Center for International Programs - Study Abroad

Student Profile: Natalie White - American University of Rome, Italy


Major: Business Intelligence

Minor: Economics

Abroad Program: American University of Rome (AUR)

Where: Rome, Italy

When: Fall 2012

Favorite Course: Art of Rome

Highlight: Visits to the Vatican and a Papal Audience

Best Excursion: The Almalfi Coast (Sorrento, Pompeii, Naples, Capri)

Favorite Dish: Pasta alla Carbonara, Nocciola Gelat

Least Favorite: Lasagna

Next Destination: Ireland, I hope!

What is one piece of advice you would pass on to a student who is about to study abroad?

Get to know your city! During Study Abroad, there is this overwhelming pressure to travel. I did have a great opportunity to travel cheaply to other cities in Italy and in other countries as well, and I made sure to take advantage of this by spending my fall break in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, as well as a few other weekends away. However, it was more important to me that I got to know Rome. I was initially overcome by its size and extensive sights to see. I was determined to learn about the historic city that I was in and to live like a Roman. I became acquainted with maps and the bus routes. I made a checklist of churches, restaurants, cafés, stores, ruins, and museums that I had to see. I found my local pharmacy, grocery store, favorite gelaterias and pizzerias, and piazzas to soak up the sun. By the end of my stay in Rome, I had fallen in love with the city.

Describe your most memorable experience while abroad.

My favorite day in Rome occurred when three other SJU girls and I decided to sign up for the 5K Hunger Run in Rome. One warm, autumn Sunday, we woke up early to make our way to the historic Circo Massimo in Rome. We started with an international set of runners and circled around Piazza Venezia, past the Victor Emmanuel Monument, by the streets of the Roman Forum, around the Coliseum and Palatine Hill while surrounded by thousands. Afterwards, we were invited to a barbeque at the American Ambassadors home on the beautiful Apian Way with other American students and families. We returned home, and headed off to an evening mass at the 5th century church of Santa Maria in the winding streets of Trastevere. We finished the day at our favorite pizzeria enjoying food and wine under the Roman sky.

Describe your living situation.

AUR places students in housing anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes walking distance from the campus, with a multitude of public transportation options. All of the SJU students were placed with one other St. Joe’s student and other AUR students, but I was less than one block away from the rest of the St. Joe’s students. The apartments were all very different, ranging from 5 to 6 roommates, with typically 3 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. We lived in typical residential apartment buildings, which included Italian families and an authentic Roman neighborhood setting. I never felt isolated from other Study Abroad students and made many friends in my building, but still felt as if I was surrounded by Roman culture. There is no school meal plan, but a multitude of food stores nearby, allowing for me and my roommates to cook together inexpensively. The housing required more independence than campus housing, but offers a true study abroad experience.