Student Spotlight: Katarzyna Purzyckaf, Study Abroad Summer I 2018

My name is Katarzyna Purzyckaf. I am from Troy, Michigan and last December, I graduated from Michigan State University with a major in Human Biology.  In 2018, I had the incredible opportunity to attend Summer Session I at John Cabot University.

Katarzyna Purzyckaf

Ending Up in Rome

Even before college, I knew that I wanted to study abroad. Hearing about my older sister’s experience inspired me to pursue that opportunity myself. My home university strongly encourages students to study abroad and offers many opportunities to do so. Perusing various options, I was particularly drawn to Rome. The wealth of history and art within the city, the friendly culture, and Italian cuisine seemed very appealing. I really liked the course offerings at JCU and I wanted to take classes that would be immersive and focused around my new home. So, I signed up for an Italian language class and my Italian professor was the best foreign language teacher I’ve ever had!

In addition to learning the language, I wanted to learn about the city itself. I chose “Renaissance Rome and Its Monuments” as one of my classes. This was an on-site art history class, in which we took field trips around the city almost every session. We walked around Rome with our professor as he told us stories about the various churches, palaces, and other treasures we visited. I learned so much but it didn’t feel like studying because our excursions around town were interesting and fun. The professor gave us both informative art history lessons and fun anecdotes about the artists.

As a science major who had not taken an art class since middle school, I found the course an interesting and easily understandable introduction into Roman art history. Knowing the stories behind the buildings, fountains, and paintings really helped me to appreciate Rome and its incredible artwork so much more.

Life Abroad

Living abroad was an unforgettable experience. During my time at JCU, I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world, some of whom I still chat with frequently. It was easy to find people to travel and explore with. Living in the heart of the city, I could easily go sightseeing before or after classes and find many hidden gems I wouldn’t see if I were visiting just for vacation. I was right about there being something appealing about Rome. There wasn’t a single boring street. Authentic gelato shops, charming side streets, historic fountains in the squares…

In Rome, I learned to let life surprise me. Before my study abroad, I was a very organized person who did not like changes in her plans. However, after getting completely lost multiple times in the maze of narrow streets, I learned to appreciate the spontaneity of Rome. I stopped making checklists and itineraries and just let Rome surprise me. And it sure did: the time I turned a corner and saw the Vatican and its reflection glowing on the river at night, the time I wandered into an unassuming little shop with delicious cookies, the time I got lost in a park and wandered up to a gorgeous viewpoint of the city, and the many more beautiful surprises that Rome had in store for me.

I would highly recommend John Cabot University to future students studying abroad. The variety of courses, location, and the opportunity to meet people from all over the world make JCU a great choice.

I loved Rome so much that I decided to move back upon graduating from college. Using the connections I made while studying abroad, I found a job in the tourism sector. I was able to work in Rome for several months during my gap semester before medical school. Hopefully, I will be able to live in this beautiful city again some day. I believe that Rome has something for everyone. I highly encourage all prospective students and travelers to come to see what makes Rome my favorite city in the world.

Katarzyna Purzyckaf

Katarzyna Purzyckaf
Study Abroad Summer Session I 2018
Graduated in Human Biology
Michigan State University

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