Ciao everyone! I’m Raven and I am currently studying abroad in Rome at John Cabot University. I was lucky enough to get a job in the Student Services Office while studying abroad and I wanted to share my memories with prospective students about my Orientation experience. So I’m excited to be able to share my story and hopefully help anyone else who plans on taking the huge step to study abroad.
As a study abroad student coming from California to a new country and university, it can be very nerve-wrecking. The worst part of it was I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Fortunately, John Cabot University did a great job at making me feel welcome and giving me a sense of what to expect during my semester here in the eternal city. Even before I arrived in Rome the Orientation Coordinator from the Student Services Office was emailing me with pre-departure tips and useful information. As well as my Skipper, Cristian (my peer leader during Navigation 101), who emailed me about a month in advance just to introduce himself and tell me what we will be doing during my introduction to Rome. It was really helpful to be able to communicate with them before the orientation process even began. It kept me at ease.
When I first landed in Rome I just remember feeling like I was in a dream: to finally fulfill one of my main goals, studying abroad, felt amazing. I went straight to the Hilton Hotel (the meeting point for students attending John Cabot University) and my orientation finally began. When I arrived, with a small group of other students, two friendly Orientation Leaders signed us in and assigned us a yellow bracelet and schedule to follow for the next week. Then they introduced me to my Housing Resident Assistant who helped me through the Housing check-in process. It was nice to meet her as soon as I landed in Rome! The process was pretty simple: they took our photos for our JCU ID cards and we signed our Housing contracts. Soon after, we boarded a shuttle and were dropped off at our Residence Hall in Viale di Trastevere and we had some time to relax, meet our roommates and unpack our luggage before the mandatory Housing Workshop, where we received our ID card and information about the rules for living in JCU Housing. On our way out of the workshop we passed by the welcome reception with some snacks and drinks for the residents, but I didn’t stay long because I was too tired from the long day traveling so I went to my room to catch up on my beauty sleep (but I would definitely suggest going because it’s an easy way to meet so many other students).
The next morning I walked over to Tiber Campus to attend the JCU Information Session and Campus Tour. Although these activities weren’t exactly the most exciting, they were definitely helpful because all of the campus buildings are separated and it isn’t easy to find all the different classrooms and offices at first. I also completed my “Permit to Stay” forms, which is an Immigration process all students have to do in order to study for more than 90 days in Italy. Thankfully JCU provides free lunches in the Tiber Café during all of Orientation because they know you’re not going to know where to eat and buy groceries right away.
The next morning I attended Navigation 101 where my Skipper, a JCU Degree-Seeking Student from Milan, taught us how to get around Rome using all of the transportation options (train, taxi, metro, tram, and bus), and showed us the basic things we were going to need: post office, grocery store, banks and ATMs (called Bancomat in Italian) and Termini train station (the main train station in Rome). On Saturday we finished Orientation with a fun BBQ where I got to learn about all of the Student Clubs and Organizations on campus, like Athletics, the Cultural Program, and the Community Service Program.
Picture of Navigation 101 group with Skipper Cristian and Jessica in front of the Coliseum!
Although at first this may seem like a hectic Orientation schedule, in the end I’m glad I did it all! Now I am comfortable reading bus signs, and figuring out where I’m going on Campus and in Rome is a breeze. Orientation helped me feel like a real student at John Cabot University, not just an exchange student!