In perspective: When to Rome, fall or spring?

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Matthias Andrews
is a junior math major and was a spring Romer.

Which is better, fall or spring? This is certainly a debate I am loath to start, especially since I live in a 50 percent-50 percent Spromer-Fromer apartment, and my parents, fall Romers in ‘85 and ‘87, have already written me out of their wills. You have heard all the arguments, but here is a fresh and humorous viewpoint about the serious advantages of going in the spring.

Romers of either semester have to deal with an oft-overlooked yet entirely too prevalent problem: other tourists. Unloading by the bus load, camera-happy groups seem to pervade every major monument and church as well as compete for spots in line for gelato and museums. Here, the winter weather, which can be overcome with a little stick-to-it-ive-ness, comes to the aid of the spring Romer. There are hardly any tourists around for the first three months, and thus, hardly any lines for anyything. A fifteen-minute wait in line for St. Peter’s Basilica during the spring semester could easily be an hour wait in the fall. Other tourists get a bit more annoying only during the very last couple weeks of the semester, when the summer sun tempts out other study-abroad students who spent the previous four months in a three-credit Italian-cooking class.

Another great delight of the spring semester is the option of staying in Europe into the summer. After accumulating a lot of experience and Rick Steves-esque travel savvy during the semester, it makes a lot of sense to travel to places without the added stress of classes. These summer weeks are really the best time to travel: The weather is quite good, tourism is still at a minimum, and you have a whole semester of travel experience under your belt.

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Sean Mooney
is a junior English major and was a fall Romer.

People will tell you, “Rome is Rome. You’ll have a good time no matter when you go.” They think that timing does not matter.

But let’s imagine:  You are camping, and you want to spend the night around the campfire. At what time would you like the fire to be roaring? 1) When you and your friends are full of energy and want to laugh, sing and tell stories around the fire? or 2) When you are tired and want to go to bed? Pretty obvious, right? Who would want to start the night with a pile of embers and end with a roaring fire?

Like a good campfire, the weather in the fall semester starts out great and then dies down. And, as with your campfire, it is very important that it follow this order. You don’t want to start off your night of camping with embers, and you don’t want to start your Rome semester with dreary weather; it’s a killjoy.

Though spring Romers may deny it, timing is important – and not only with regard to weather. As time passes, friendships solidify; cliques become more rigid. But after freshman year, they are still malleable. The earlier you go to Rome, the easier it will be to make new friends there. That’s why the fall class tends to have more class unity.

Finally, people grow up a lot in Rome – spiritually, intellectually and socially. That means that life at UD will improve drastically after your Rome semester. Why put it off longer than you have to?

Timing matters a lot. Go in the fall.

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