Ciao! Ambassador Briana Grubb Sends Her Love From Rome

A huge hello from Rome, Italy! I have been on my Annenberg Abroad program for nearly two months, and I have absolutely no complaints. My experience has been nothing short of amazing, and I have loved every minute of living in Rome.


I applied to the Rome program last summer, went through the interview process at the beginning of the following semester and was notified of my acceptance that September. The Annenberg International Programs Office has been, and still is, an incredible resource. They’ve helped me in navigating the visa application process, choosing an international cell plan, deciding on a no-fees credit card and narrowing down what to pack. Team members Katy Kelly and Cynthia Martinez even came to visit us this month. They sat in on some of our classes, and we got to share a traditional Italian meal with them.


My favorite part of studying abroad is learning about a new city, and country, with regard to communications. The Annenberg Abroad Office crafted a well-rounded course load for our program, so that we have down time and the ability to travel while simultaneously learning lots in intriguing classes. My favorite course—Italian Media: Popes, Politicians and Pop Culture—is taught by a professor who works in the Vatican communications office. Every other week, he takes us on a field trip to form a new “experience” somewhere in Rome. In our Made in Italy class, we learn about Italian brands, from Ferrari to Alitalia to Nutella. Additionally, we have courses which touch on the media surrounding migration and Italian cinema.


Before coming abroad, I was definitely nervous about the language barrier. I had over six years of Spanish classes under my belt, but I had never taken anything resembling an Italian class. After my arrival, many of those worries subsided. Twice a week we take an Italian crash course, learning the basics: ordering a meal, calling a cab, buying groceries etc. Our professor even takes us out into the real world to practice. We have been to the bar (what they call cafes in Italy), the market, the gelateria and to get a popular Italian snack, suppli. I now feel comfortable communicating with the local people and getting around the “Eternal City.”


Annenberg, in conjunction with our Italian school Accent, has planned numerous activities for us around the city. We have done the classics—tours of the Roman Forum, Colosseum and Sistine Chapel—but we have also gone off the beaten path. An architecture professor gave us a tour of Garbatella, a neighborhood where lots of working Italians live. We have had aperitivo with Italian students. We’ve heard from the top journalist on the Amanda Knox trial and from the co-founders of The Post Internazionale. I signed up for an art class, taught by two retired Italian  artists, and tonight we have a cooking class, in which will we learn how to make three traditional Roman plates.


Though I was pensive about traveling across the country and being so far away from home for so long before coming abroad, I now know that it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. The Annenberg program has been simply amazing, and I highly encourage anyone to reach out to the International Programs Office if interested in applying! 

Briana Grubb