The weekend of my departure to Rome was extremely stressful, as I was scrambling all over the place to pack up my belongings while also prioritizing the opportunity to see some of my friends who wouldn’t be heading to the same city as I was. My early flight forced me to leave at 4 AM, which unfortunately didn’t allow me to see the beauty of Paris one last time. After the entire process of flying (including hours of waiting around), I had finally arrived in Rome! The weather was warmer and there was a completely different atmosphere than I had ever experienced.
Throughout my first week here in Rome, I was able to gorge myself into the legendary Italian cuisine while enjoying my proximity to ancient and historical sites. I was able to notice right away that the pace of life in Rome was completely different than what I had ever experienced. For starters, the city had a very laid-back, leisurely pace to it, which I was not used to whatsoever living in Chicago. Also, the streets of Rome would be nearly empty of both cars and pedestrians anytime after 11 PM, which I was very surprised by. Because of this, I was able to visit monuments like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps without a large crowd of vendors and tourists.
My neighborhood in Rome is Prati, a residential neighborhood right next to the Vatican City, and across the river from the iconic monuments of Rome. With lots of local shops and restaurants, I really enjoy being in this location. For this block, all the students of program live within walking distance of each other and to the classrooms, which was really nice compared to the longer commutes in Paris.
The course that I am enrolled in for this block is Politics of Religion, which I know I will really enjoy learning about. So far, the teacher has explained how the class will be largely based on discussion, which is something that I know I can benefit from. I am excited about this course because I would love to further my knowledge about other religions and I know that learning more about others’ beliefs and political and culture ideals will allow for me to be a better physician. In addition, we discuss hot topics that relate directly to my field, such as abortion and bioethics.
Rome has already been an amazing time, and I cannot wait to see what the weeks ahead hold for me! This weekend, I will be traveling to Budapest and Vienna with some of my friends, and I know that I will love learning about both of those cities!