Part of me still hasn’t realized I’ve been living in Rome for four months, studying abroad at John Cabot University. Although my home institution, University of Delaware, boasts an impressive list of study abroad destinations, I never thought in a million years I would have the opportunity to go abroad. I had never left the US before this trip, and my travel within the US was pretty limited. But one day, as I scrolled through the list of study abroad opportunities, something made me stop when I saw “Rome” listed, and after looking into the program more and researching John Cabot, I knew I had to go.
Flash forward to now, and I can’t imagine my life without this decision. I don’t even want to think about it. I love that I wake up in Rome every day and am just a quick walk or tram ride away from some amazing sights. Rome is so beautiful and so rich with history. It just has a distinct feeling to it that’s hard to name. When I have a free afternoon and I’m walking through the city, I can just feel Rome. Sure, it is similar to my home in some aspects, but I’m constantly finding differences from all that I’m used to.
For example, at the University of Delaware, the campus is in the center of the small suburban town of Newark, Delaware. There’s the typical college green, lots of brick buildings and trees, and a mid-sized campus with classrooms ranging from 40-person classes to 300-person lectures. Here, at John Cabot, I immediately noticed a drastically smaller scale. There are just two main class buildings, and all of my classes have no more than maybe 20 students or so. At first I was nervous about this, but it makes it so much easier to meet and get to know people in my classes. John Cabot doesn’t have the “East Coast Classic” college image with the brick buildings and the green, but it has so much else to offer. After class, I have wandered to the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Altare della Patria, and even Aventine hill and the famous orange groves with a view overlooking the whole city. There is no lack of magic to find if you just wander around and look for it!
Another huge advantage of studying abroad at John Cabot is the on-site classes. I am currently in Sketchbook Drawing, which meets at a different location in Rome each week and we spend a few hours learning about the site and drawing it. Just last week I was drawing the Roman Forum, and this morning I sketched inside the Basilica di Santa Sabina. I love that I get to experience Rome in this unique way. I’m not just a tourist going from location to location, hearing some facts about a monument and taking a picture on my iPhone. I spend time looking at the sites and really studying the little details about them. I would miss out on so much here if my professor didn’t take us to these different sites each week, and I am glad I am being exposed to more hidden gems of Rome beyond the well-known monuments.
I have only been here for three weeks and it is already too hard to sum up all the reasons I love Rome, so I can’t wait to see what else I discover this semester. If you’re considering studying abroad, I highly recommend it, and I believe Rome is the perfect place (but I may be just a bit biased)!
Study Abroad 2017
Major: Media Communication, Minors: Art and Interactive Media
University of Delaware