The GoGlobal Blog

“Study” Abroad

“Study” Abroad

With “study” being the operative word in the phrase “study abroad”, I begrudgingly left the fantasy Italian vacation to which I had become happily accustomed and was forced to start classes last week. It was certainly a busy week overall. With  going to classes, making travel plans (I absolutely cannot wait for Spring Break!!), and the weekend trip to Salerno, I have sadly not had the time I felt was necessary to allot to a well written post – my apologies.

This semester, I finally have the fantastic schedule that I’ve yearned for all of my semesters at college. My usual semester consists of taking 6 classes which forces me to be in class every day of the week. Further proving that everything is better in Europe, I am currently only taking 4 classes. I am ecstatic about the fact that I attend classes only 3 days during the week (my excitement about this fact was slightly squashed by the realization that this is my brother’s schedule at DePaul every semester).  Nonetheless, I am quite pleased with the amount of time I don’t have to spend in the classroom. However, I doubt I’ll entirely mind going to classes this semester based on the fact that I’m going to classes here in Italy.

Having gone to a week of actual school, I have a few initial opinions on the classes I will be taking. My first class is a history course based upon the World of Late Antiquity. It is taught by the Dutch instructor I mentioned in a previous post. So far, he  proves to be an engaging and amusing speaker; he’ll frequently pause throughout class to tell us  that we need a cappuccino break (so awesomely Italian). I have always liked learning about history so I figure this course will be enjoyable for me. In the first week, we discussed Roman emperors who’s stories are nothing short of legendary. In Ancient Rome,there were 80 emperors in 49 years! Multiple emperors even tried rule at the same time before they would end up killing each other off out of sheer spite and boredom. Having only experienced US history courses at the fabulous Whitnall level, it will be interesting to see a different world perspective.

The next course I am taking is for my Political Science major. The class emphasizes the evolution of European Security in the post Cold War World, a narrow but interesting topic. However, I have some mixed feelings about the professor. I would be inclined to have great feelings of admiration toward him because of his background as an Italian ambassador and diplomat. With that experience, he obviously has amazing insight into the world of international relations. The downside is that he has been a little hard to listen to this first week. This is not helped by the thoroughly dense material we have been assigned to cover. All of the reading he gives us will seriously cut into my vespa riding time. I assume this class will prove to be most challenging for me.

My third class is called Art in Rome and I predict it will be one of my favorites. Every week we go to a different museum or site and look at Roman artwork (shocking isn’t it?!). This Thursday, we will be seeing the Roman Forum and the outside of the Colosseum…again (damn you Loyola, I WILL make it inside by the end of the semester). However, next week we will be seeing the Pantheon. In the meantime, we’ve discussed….columns. Not as thrilling as actually going to see artwork in person but I suppose that it is necessary to listen to boring lectures to be able to go out and explore later.

The final class  is Italian Film Genre. I predict that this will also be a favorite of mine, as well as a nice opportunity to relax and watch Italian movies. Christopher, be excited…we have a Fellini unit.

At LUC, I loved my Italian classes because the foreign professors were such complete characters. In 3 semesters of college, my most hilarious class stories came from Italian professors Antonio, Elana, and Alessia. But here in Rome, it wold be foreign to have an American professor. Excluding my Dutch history professor, the rest of my teachers are all Italian and all highly amusing. It’s hard for me to see how I can dread the mere 3 days of classes I have when I get to listen to all of these hilarious people.

Aside from classes, the previous week was consumed with making travel plans for the rest of the semester. This upcoming weekend we will be escaping the cold of Rome (and by cold I mean the 50/60 degree weather, sorry Chi town). On Friday morning, we leave to go to Sicily. However, the biggest travel plans we made this week involved our Spring break trip which will consist of 3 amazing cities in 11 days – London for 3, Paris for 3, and Barcelona for 4. Life is good.

At last, I am becoming accustomed to my neighborhood surroundings. My friends and I have discovered the local supermarket, gelato stand, and shoe store; what else do you really need? But this past weekend was spent breaking away from our neighborhood surroundings to explore a few new cities. As part of Rome orientation, Loyola took us to Salerno. On Friday, we left at 7 in the morning (so brutal) for the Herculaneum. Herculaneum is an ancient city which stands in the shadow of the mighty Mount Vesuvius. This antique world which once stood proud now lays in exotic ruin due to the destructive volcanic activity it has experienced over time. There were many areas we explored and it was crazy to compare that ancient Roman world to the one I live in today. There was a room that served as an ancient fast food station (pretty legitimate) but there was also a section where the Olympic games took place (and took place in the nude which just sounds complicated and painful). With the enormous tour group, it was a little hard to soak up all of the information the tour guide provided. This was made more exhausting because I felt as though I heard the same fact in every room that we went in. Our tour guide seemed like a very nice woman but I wanted to count how many times I heard one particular story she was thoroughly pleased to tell again and again. Apparently, enormous feasts took place every week in many of these rooms. The Romans would eat food and drink wine to the point of vomiting. After puking, they would repeat the process over and over again. Hmm, sounds like the habits of the typical Loyola student in Rome? Just kidding!

After the Herculaneum we left for lunch in Pompeii and then headed to the hotel in Salerno. The town of Salerno was adorable. It was a little less crowded and definitely more calm than the busy streets of Roma which proved to be a nice change. We happily spent the night out in this lovely new city.

Toward the end of the weekend, our group also visited Sorrento. Our plans were slightly hindered when the weekend weather turned to rain and put everybody in a bit of a foul mood. Good thing the shopping was mainly in doors!

And now I’m back at home (barely…the bus driver got a flat tire on the way back) and ready to start another week. I set some goals for myself forthe next few days: go to Trevi Fountain, figure out the bus system so another 3 hour session of being lost downtown does not occur ever again, and try to realize I am actually here for schoolwork, not just vacationing in this beautiful country. The third will prove to be the most difficult but I’m afraid the best way to start is to unfortunately get off this blog. Ciao for now.

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