Freshman year at John Cabot University is the complete opposite of a typical college year in the United States. My time in Rome has been incredible and unforgettable. At John Cabot, I’ve taken political science and international relations courses with students from around the world. Discussing fascism with Italian students or Russia-US relations with Russian students is one of the best learning experiences a student can have. The conversations I’ve had at John Cabot have been invaluable, thought-provoking, and special. Being in Rome during the United States election and the Italian constitution referendum vote taught me so much about international politics. Regardless of your major or academic interests, you will inevitably learn from real-life experiences and interactions at John Cabot.
When in Rome, you will surely somehow always end up at the Pantheon, eat the best thin crust pizza of
your life, watch little old men work in their art studios, wonder why so many stores are closed from 1 to 4 pm, try a chocolate-filled cornetto or two, learn that an espresso is called a caffé, be in awe of how some buildings are still standing, eat more carbs than you have ever consumed in your life, meet people from every corner of the world, and become a panino connoisseur.
During our time in Rome, my friends and I saw the canonization of Mother Teresa, listened to the Pope speak at the Spanish Steps, traveled to Paris and Athens, visited cities across Italy, learned some Italian, figured out how to grocery shop and cook for ourselves, saw amazing artwork, explored the Roman Forum, visited the Pope’s summer home in Castel Gandolfo, and fell in love with pizza from Dar Poeta (just around the corner from JCU!). Rome is the place to be if you are willing to take full advantage of your time.
Studying abroad is not for everyone – it’s for the adventurous and curious. It’s for those who want to see a new part of the world, meet new people, experience culture shock, overcome homesickness, and respect a new culture. Leaving home and venturing off to a different continent requires a certain sense of independence and responsibility. If you’re up for the challenge (and suffering through the visa process), Rome will undoubtedly exceed your expectations with its kind people, fantastic food, and breathtaking sights.
Rome is so much more than the Lizzie McGuire movie: it’s a place of eternal history, architectural beauty, and simple living. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have enjoyed this opportunity. Watching the sun set over Rome from the top of Gianicolo Hill and seeing golden light bounce off thousands of apartments and monuments while the sky turns a light shade of pink is an experience that makes Rome a place like no other. If you have any hesitations about coming to Rome, I would tell you to just throw them out the window and take the plunge. You won’t regret it.
Study Abroad Fall 2016/Spring 2017
Major: International Relations
Hometown: Ojai, California