Living in Rome I feel that I have gotten to experience what the real life of an Italian has been like, instead of just experiencing the tourist attractions. Walking through the piazzas, alleys and narrow roads that make up the heart of Trastevere at night has exposed me to traditional Italian customs that I would not have seen otherwise. Just across the Tiber River lies the heart of Rome, which still after 3 weeks I feel I’ve just scratched the surface of. Beyond the traditional tourist attractions of the Colloseum, Pantheon, etc., there are ancient Roman ruins, Renaissance sculptures, and other hidden monuments to the cities vast history that I would not have found without having the time to just wander around the city and have certainly enriched my time in Rome so far.
The people that make up the SAI program, staff and students alike, are what have distinguished it from other study abroad programs. Lisa, Amy, and Karen have all been incredibly friendly and helpful in making sure we are aware of everything going on in Rome and addressing our concerns that come along with living in a foreign country. They have also managed to foster a strong sense of community and friendship amongst all of the SAI students, which has lead to strong friendships despite us all knowing each other for such short of a time. Because of this we’ve been able to organize group trips to the Amalfi Coast and Florence, which were both amazing.
The classes I have been taking through John Cabot University have further enriched my experience in Rome by providing information about the history and cites around the city I see everyday. My Renaissance art history class has been essentially to understanding the art and architecture present all across the city, as well as taking me to visit places and museums that I otherwise would probably have missed. My Ancient Roman history class has given me background info that has made me appreciate the fact that Rome has been one of, if not the, most important city in European history for almost 3000 years.
Overall, my time in Rome has been truly incredible, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to experience it.
William – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor