Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Study Abroad Experience

After being home for a month, I miss Europe. I truly miss my tiny and cramped apartment two blocks away from the Vatican; along with the freedom and independence of walking everywhere for anything and all the sights I was able to see in a short period of four months. Though I talked a lot about studying abroad tons of times; like in my study abroad tips posts, I want to put my experience in one, hopefully cohesive, post. 

Why did I decide to go abroad?
My college is very big on studying abroad, and with my major in architecture and history, it felt right to go somewhere other than a small college campus in the middle of nowhere to see real architecture and history. I went to some informational meetings about studying abroad, and found that going to Rome, Italy was the best choice for me. I was hesitant, though, for going across the ocean for four months, but I realized it would be great for my academic career, and for personal self-growth, to study abroad. 

What did I do for 4 months (one semester) in Europe?
A ton. I lived in Rome, Italy, but traveled to Cambridge and London, England, Naples, Pompeii, Pisa, Florence, Tivoli, and several other Italian cities. During the week, I had four classes; an Italian language class at the Scuola di Leonardo da Vinci, and three classes taught by two professors from my school back in the U.S. I studied architecture, art history, and history. In my study abroad program, our classes were taught in museums, churches, and the streets of Rome. When I didn't have class, I explored Rome. I took along my Rick Steve's guide and meandered through the different parts of Rome. I highly recommend getting a travel book and reading it before, and while, you are in your selected city. I think that if I sat in my apartment all day and only went to the same places, I would have been extremely bored and would not have great memories, and pictures, of historical and memorable places. 

Did you like Rome? Did you understand the language?
Yes and yes-ish. Before going abroad, I was required to take one course in Italian, and while I was there, I had to take another Italian course. Because of these two courses, and being surrounded by Italian speaking people, I could understand most, but not all of it. Though I could not fully understand everything, I was able to communicate with many Italians. I think because I learned the language, to some extent, I was able to enjoy Rome on a deeper level. Instead of just scrapping the surface, I was able to experience a lot more, which made me fall in love with the city. 

Would you go back?
I would hop on the next plane to Rome if I was able to. I loved living there so much, it was magical. Hopefully, someday soon, I would be able to go back and explore more, and visit other Italian cities I missed out on; i.e. Venice and Milan. 

Anything else?
If you are able to study abroad, do it. I mainly went because it was a new experience, and it fit in with my course work for my double major and minor. I loved Rome, and I loved being able to study abroad, it was just a great experience, and it was very fun. 

If you want to know more about my experience, don't hesitate to comment below. Stay tuned for posts about what I did in Rome, Florence, Pisa, and Pompeii; hopefully it will help you if you travel there!

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