They say time is money and I have very little of either left. With just over a week remaining in the summer semester, I still have a million things I want to do in Rome. I took a trip last weekend to the beautiful Amalfi Coast, including day trips to Capri, Positano and Pompeii. For three days, I was acting like a tourist. With limited time in each place, I had to do everything I could to make sure I ended up with no regrets or fear of missing out on something. A friend commented, “I kind of wish we did this touristy stuff in Rome… We would have seen everything by now.”
This comment really stuck with me. She is right. Sure, I’ve already seen the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican and a plethora of other monuments. But I haven’t even gotten to the Trevi Fountain yet (it’s under construction, give me a break. I don’t want to be disappointed). I haven’t been to Alexanderplatz jazz club or really enjoyed Villa Borghese in its entirety. I haven’t gotten to a laundry list of other amazing spectacles Rome has to offer. With such little time left, every day counts. However, with two papers, a project and a final exam to prepare for, I need to spend a lot of my time on schoolwork.
My advice for future Temple Rome students is to see all of the monuments on your list as quickly as possible. It will be a lot easier at the beginning of the semester when your workload is less and everything is still entirely fresh to you. It is easy to fall into a routine. In fact, I love routine. I love the fact that I am not a tourist every single day. I enjoy going to the local grocery store and living in a quiet residential neighborhood. But at the same time, I do not want to go home with a long list of regrets. If you get to the main sites early on, you still have plenty of time to delve deeper into the culture of the city.
Travelling is expensive. I purposefully stayed in Rome for much of the trip for two reasons: I wanted to really get to know the city, and for the sake of my wallet. I consider myself to be a cheap person. I walk an extra ten minutes every day to the further away, cheaper grocery store so I can save under a euro every time I shop. Even so, I am spending a lot of money. I am happy to validate this with the justification that this may be the last time I ever go to Rome (though I certainly hope not!). If I ever do get out to the Trevi fountain, I’ll try to lob a coin over whatever barrier they have set up so I promise to come back.
Definitely start setting aside money as soon as you decide to study abroad. You will thank yourself later when you can afford to dine out rather than make store brand pasta with store brand tomato sauce for the umpteenth time this week. Thankfully, even store brand here is better than most of what we have in America. I have actually grown to enjoy eating unrefrigerated generic brand eggs every morning.