Walk Like an Italian
Allison, Rome, Fall 2015
October 27, 2015

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

I’m collecting travel pins!

Well, for Chicago being the largest city I ever visited before, I’m happy to say that I love life in Rome. After two months I feel like I’ve settled in enough where I no longer feel like an outsider. There are still many moments that catch me off guard, but overall, I know what to expect when I leave my apartment. Thankfully, navigating my way around Rome has gotten a lot easier. I’m not afraid to wander on my own while I’m listening to music and crossing the street feels less traumatic. I also seem to get stopped by people, perhaps visiting Italians, who need directions. Most times I’m not much help unless I can quickly catch a familiar street name or place.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

The Duomo stairs— I may or may not be a claustrophobic now.

I must look like a promising European now, or I’m “becoming Italian,” as one of my new friends likes to say. Either way, something must’ve changed in how I carry myself.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

Portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino by Piero della Francesca —I studied these at home!

As far as the language barrier goes, I’ve learned several useful phrases and gesturing with your hands goes a long way. There’s an elderly man and his wife in the apartment next door to mine and I usually run into him early in the morning at the elevator on my way to class. He always insists I take the elevator down instead of running the five flights of stairs and he refuses to speak any English to me during that time, which is ok with me. He once asked in Italian if I spoke Italian, but when I said ‘No, but a little,’ he made a face, waved his hand, and said ‘bah.’ He then continued to speak Italian, which sounded very fast and complicated, gesturing at the elevator walls. I decided he was talking about how cramped the elevator was and I mostly laughed through the whole conversation. The gestures were amusing and we probably looked like a pair of underpaid mimes, but it’s comforting to know that even though we both don’t completely understand the other, there’s still a way we can talk.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

Formations in the Frasassi Caves

A Maier - Fall 15 - florence

I can’t even imagine trying to drive in Italy…

My classes have been going well and it hasn’t been too hard to balance schoolwork and travelling time. Rome has basically become my classroom as a good portion of my class takes place onsite. I’ve explored places I never would’ve thought to visit in my photography and art history classes. My class examined the frescos in the Sala Paolina, a room where Pope Paul III greeted his guests of Castel Sant’Angelo and we visited the Vatican treasury to study several relics and study Michelangelo’s Pieta, to name a few. My photography professor also took our class to the old Mattatoio di Testaccio, an old slaughterhouse in Testaccio that’s been repurposed into an art gallery, to take photographs. I joke that my classes are daily tours that include notes and exams.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

Beautiful view of Assisi

Aside from school, I’ve gone on a few trips with my abroad program and I’ve planned a few with friends. A couple weekends ago we visited Florence for several days where we climbed to the top of the Duomo, I stayed in villa in Umbria, made Baci in a Perugina chocolate factory, visited the Basilica of St. Francis, and toured the Frasassi Caves.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

I saw The Comedy of Errors in the Villa Borghese Globe Theatre!

I’m still overwhelmed with the art and architecture here. There’s been so much to take in and it’s been hard not to geek out in front of a sculpture or painting that I’ve learned about back home. To see everything in person is unbelievable— textbooks really don’t compare to the real deal.

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

Making chocolate at Perugina with Emily

A Maier - Fall 15 - Rome

Archangel Michael fresco in Sala Paolina of Castel Sant’Angelo

A Maier - Fall 15 - florence

Meanwhile back in Winconsin…


Allison is a current student at St. Norbert College studying at John Cabot University in Italy during the Fall 2015 term.

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3 responses to “Walk Like an Italian”

  1. What a great experience for you!

    by Tom on October 30, 2015 at 5:45 pm

  2. Allie, Great Job, well-written, give you an A plus. I think you should write a blog every two weeks. We enjoy reading them. glad you are entertaining your folks Grandpa.

    by harry maier on November 1, 2015 at 12:02 pm

  3. So glad you are able to take in all that Rome has to offer!

    by Mom & Dad on November 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.