15 Things Only People Who Studied Abroad in Rome Understand, Because Umbrellas Can Have Multiple Uses

I'll be honest: When you're choosing where to study abroad in Europe, you really can't go wrong. Whether you're looking for a place known for the food scene, party scene, or a budgeted scene, you're guaranteed to find a temporary home perfect for your time across the pond. And for me, that place was Rome.

As an Italian language major and lover of gelato, it wasn't exactly a hard decision. And frankly, there are a lot of reasons that students choose to spend their precious time abroad in Italy's capital city: The delicious food, rich culture, deep-rooted history, romantic language, and breathtaking churches are just a few of the many reasons it's one of the greatest cities on earth. The perks of studying in Rome are pretty much endless.

When I look back on my college experience, my three months in Rome rank pretty high in terms of fond memories. After all, where else are drinks accompanied by buffets of food, is wine cheaper than water, and the food an endless smorgasbord of carbs? Sometimes, I still can’t believe I lived in a place where strolling along the Tiber River and snacking on a piece of pizza was a regular occurrence.

So for anyone else that had the pleasure of studying abroad in this incredible city, here are 15 things that only we can truly understand.

GIOLITTI WAS YOUR SECOND HOME

Seriously, a gelato a day policy is standard — if not required. You knew you reached elite status if the people scooping at Giolitti started recognizing you… #CioccolateFondenteForever.

you know that CLUBBING IS NOT A THING

Unlike your friends who studied in club-haven Barcelona, the clubs in Rome are few and far between — and virtually completely Americanized. For Romans, a night out means grabbing a bottle of red wine and posting up in a piazza — a habit worth adapting.

YOU STILL DREAM OF DAR POETA

Let’s face it: the food is undeniably one of the most incredible (and enviable) parts of Rome. From taking your parents to Maccheroni, to cheap eats at Carlo Menta, to Nutella-and-banana crepes daily from street vendors, it’s all brag-worthy. But the pizza at Dar Poeta? That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

...but you know it's possible to reach a point when you actually get sick of italian food

At cities in the US, you can find food — and people — of virtually every culture within a few blocks. You can grab an authentic Mexican burrito, Italian pasta, Indian curry, Japanese sushi, or Pad Thai within walking distance of each other. The intersection (or lack thereof) of cultures of vastly different in Rome: Roman culture is really the only culture with a strong presence. The city has some of the best pasta and pizza on Earth — but craving a burrito? Good luck.

you know that UMBRELLAS can HAVE MULTIPLE USES

For those of us who studied abroad fall term, we are all-too-familiar with the Starling migration, which formed murmurations across the skies. Thousands and thousands of Starlings swarm the sky every evening around dusk, raining down a spattering of bird poop virtually everywhere you go. The lesson? Umbrellas are handy for more than just rain…

and that FARMERS MARKETS > SUPERMARKETS

Why buy fruits or vegetables from the supermarket when, chances are, there’s a fresh market steps from your door? Run it under one of the abundant water fountains, and call it a day.

obviously, COFFEE IS A WAY OF LIFE

In a city where coffee often costs less than a bottle of water, it’s understandable that this beverage comes out on top. Rome’s got some of the best espresso in the world.

...but buying BUS TICKETS is OPTIONAL (KINDA)

Obviously, not paying can be especially tempting for broke college students who’d rather spend their money on 2-euro wine from Todis. But you run the risk of getting caught and being forced to fork over the equivalent of like 50 bottles of wine…oh, the decisions!

you know NIGHT TRAINS ARE THE ENEMY

Don’t ever take an overnight train. Just don’t.

and came to realize that LIMONCELLO IS ONLY GOOD THE FIRST TIME

Then, the combination of sugar and alcohol virtually burns your mouth every time you try to casually sip it.

you learned the hard way that ROMANS DON'T WANT TO SPEAK TO YOU in italian

The number of times I would attempt to speak Italian and get a response in English was, well, every time I attempted to speak Italian. As much as you might want to use your experience to brush up on Italian, it’s infinitely easier — and more beneficial — for them to respond in English.

and that those "SMALL ammenities" are NOT really SO SMALL

Large refrigerators? Dryers? Hot water in the shower? Toilets that flush normally? Elevators that aren’t from 1900? Let’s just say it’s a simple life.

but you know it's all part of the charm of THE ANCIENT CITY

Everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by thousand-year-old buildings, ornate churches, and world-famous monuments. It’s a little weird coming back to your home university and NOT passing the Pantheon on the way to class.

and most of all, you still believe rome'S THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH

Food, culture, history, and a never-ending supply of wine — what more could you want from a city?!

...and are already plotting your return

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News/Getty Images

I mean, can you blame us?

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