I had originally decided to study abroad with a friend but after she realized that she couldn't come, I went by myself. At first I was scared since this was my first time traveling outside of the country by myself but it ended up being one of the best decisions ever. ISA did a fabulous job matching me up with 3 other amazing girls who I still keep in touch with to this day. In fact, one of them is actually getting married next summer and we're all planning to visit her! If you can, I would suggest studying abroad by yourself because it truly pushes you to step out of your comfort zone. There were 4 other girls in my program who all came together and while it was probably nice and easy for them to do everything together, I hardly saw them taking advantage of interacting with the locals and the other people at the University and in the program.
I couldn't have chosen a better place to study abroad. Although the heat could get extremely irritating, the food, sights, and social scene definitely made up for it. Plus, I am Roman Catholic so it was really nice to visit all of the beautiful churches and see where the Pope lives.
Both the ISA staff in Austin and in Rome were very helpful and easy to talk to. When a document that I needed to submit was going to come in late because of a mistake my university had made, they didn't charge me a late fee. There was also the weekend when I got a bug bite on my eyelid which caused it to swell up. I was freaking out since I looked like Quasimodo but one of the staff members helped me calm down and brought me to a pharmacy right away. She acted as a translator so I could get the medicine I needed and it only lasted for 3 days.
The American University of Rome is a small but beautiful campus and I really enjoyed interacting with students from all over. I met people from so many different places, ranging from New York and Arkansas to Venezuela and Trinidad. I took an Art of Rome class which allowed us to visit new sites instead of sitting in a classroom which was a fun way to get a lot of traveling done. However, the public transporation in Rome isn't very reliable and there were plenty of times were I was stuck waiting for what seemed like ages. I also took an Introduction to Language and Culture class that was easy but very interesting. Overall, the classes were not very difficult and the professors were very sweet. However, not all of the classes offered at this University are the same. I had roommates who had 12 page research papers due and multiple presentations so it really depends on what you choose.
Although I was only able to study in Rome for a month, the experience never made me feel like I missed out on anything. Excursions are included and make up a majority of my favorite memories abroad. This is when I got to go wine tasting in Tuscany and swim through a grotto in Capri. Especially in the summer when there are hundreds of tourists fighting to get their best shot of the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, or the Colosseum, ISA's planning couldn't have been better. We hardly ever had to wait too long to get into a museum, our hotels were always in the heart of whatever city we were visiting, and our tour guides were always entertaining. With ISA, you truly get your money's worth and I highly recommend studying abroad with them.