Studying Abroad in Rome, Italy

Ciao from Roma! It’s springtime here in Rome, which means gelato, sunshine, and enjoying my daily cappuccino sitting outside! It also means tourists. Until now, I have experienced Rome amongst mainly, Italians. It has been the experience of a lifetime! I am studying with AIFS Richmond, a great program for any of you who are still searching for one! I have nothing but praise for AIFS Richmond in Rome. The program directors are amazing and are there for your every need. There are 65 students studying abroad with AIFS, and when we arrived the directors already knew our names! It is a very personable and friendly environment. Our school building is so nice – the classrooms have all the modern technology we are used to and there is a great computer lab with the comfiest chairs and magazines to read in your leisure time. Now, where I live. I cannot be happier with the apartment that the program arranged for me! I have 4 other roommates from the program, from all over the U.S. We live in an area of Rome called Trastevere (the best area to live in), a village-like community that features numerous family-owned Italian restaurants, a park overlooking the city, and great Roman nightlife. It’s only a 10-minute walk for me to school and the city center.

During my time in Italy I have made countless amazing friends, both American and Italian. Our program is made up of American students, but because we are scattered across the city, living amongst Italians, we get that cultural immersion. AIFS sets up a lot of activities for us to meet Italians our age as well – dinners, soccer matches, and movie nights. I have learned that I love the Italian culture… everyone is so friendly and laid back. On my way to Italy, I visited London where everyone was always on the go, hurrying to get somewhere. Italy is the complete opposite. People walk at a leisurely pace, take in everything around them, and stop to enjoy a view or talk to someone they recognize.

Italy, I think, is the most beautiful country I have ever visited. I have traveled all throughout Italy – to Florence, Pisa, Venice, Siena, Capri, Sorrento, Tivoli, and Naples. I’ve also visited England, the Netherlands, and Greece. I’m going to Croatia next week, and Germany in a few weeks. I never dreamed that I would be given this many opportunities to travel while abroad in Europe! Greece, I would have to say, is definitely my second favorite country to Italy. Ever since “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” I’ve dreamed of going to Greece, and I got to spend a week in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini!

My study abroad experience has exceeded my expectations, has exceeded my dreams! I am living in an ancient city where I get to walk by the ruins where Julius Caesar was killed on my way to school, have class in the Colosseum, and take field trips to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. If you are still trying to decide where to study abroad, pick Italy! You will not regret it for one second. If you want to see more about my travels, check out my blog at

Ciao for now!



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Where to Live in The Hague

If you’ve been looking into studying at The Hague University of Applied Sciences you have probably looked into the available housing and have probably come across the extremely helpful and descriptive (..sarcasm) DUWO website. DUWO is in charge of the student accommodations here, but the website is sort of tricky to navigate and not very helpful to exchange students who are trying to figure out the most suitable place to live. SO I will try to help you out by giving you a little description and some pros and cons of each location.

1. The Red Tower (Stamkartplein) — I’ve never actually been in this tower, but i do know that it is connected to the school, which is very nice since The Netherlands can be a very windy and rainy place. Also, this tower houses more than just exchange students, so you would have the opportunity to meet many more dutch students than you would in other buildings. One drawback of living here is that you have to pay for laundry and i wouldn’t consider it cheap ( 2.50 Euros to wash + 2.50 Euros to dry). Not to mention the washer and dryers are much smaller here so you’ll be doing more loads.

2. Waldorpstraat–This is the newest building and it has 3 and 4 bedroom flats and is also really close to campus, about a 5 minute walk. It’s located across from the Mega Store, which is convenient since thats where the grocery store and other stores are located. There are two towers at Waldorpstraat, but one is just for exchange students, so you won’t get to experience living with any regular Dutch students. Like the red tower, you’ll be spending a lot of money just to do laundry if you live here.

3. Amsterdamse Veerkade– This is where I live. I picked this apartment because it was located in the city center. There are both positive and negatives aspects to living right in the center of the city. The pros would definitely be that you are near all of the shopping, restaurants, bars, etc. and people are always out and about on the streets. I also have my own washer, so I don’t have to pay for each load. However, I have no dryer so I had to buy a drying rack. The biggest con to living here is that I have to walk a mile to get to school every day and even farther if I want to go to Waldorpstraat, which is where most people hang out. It is also kind of scary walking back to my place at night when its dark out, which can be as early as 5:30 in the winter. I think the biggest con living here is how outdated the apartments are– the website says they were built in the 90’s, but the appliances seem like they are from the 70’s if you ask me.  Despite the cons, I still enjoy living here.

So to sum it up, if you want to be closer to campus live in the red tower or waldorpstraat and if you want to be near the restaurants, shopping, and bars live at Amsterdamse Veerkade. All of the places are livable, it just depends on personal preference and I don’t think DUWO does a very good job describing the properties so I hope this helps a little 🙂


P.S. Nothing to do with housing, but here are some pictures from my trip to Sicily! It was beautiful.

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Free Time in March

It’s April in Germany and it seems summer is fast approaching. This past week has been nothing but T-Shirt weather, which makes me possibly the happiest person on the planet. The flowers are in full bloom, and the leaves are finally beginning to return.

Despite being in Europe, I have recently started a new internship in Kentucky, working for a start up company who actually emerged from the UofL entrepreneurship program – US Chia. March has been slow in terms of classes, because many of the students have this time off to work on their thesis. This has meant I needed to fill my time with other projects, so I decided why not make an internship while I study abroad? I have been mainly writing blog posts related to all the benefits of chia, and have thoroughly been enjoying the productive feeling. (I also highly suggest looking more into integrating Chia into your diet – it is quite the super food as I have found out!)

On another note, this large chunk of free time has afforded me the ability to do some extensive traveling. During March, I was able to visit Scotland, Portugal, and France. I was extremely luck with the weather in Scotland; it was sunny and gorgeous all three days I was there. I checked out the famous town of St. Andrews (where William and Kate went to school), and sampled the Black Pudding (can’t say I cared for it).

Portugal was just wonderful, and the people there are amazingly friendly; however I have been in Germany for the past 6 months, so anyone who smiles at you is friendly. That’s just a little joke though – the German people are actually on average much nicer than people make them out to be. Anyway, in Portugal we enjoyed 2 full days out on the beach getting tanned and learning to surf – well, trying to surf. I had some fantastic meals, and I was able to meet up with some of my Portuguese friends I made last semester, which was a real bonus. But if ever visit Portugal, make sure you check out the palaces in Sintra – the closest thing to paradise I have ever experienced.

France was also quite enjoyable although the weather was much colder. I am fortunate enough to have distant family member who own a horse farm/bed and breakfast in a tiny, rural village near Bordeaux. If you know me, you know I am a weird horse girl at heart, so it was great to get some much-needed horsey time. The first day we went on a five and a half hour trail ride, which my body was inadequately prepared to handle. Funny how much more difficult things are when you have had 6 months off from riding or really exercise in general. My body has recovered and it was wonderful to reconnect with my French family, although I was reminded of how it feels to not understand what people are saying. I need to learn some more French I guess…

Next week I have to get back to the grind of classes, but I guess that is what I am here for after all. That’s all for now, until the next time!