Alexia Porto - 2012 Program Participant

The Piazza Venezia in Rome, Italy

The Piazza Venezia in Rome, Italy. Photo credit to Alexia Porto

Why did you choose ISA over other study abroad programs?

Honestly, I chose ISA because they had the only program in Rome that didn't have a language prerequisite. However, I'm extremely glad I did end up with ISA because the staff in Rome was simply wonderful. They were kind and willing to help us in any way.

You were a student at Arizona State University when you studied in Rome, what advice would you give to other ASU students going to study abroad in Rome?

Don't be concerned about not knowing anybody when you get out there. Even though I went to an orientation with a huge group of ASU students, I didn't know a single one. Don't let that freak you out. Look at it as an opportunity to start fresh and make even more friends. My closest friends from study abroad ended up being from different states. If you do know someone from ASU, don't isolate yourself. You're lucky you are going with someone, but you should also work on branching out and making other friends.

Why was Rome the best place to study abroad in Italy?

Rome was great because it's such a huge city. I think Rome is the best place to study in Italy because other parts can be quite rural. This is great if you want to stay away from tourists, but it can be quite limiting. Roma also has two airports and several trains going everywhere, making weekend vacations easy. Besides all that...IT'S ROME! From the Vatican to the Colosseum there's something epic in every corner. 

What was your favorite class in Rome?

Conversational Italian was probably my favorite class because I was able to learn how to converse with Italians, which was obviously useful. I wish they offered it at ASU!

How has studying abroad in Rome impacted your life after college?

It's hard to pinpoint what exactly has happened as a result of studying abroad. As more time goes on, I realize how much it has impacted my life. I now have three best friends from the experience, and although we all live in different cities (and even countries), we stay close and try to see each other often. I try new foods. It's a great ice breaker in interviews. I think studying abroad has made me more confident; not the kind of confidence where you can talk to a stranger, but confident in that I feel comfortable going to a foreign country and navigating the subway system or trying local delicacies. I also learned more about my heritage and family background while abroad. I went to a small town in Calabria where I stayed with distant relatives and visited my great-great grandfather's tomb and house! It has made me extremely well-rounded and I cannot wait to go back!