I consider studying abroad in Viterbo the best choice I could have made to fulfill the wanderlust of my adventurous soul. Besides, all the typical things that make Italy one of the best and most beautiful places in the world, Viterbo is unique in its own admirable way. I was drawn to this small medieval town because of everything that it had to offer. Not only does the city have an intricate and interesting history, but there was also always something to do; there was a constant calm buzz within the city. Whether it was seeing the magnificent transportation of the Macchina di Santa Rosa, or drinking some fresh vino from wine pouring out of a fountain, or enjoying the lively nights at bars and restaurants with friends, there was always something going on.
What made my experience so amazing was the locals, my wonderful host mom, finding small hidden corners, visiting the charming and romantic small towns around the region, and of course, the food. I fell completely in love with everything there – the people, the experiences, the moments, and even an Italian boy... Maybe you’ll also be able to live out your Lizzie Mcguire dream of riding on the back of an Italian boy’s vespa, just like I did.
I have been back to Viterbo four times since I studied there and that within itself shows just how much this trip has impacted my life. It has inspired me to travel more and has impacted my future aspirations. USAC’s motto is learning without borders and I feel I had embodied that completely (and continue to do so) because my experience has transformed the way I perceive myself and the world. I will always feel at home in Viterbo.
My number one recommendation is to connect with the locals because it helps you to understand the culture more and also gives you an opportunity to speak and practice the language. Along with that, make an effort: Italians love Americans, they will love talking to you! They are very friendly and welcoming. One of the things I loved about Viterbo was the close knit community. Everyone in town knew each other or would recognize you if they saw you out and about and would happily greet you.
Also, stay connected with friends and family from home. Communication is super important and everyone has loved ones back home thinking about them. I know my mom was always worried for my safety and wanting to know if I was o.k., a simple text saying ‘I’m alive’ was all she needed to feel at ease.
My biggest advice I have is to take each breath as new and stay present. Being abroad is hard – you’re doing things on your own and living in a completely different environment than you’re used to. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to enjoy events, outings, and interactions in the present moment. I had many friends that would be sad to be missing out in things back home and sometimes I had to tell them to snap out of it! I would tell them, remember what you wanted what you currently have? Try to remain present.