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When I graduated from high school, my parents rewarded me with a trip to Rome, Italy. My cousin, Michael, was also in my graduating class and he was to go with me as well. I had always appreciated Roman history and could not believe I would soon be standing in the same places I had read about or seen in movies! Michael and I, and both of our fathers, could not wait for the trip!

Following a long flight over and a crazy taxi ride from the airport, we arrived at our hotel in Rome. Jet lag overtook Michael and I, but once we awoke we immediately hit the streets.

We began by visiting the Roman Forum. Walking along the remains of government buildings, shopping centers, and other ruins it really stirred by imagination as what life may have been like in that time period. In many ways, much of our culture today is still the same as it was then.

Following the Forum, we headed to the Colosseum. Movies, television shows, and books pale in comparison to the true magnitude and awe of the Colosseum. It was incredible to think that this structure was still standing after so many years and that it had once held between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators. Taking a tour of the amphitheater, I learned that it had once been used to reenact sea battles and that they actually flooded the arena floor and brought in real ships to fight. It was fascinating to observe the underground tunnels that the arena floor had once hid from spectators – I could almost imagine people running around down there in the dark, preparing to be pulled up to the main floor. Michael and I also found it interesting that a pulley system had been installed not only to bring people and animals up to the arena floor, but also to pull large tarps over the amphitheater to provide shade for spectators or to help mitigate inclement weather. It was very easy to see how the Colosseum influenced the construction of large stadiums of today. The Colosseum was without question my favorite tourist spot in Rome.

A final stop on our tour of Rome was at the Pantheon, a temple built to all of the gods of Ancient Rome. The Pantheon is over 2,000 years old and despite being in continuous use since its creation, it has remained very well preserved. In fact, its dome remains the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. It was a fitting landmark for Michael and I to visit as the University of Virginia’s Rotunda – a structure we would pass every day when we later attendedUVa – was built by Thomas Jefferson to replicate the Pantheon’s “authority of nature and power of reason.”

Our trip to Rome was unbelievable. It was surreal to walk through the structures that the Romans had constructed so long ago. Seeing these ancient creations,while also enjoying the Vatican, the food, the people, and the modern day culture of Romewas truly wonderful. Michael and I learned so much on our trip to Rome and we both highly recommend it as a place to visit!


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    Hello, my name is Matt Robertson. I love developing new skills, helping others and traveling around the world. I’m a very self-driven, competitive and tenacious individual. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Economics. I now work as an Analyst within Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Equity Sales & Trading Division in New York City.

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    I desired a summer internship in 2013. Read about my accolades and attributes, and check out a video I made to help prospective employers get to know me better.

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