This is a guest blog from Brian Torbik who studied abroad with John Cabot University in Rome in 2012.

 I have wanted to study abroad ever since I was ten years old. At this time, my friend’s sister had returned from studying in France. Listening to her learning experience made me realize that I needed to study in another country when I was in college. Even though I was young, I was still able to understand that I could learn much from participating in a study abroad program. Now, I realize just how much I learned and how valuable this knowledge will be. Before I left for Rome this summer, I was extremely excited. I knew that I was going to have an amazing time, but I didn’t realize I would meet people and experience new adventures that would turn me into a better person. If it weren’t for John Cabot University, none of this would have been possible.

There are many other study abroad programs in Rome, but I am glad I chose John Cabot University for many reasons. One of these reasons is that I was able to live in the medieval neighborhood of Trastevere. Trastevere is probably one of my favorite areas in the entire world. I had never travelled to Europe before and moving to Rome could have been an overwhelming experience. However, Trastevere transitioned me into feeling comfortable in Rome. It is small enough that I did not go through any culture shock, but it is also large enough that I could do anything I wanted in the neighborhood. I loved testing my new Italian vocabulary at the little shops. I always found storeowners were happier when I didn’t immediately resort to English. I think that this communication can help me for the rest of my life.

 However, the most important reason why I loved studying in Rome at John Cabot is the people I met. The way the university housing system is set up, it is so easy to meet new people and make new friends. I became so close with this group of people in less than a week’s time, faster than any other occasions in which I met friends. I think it’s because everyone is kind of scared and anxious, but everyone also wanted to experience new things. It is great that the majority of students at John Cabot had a view like this because it made getting along with people so much easier.

All in all, I had a wonderful experience at John Cabot and I have missed Rome every single day since I have left. I know that I will be back to Rome someday because I feel a connection to the city that I have never felt to another city before. Hopefully I can bring my John Cabot friends with me so we reminisce about old memories and create some new ones.