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Study Abroad in Rome
It's national study abroad day! I studied abroad in Rome, Italy for three weeks taking a course on the Origins of Christianity, and wanted to share a few of my takeaways from my experience.
TCU Study Abroad in Rome
Benefits of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad was one of the most valuable experiences that I've had during my time at TCU. Taking the opportunity to move across the world, even just for a few weeks, opened doors to a world of possibilities. The people I traveled with became close friends and the bond that we shared traveling and exploring a new country is something that I'll always remember.
Studying abroad taught me to push myself out of my comfort zone. I learned to navigate my way through a new city with a different language. Daily tasks like getting directions, ordering food and having day-to-day interactions was an exciting challenge - especially using public transportation systems which are prevalent in Europe.
My Personal Takeaways
TCU Study Abroad RomeAs a Type A person and a natural planner, I struggle with spontaneity. It’s something I want to get better at, and studying abroad helped me learn to leave days to simply explore. I had two of those days when in Rome, which turned out to be some of my favorite days. I wandered around, exploring local markets, museums, parks and street food.
The other takeaways that truly stuck with me are the stories of students I traveled with. Meeting new people opened my horizons to some vulnerable conversations, allowing me to hear their stories and learn more about my peers in three weeks than I would have ever learned about them from taking a class on campus. It truly is a phenomenal way to get to know others for who they are and share some amazing experiences together. 
Tips on Studying Abroad
Another thing to consider – you don’t need to take a course that falls within your major! I’m a journalism and communications student, but I took a three-week religion course in Rome, Italy. I applied because it sounded fun and would still help me progress my degree further, but don’t limit yourself to an upper level class that only gives you a major-specific course credit. 

Do some research beforehand too! Create a few “bucket list” items for yourself of things that you NEED to do during your time. This can include a weekend trip to a different city in the country you reside in, or even a weekend trip across the continent to somewhere completely new! It’s always worth it to check out the possibilities that are out there.
Lastly, prepare for the inevitable side effect of studying abroad – a permanent travel bug. Since returning, I’ve wanted nothing more than to go back. Opening that door of opportunity is the best thing that you can do as a student, as it truly was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Ryan Thorpe is a junior double majoring in Journalism and Communication Studies. He is a competition reality TV connoisseur, loves garlic hummus with pita chips and is weirdly good at Mario Kart (but only on the Wii).