It's Time to Go Back to the Castle

This week’s post comes from East Tennessee State University MBA student Rayallan Fredericks, who embarked on an Intercultural Studies program with Accent in Rome. An avid and experienced traveler, Ray discusses how Italy was a truly unique and enjoyable experience.

It was June 4th, 2018, a week into my Accent program when I heard the best sentence…ever. It was about 11:45am in Montalcino just after our tour of  the Banfi Winery facility when our guide said “Okay, it’s time to go back to the castle.” It was my dream to hear those words because I have always wanted a posh lifestyle. If I had a vision board, having my own castle would definitely be on there. One of the reasons for choosing my MBA program is that I hope one day to have a better life with the opportunity to travel the world, as well as support my family.

This day at Banfi was one of the best days of the Accent program. The story of how two brothers started the winery after being importers in the U.S was inspirational. The different flavors of wine paired with the wonderful Italian lunch served in the castle was the perfect accent to this trip.

When deciding to go on the trip to Rome, I had no expectations. I have lived overseas before and have immersed myself into various cultures. I was born in South America, grew up in the Caribbean, went to school in the U.S., and lived for the last three years in Asia, so I pride myself on being a citizen of the world. However, Italy was completely different. The lack of skyscrapers, tipping, standard-sized cars, and fried chicken on every menu was a new experience that I needed. Every tour, including the Coliseum, Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano, Hadrian’s Palace, Galleria Borghese, and Tivoli were of VIP standard and facilitated an appreciation of all that Rome and the surrounding cities had to offer.

As we walked a lot, the aqueduct-sourced faucets scattered throughout Rome were greatly appreciated to quench our thirsts. The sampietrini of the cobbled streets added a unique path to destinations we had previously only dreamed about. While some of Rome’s popular destinations were pre-planned by Accent, some things were left up to us to find and enjoy. The Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast, under Ponte Sisto, and the Sistine Chapel were all part of my personal exploration and each made this journey completely worth every penny, drop of sweat, and foot blister.~Rayallan Fredericks, East Tennessee State University

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