The Top 10 Differences Between an American University in the U.S. and an American University in Italy

study abroad

Most high school seniors ask themselves the same question while applying for college: stay local, or move away?

For JCU students, moving away has a whole new meaning: leaving their country, continent, and culture for a different place altogether. While most college students adjust to living away from home, rooming with strangers, and getting lost en route to the dining hall, JCU students hear a different language daily, overcome cultural differences with roommates, and get lost in Rome’s historic neighborhoods.

Although JCU shares similarities with U.S.-based liberal arts universities, here are some differences between them.

1. Classroom Diversity

Like other liberal arts universities, our classes are small. However, they consist of students and faculty from over 70 countries; bringing diverse perspectives to discussions, and allowing our students to learn from more than just class material.

2. Living space

American students typically live in dormitories with shared bedrooms, mini fridges, microwaves, and communal bathrooms. JCU students live in apartment-style housing, with full kitchens, bathrooms, and study spaces. While most American dorms are near other university buildings, our students live next door to Italian residents.

3. Lifestyle

While college dorms in America are infamous for their lack of cleanliness on Sunday mornings, JCU students make international friends who prefer to spend weekends socializing differently—introducing American students to a culture where drinking to excess isn’t the norm. Plus, they become more capable of recognizing a quality wine!

4. Cafeteria

JCU’s cafeteria is traditionally American… in that it exists. Our daily buffet serves traditional Italian courses: primi piatti, secondo piatti, contorni, insalati, etc. Run by Italian chefs and featuring an Italian bar and buffet, it’s another reminder that our students aren’t in America anymore.

5. Culture

While many universities offer Greek life, acapella groups, and football teams, JCU students enjoy student service-sponsored cooking classes with Italian chefs, wine tasting classes with professional sommeliers, and play soccer against other Roman universities.

JCU students can travel to many places

JCU students can travel to many places

6. Trips and Activities

American students may visit friends in the next state, but JCU students travel throughout Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East on weekends. Of course, our students also travel throughout Italy—known as one of the world’s most beautiful countries for a reason.

7. Dressing for Class

Many American classrooms have students rolling out of bed and meandering to class without bothering to brush their hair. As John Cabot University is located in the middle of Rome, JCU students avoid glares and eyerolls from Italian neighbors and classmates by putting more effort into their appearance before leaving.

8. Activities Between Classes

In the U.S., students spend time between class eating at the cafeteria, studying in the library, or napping at home. In Italy, study abroad students stop for a cappuccino or gelato, go for a passeggiata through Rome’s historic center, or take a midday nap known as a siesta.

JCU students pass by many major Roman landmarks, including the Colosseum

JCU students pass by many major Roman landmarks, including the Colosseum

9. Sightseeing

In America, you may pass by your school library, an academic building, or the campus worship center while going to class. JCU students often live off-campus throughout the city, passing by the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Vatican City daily.

10. Personal Growth When You Study in Italy

College is a time of personal growth, whether at a community college or traveling across the world. However, when they study in Italy, our students overcome cultural barriers, learn a new language, and solve many problems that arise while living in a major European city.

Want to study at an American university in Italy?

Contact JCU for more information!

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