Student goes roaming in Rome

Ciao from Viale di Trastevere in Rome, Italy!

After 31-plus hours of traveling, I have finally made it to my new home for the next four months! I say 31-plus hours because the week before coming here, I visited my boyfriend in Guatemala for one week (Guatemala is absolutely gorgeous!), traveled home for one night, and left for Rome the next day. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

In four days I was in four countries — Guatemala to USA to Turkey (layover) to Rome. Going from country to country, my mind had kind of been set on being around people who don’t speak my language, and I knew I had to start getting used to it.

Stepping into the Rome airport, it didn’t feel as if I was actually there. It hadn’t really hit me yet. I guess mainly because I was exhausted, my luggage took forever to come out of the belt, my body felt like I had been in a sauna for hours, and I had literally been traveling for four days that it quickly became very familiar to me.

Just a few hours later I was finally in my Roman apartment on Viale di Trastevere just a few blocks away from my school. My apartment house has nine other individuals — giving me eight new friends right off the bat! Our tiredness overcame our excitement, therefore most of them slept for a few hours while me and Thalia, a religious studies major at UIW, took a stroll in our new neighborhood.

The streets and roads of Rome are so beautiful — just like we see in pictures, but better! The culture is fascinating but can take some time to get used to. The people aren’t like Americans — they don’t smile, and of course, they speak Italian. With all of that being said, I have considerably gone through a bit of “culture shock” just within these past four days.

Besides the natural orientation duties I had to attend, my week has consisted of walking for days from one place to the other and back. After orientation on Wednesday, Thalia and my new friend Lucy, from Peru, decided to find the Vatican. We googled it on our smartphones and noticed it was only a 30-minute walk from our apartment. Like seriously, how amazing is it that I get to say I live just a short walking distance from the Vatican. Pretty amazing!

When I noticed the tip of the Vatican from a distance, that’s when it all kicked in — I’m in Roma! Going to the Vatican has always been a dream of mine, and I finally have accomplished that goal. Now I can just take a plane back to San Antonio and finish my semester at UIW! Ha, ha. I’m kidding…

But being in Vatican City was so breathtaking — something some people can only dream of. Ultimately, I feel so blessed with this opportunity I can’t take any day for granted. So I said a little prayer in St. Peter’s Square, bought myself a Pope Francis medal, and we journeyed back to our neighborhood. That night I had my first official Italian meal at a restaurant called The Mirror. (I really need to freshen up on my Italian because I ordered the wrong kind of pizza that I wanted… but regardless, I was starving and it was good!)

On Thursday I caught up on some much-needed sleep and slept until 1 p.m., and shortly after we were on our way to a school-guided tour around the streets of Rome to get us knowledgeable of the city. This is when I saw the Colosseum, the ancient Roman ruins, and more beautiful architecture of the city. This city is amazing because it has so much history, yet it still has the modern touch — and the culture all in all is just tremendous.


I may have told you all about the miraculous things that have happened to me in this past week, but no experience is perfect so I will share with you some crazy things that have happened to me!

  1. My first day in my apartment I got locked in the bathroom because the doorknob fell off.
  2. Thalia, Lucy and I got kicked out of a church right outside St. Peter’s Square because we weren’t dressed modest enough. (They were wearing shorts and I had on a sleeveless top.)
  3. My Wi-Fi didn’t work the first night and I immediately regretted my decision to come here and study. (It was fixed the next day and I realized how ridiculous I was the night before.)
  4. Today I went to the market to buy some laundry detergent and ended up buying fabric softener instead.
  5. And naturally I cried for my family and boyfriend and the fact that I’m not at UIW this semester because change is something that gets to me.

Although all these things have happened to me, they are only going to make me stronger now and in the long run! I can’t wait to see what my first week of classes will be like. I can’t wait to see what the rest of Rome and Italy looks like. And I can’t wait to just generally grow as a person and a student during this semester.

Thanks for reading! Blessings to you all! See you soon! Ciao!


P.S. You can follow me on my blog for more in-depth stories on my journey J


E-mail Jasso at

Jenifer Jaffe

UIW Editor 2014-15

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