Getting a Good Start on Your First Year at John Cabot University

Getting a Good Start on Your First Year at John Cabot University, study abroad in Rome, American University in Italy, tips for first year in universityFall is upon us and with it the inevitable rush and excitement of back-to-school. And for students who’ve enrolled in a university in Rome, this year’s school start is even more exhilarating than usual. Whether you’re a new undergraduate, a study abroad student, or returning to finish your degree at John Cabot University, we’re happy to help you start the semester right.

We understand that some might be distracted by the stunning city of Rome, meeting classmates from all over the world, the unique campus culture and more. But there’s no reason why you can’t have it all, plus stay on track with your academic commitments. We’ve put together four simple (yet essential) rules for starting this school year right – and getting the most out of your time in Italy.

Make the Most of the Office of Student Services

The Office of Student Services has arranged a wide variety of exciting activities for this year’s new students arriving from 35 countries. Options include weekend trips to Tuscany and Campania, tours of Rome, and Italian cooking classes, among much more. Participating in these activities will enhance your experience at JCU and provide a better understanding of Italian culture while giving you the opportunity to make enduring friendships with students from all over the world.

Attend Every Class

Students sometimes think that the first couple of classes are sort of “optional” orientation sessions. This can’t be further from the truth. From the very first meeting, professors will be helping students understand the expectations of the course, handing out syllabi, introducing core study objectives, and helping students get to know each other. And in some cases, instructors will launch immediately into the curriculum, wasting no time sharing slides and having students take notes. Missing even the first class can be extremely disorienting for new students. Everything from not having a seat picked out to confusion over assignments can cause anxiety – stress you simply don’t need while acclimatizing yourself to new surroundings.

Use that Google Calendar

Ok, it doesn’t have to be Google. But the point is, if you’ve chosen to study abroad in Rome, you will have a higher-than-normal list of events to keep track of. A well-used calendar will help you schedule your readings, assignments, tests, and exams. Not only will careful planning keep midterm burnout at bay, it will help you know precisely when to schedule that weekend in Pompeii or a day of seaside lounging at beautiful Santa Marinella beach.

Meet the Teacher

No we’re not talking about those “meet the teacher” nights your parents went to throughout elementary and high school. But the reasoning behind getting to know your professors is the same. For students who aren’t the most outspoken in class, meeting with your professor during office hours early on can help establish an important rapport. You will feel more comfortable participating in class, and your professor will appreciate your commitment to working hard and doing well.

The best plan is to begin strategizing for the first major assignment. It might be a group project, a research essay, or a creative initiative. Prepare an outline of your ideas and then approach your professor during office hours. Not only will you gain useful insight about the assignment and ensure you’re on the right track, you will also have a chance to introduce yourself and get to know your professor. Feeling that professors really know them helps new students settle in faster and ultimately, do much better during the academic year.

Watch our student orientation video to get a glimpse into life at John Cabot University:


What else do you recommend to start off the school year right?

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