29 Aug Spotlight – Justin Carbonari
Justin Carbonari was a student of DeSales University in Pennsylvania and recently had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome. He was able to take unique classes like Ancient Mythology and Ceaser, Cicero and the Fall of the Roman Empire, while working on his photography, songwriting, and Italian.
“I was excited to come to Rome because I’ve always wanted to see how I felt in the home country. My dad’s Italian, and my last name sounds a lot like a famous Roman pasta dish (Pasta Carbonara), so I figured Italy was my spot.”
Justin lived in a quant apartment a stone’s throw from Trastevere, one of Rome’s coolest neighborhoods, and for the first time since he could remember, he didn’t have internet in the house. (Don’t worry, this is a relatively uncommon occurrence these days).
“Not having Internet in the apartment turned out to be a blessing in disguise. When I got home, I just relaxed, enjoyed company, and took things a little slower, exactly what I came to do in Italy. When I needed to shoot out an email or assignment, I would go to my local internet café, order a cappuccino, and do the Italian thing for an hour or two. It was a nice rhythm that I miss a lot.”
GANZO! – What was one of your favorite things to do in Rome?
Justin – Every Sunday right down the tram line, there was a giant flea market called Porta Portese. We’d start the morning with an Italian pastry and coffee, then check out our favorite 1 euro clothing stand where I found some real winners. I don’t know whose truck this stuff fell off the back of, but for 1 euro, I wasn’t asking questions. The people watching was amazing, and I’d often run into people from my program which made me feel like a local.
G! – Did you leave Italy for any weekend excursions around Europe?
J – For our mid-term break, a group of us went to the Czech Republic on a low-cost airline called WizzAir. It was only a two hour flight (compared to a two day train journey), and I got the round trip fare for under $100 US. Prague was amazing and I highly recommend Czeching it out. Dance on the Charles Bridge, check out the Old Town and eat as much Goulash as you can.
G! – What was your favorite gelato flavor?
J – Banana. All day long.
G! – What advice to you have for any students considering a semester abroad in Italy?
J – Working on your Italian can be a challenge, especially in the big cities like Rome. Waiters sometimes would talk back to me in English, but I persisted in my broken Italian, and they eventually gave in. Keep trying, stay strong, and the improvement will come.