Italian Study Abroad Blog from Hornet Basketball Player Rebecca Speck

Blog By Rebecca Speck, LC Senior forward and a business administration major

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This summer I spent five weeks in Italy for a study abroad trip and it was one of the greatest experiences that I have ever had. I was so excited about this opportunity and I loved every minute. We travelled all over Southern Italy and Sicily and saw volcanoes and many cathedrals and beaches. We stayed in nice hotels all over the country and even experienced life in a hostel in Florence. We hiked up hills, including Mt. Etna, which is one of the most active volcanoes in Italy. We also had a four-hour tour of Pompeii and I could not believe I was standing in the exact place where the destruction of a whole civilization occurred.

We went on a boat ride off the coast of Sicily, and went into caves and jumped off the boat into the Mediterranean Sea. A group of us also went clubbing in Florence and we even saw a puppet theatre performance in Palermo. We also ate amazing food. It was the best pizza and pasta I have ever had and nothing in America will ever compare. I also had the best seafood ever in Sicily, especially the shrimp scampi. I shopped in all of the famous markets and I just loved experiencing a new culture and language that I picked up a few words from.  The beaches were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen and the water was the bluest I had seen.

My favorite city by far was Rome because on every corner there were ruins and artifacts and famous buildings. My two favorite sites that we visited were also in Rome and included the Colosseum and the Vatican. When I stepped into the Colossuem during my first day in Rome, I was astounded by everything I saw. I cannot describe how beautiful it is and I could not believe I was actually standing inside of the structure. I even visited the Colosseum at night and got to see the whole structure lit up underneath the stars. The Vatican was unreal because of its sheer size. Once we were inside I could not believe the amount of space it took up and all of the intricate designs of the building. The ceilings were unbelievable and were so ornately decorated. On my last Sunday in Rome, I travelled to the Vatican again and was actually blessed by the Pope. He stood out his apartment window and addressed the crowd in all different kinds of languages and he even said, "May God Bless You," in English. I never thought in a million years that I would ever see the Pope in real life.

 Another fun random occurrence was the fact that I got to see Ally (former teammate Allyson Cannella) in Rome, but for only a minute. The odds of this actually occurring were slim to none, but both of our buses drove by each other in Rome. Hers was coming into Rome and mine was going out of Rome. We both looked up at the same time and saw each other and waved enthusiastically out our bus windows at each other. It was tough to not get to actually speak with her, but it just made me realize that it is such a small world.

The experiences that I had and the people I shared them with are something I will never forget. I also had four amazing professors to share my Italian experience with and I learned so much from each an every one of them. Going on this trip was one of the best decisions I have made in a while and if I had an opportunity to go back I wouldn't hesitate for a second. I encourage everyone to attempt to go on a study abroad trip before they graduate because the experience is something that can't be described through words.