This past January I chose to take the amazing opportunity to study at IES Rome for the J-term. Prior to this experience, I had only been out of the country once before and that was to the United Kingdom where they spoke the English language and the culture was somewhat similar to that of my own. Needless to say, spending a month in Italy was exciting but definitely out of my comfort zone. As soon as we arrived in Rome and settled into our apartments, I knew that this would be the experience of a lifetime and although I was still somewhat apprehensive, I was way more excited and intrigued by the beautiful city that surrounded me. I will never forget the first time I walked through the IES doors and immediately felt welcomed by the staff. It was obvious that they wanted us to feel safe to immerse ourselves into the rich Italian culture. Our class, The Advent of Christianity, further explored the creation of the Christian faith by studying the historical and religious impact of Jesus Christ along with the Roman empire and their involvement. Studying the origin of Christianity and the ancient empire in one of the most beautiful and historical cities is an enlightening and precious opportunity. There are multiple field trips throughout the course that included but were not limited to the Vatican, the ruins of Pompeii, the Roman Forum, and numerous catacombs. These field trips truly allow you to imagine the city and culture in ancient times. These first hand experiences along with the staff, the incredible teachings of Gianni Ponti, and the beauty of Rome as well as other parts of Italy were truly priceless. I am confident that no matter where I go or how long until I return, IES Rome will always be my second home. So I implore all to take this opportunity. Travel to Rome. Study abroad at IES. Eat all of the Italian food and carbs as possible and remember that there is always room for gelato!