Living Abroad in Italy
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 23:06
Back in January, when I left the United States and Suffolk University to spend a semester in Rome at John Cabot University, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I was excited and terrified, and I definitely knew that living in Italy for four months would be an amazing experience and a ton of fun, but I never expected it to be such an amazing learning experience as well.
When I arrived in Italy I was thrown into an American university in Italy with not just Italians and Americans, but students from all over the world. During the course of the semester I learned so much about other cultures, other people, and, perhaps most importantly, myself.
Of course, I learned a lot academically as well; I took a class about the Victorian novel and learned the ins and outs of the way of life in the Victorian era. I took a class on The Great Gatsby and learned that F. Scott Fitzgerald was living in Rome when he edited his novel. I took a film photography class, and wandered around Rome taking pictures of anything that struck my fancy, and got to see the city in a completely new light. I also took a class on Italian cinema, and got to see how the Italian filmmakers view Italy, and then while I explored Rome, I stumbled onto places where the movies were filmed.
These classes managed to show me a side of Italy that not everyone gets to see, the side that tourists overlook and locals don’t quite understand. I got to view Rome as an outsider who is living there, and so I got the best of both worlds, so to speak.
I was also determined to get involved at my new school, as well as in my new city. I joined a belly dancing group at John Cabot and performed for students at the end of the semester. I also used every one of the schools computer labs, spent countless hours at the library, saw the drama club’s performance of Chicago, and went to numerous programs that JCU offered about how to get the most out of your study abroad experience. All of this made me realize how unique John Cabot University is, and how wonderful they are to their study abroad students. They have somehow managed to adapt to study abroad students’ desire to travel while also maintaining the standards of an American university. In other words, they allow you to still learn something while travel all over Europe.
In the end, that is what studying abroad is really all about; learning, and immersing yourself in a new culture. You get the wonderful opportunity to learn inside a classroom and outside of the classroom. The things you learn while studying abroad are things that will stick with you for the rest of your life, whether it’s important lessons like how to respect other cultures and live on your own, or smaller things, like the language (which I keep accidentally speaking back here in the U.S.). So to future study abroad students, especially those going to JCU, I say, dive in headfirst without thinking twice, because it will be the experience of a lifetime and you will not regret it!