country (I can barely go to Target alone so this was big for me). I know that I overthink everything and everything turns out okay in the end, but in this case, it turned out way better than okay. I packed up my bags and embarked on a two-week journey where I would learn Italian and all about the culture with EF ILC. I want to give you all my insight about this program from where I stayed, to what I thought and my advice for your next journey!
Also if you like to watch vlogs, I vlogged my whole trip in Italy! Feel free to click the links!
Piazza Venezia was breathtaking just like every landmark in this city!
I took a direct flight from ATL to Rome; it was about a 10-hour plane ride, but it went by quickly after watching all of the Jane The Virgin episodes I downloaded before my flight (my favorite Netflix show!) I arrived in Rome on Sunday, June 9th and was picked up by the EF Transfer. When signing up for your program you can add on an EF Transfer and I highly recommend it because it was already a lot being in a new place so trying to find a taxi would just be too much stress at the moment. The Transfer took me straight to my host family which was located about 30 minutes away from the EF School.
I met my host family and the moment I got there, they were so welcoming– they gave me my first Italian meal which was pasta amatriciana. I was nervous about getting around in Rome alone so my family took me out later that night and walked me through how to conquer the transportation and they even took me to the school to show me how to get there! It was really cool because throughout the whole week since they didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak much Italian, we taught each other a couple of phrases each day!
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking– “Two weeks in Italy? That’s not enough time to learn Italian!” I thought the same thing at first, but for me I had about three to four classes a day and I actually learned way more than I thought! Not only did I learn basic phrases and vocabulary, but while I was there I also learned verbs and grammar– although, I think my favorite class had to be the one that we learned Italian gestures! You can always choose to participate in a longer program. EF has programs from 2 weeks to a whole year so you can choose the program that you prefer. You can also get college credit for these courses! What’s really cool about this program is that you can start anytime you want, new students come to the school every monday and then get placed in the language levels during their orientation.
Coming into the EF program, I had NO background of Italian; I did have a couple years of Spanish which did help me out because some words are kind of similar, but overall I was starting fresh. The teachers teach the classes like a regular language course on a college campus, what I mean by this is that the teacher only teaches Italian IN Italian. I am not going to lie, the first day was a bit overwhelming because I didn’t know what they were saying, but I soon figured out all I had to do was ask for a little bit of help and translations and they helped me through every activity.
The class sizes can range depending on what level you are in and how many students are in that level at the time. For me, in the beginners classes there were 8 to 10 students in my classes which was the perfect size to be able to get the help you needed while also interacting with your classmates!
Classes were Monday through Friday but everyday was a different schedule– most days would start at 9am but some would start at noon and when we ended depended on our breaks and how long they were. For example, one day we had a 3 hour break and some days we had a 40 minute break! This was the perfect time to get something to eat in the city or explore the side streets. The first day you get to school, you will have an orientation where they give you a bunch of info and a special EF student ID that can get you discounts at a bunch of places, not only cafes, but also nail salons! Everyday EF organized 2 activities that you could choose to attend, some of the ones I went to were touring basilicas, famous streets and even taking a pasta making class!
This is where students can hangout between classes.
The best part about the school was their location! It is literally right in the heart of Rome– you can walk almost everywhere in less than 20 minutes (and if you can’t walk you can easily take the bus). My classmates and I walked to the Colosseum from school after classes one day and the Pantheon is just a couple streets over. I think it’s insane how there is something amazingly beautiful on every corner of the street! Just when you think you are walking down a regular side street *BAM* The Pantheon is just standing right infront of you! I feel like everything here is just like no big deal- but for me it was TOTALLY a big deal…a beautiful deal.
One of the activities that I did with the EF School was a pasta making class!
- My saving grace this trip was an app called Moovit. This app gives you walking directions to the bus stop and tells you when to get off the bus!
- Be open to making friends throughout the program even if you are with your friend from home. It is really cool to get to know people from different countries and you definitely won’t regret it!
- Try to connect with your host family early on! Basically if you are living with a host family, they are required to feed you breakfast and dinner, so try to eat with them majority of the time. Personally, I wanted to try all of the amazing restaurants in the city so I compromised with myself and only went to eat dinner out about 2 or 3 nights in the week and then ate dinner with my host family the rest of the nights.
- Fight the urge to take naps. Especially if you are coming from the states then you will most likely be hit with the worst jet lag so to fight this off you have to stay up through the whole day!
- Download the EF app. Don’t have storage on your phone? Make some because this will also save you! On this app you can see every piece of information from your school that you will need such as your schedule and the activities that are going on that day!
I made friends from all over the world from Spain, Mexico, Hangary, Swizerland, etc.
I feel like I can do anything after conquering one of my biggest fears. Even though I made many friends while in this program, there is nothing more liberating than traveling alone. I will definitely miss living like a local: taking the tram every morning, eating in delicious cafes, and walking around the city. Thanks to the EF program, this trip was truly an invaluable experience.
If you are interested in finding out more about EF International Language Campuses then you can click here. Oh, and did I mention… this program is not only in Rome, but it is also in 11 other destinations! Look at all the program destinations here. If you have any other questions, feel free to slide in my Instagram DMs and you can reach out to me! Buon viaggio!
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