For me, this past summer was amazing in so many ways but also very different than my usual summers. It is the first summer in 21 years that I did not go home at all. I traveled to a few countries in Europe as well as some cities in Italy, but mostly I spent my time in Rome. While staying here, I started working and doing an internship that I am enjoying thoroughly. At times it was pretty lonely, not necessarily in a bad way, but it felt different than it usually does here in Trastevere. John Cabot’s student body is about 50% study abroad students and 50% degree-seeking students. Of that 50%, a huge amount of students are from other countries and other cities in Italy. So, just about everyone leaves in the summer.
During the summer there were rarely any familiar faces around the city or even in Trastevere, but everything changed during Orientation at the end of August. I was sitting on the steps in Piazza Trilussa, just around the corner from JCU, and there were so many people walking by – young people. I thought, “These are the new people!” and in fact they were starting Orientation. As Monday started getting closer, I began seeing familiar JCU faces again and it was so nice. It was so nice to see my own people back in town, and I know I’m saying “my people”, but the weird thing is that I haven’t even talked directly with most of these people. It is just a good and safe feeling to recognize faces while walking around. Trastevere is always one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Rome because it’s full of tourists, but since school started it has gotten louder- more chaos, more people, and definitely more happiness. I don’t know if the families that live around here feel the same way I do, but it is just perfect to have everyone back on campus.
The first two days of class were full of excitement, because that’s when I found out who was in my classes. Personally, I love my schedule! Lots of familiar faces in my five classes, and apart from that I feel that study abroad students bring more energy, different perspectives, and opinions that are always appreciated. Another thrilling thing during the first days or even couple of weeks is that you get to know the professors. Four out of the five professors I have are completely new to me. I don’t know anything about them or their courses, but I’m excited to find out! I am one of those people who does not normally ask other students about professors or check ratemyprofessor.com. I do this because I like to form my own opinions and thoughts about classes, and I believe that if they are teaching in this University it’s for a reason. I am beyond happy with the classes and professors I have this semester. It is so interesting to experience all these different backgrounds, countries, fields, and professional careers they have that it encourages you to do better in school.
For now, I hope that everyone has a semester full of learning (not only academically but also of personal search and growth), full of great memories with friends and classmates, of admiration toward one another and our professors, of discovering new places in Rome, of travel, health, laughter, stress (it helps you to learn how to deal with situations, but not too much!) and of course, love. Let’s all take advantage of our youth and do things we haven’t done yet: rent a Vespa and drive around Rome, visit a new country, make friends with locals.
Thanks for reading!
Victoria Barreda de Alba
JCU Class of 2017
Hometown: Reynosa, Mexico