Name: Kelly
Major: Int'l Business and Finance
Program: Temple University Rome
Where: Rome, Italy
When: Fall 2007

Highlight: Weekend trips to Capri and Venice

Best Excursion: Business in the EU class trip to Brussels

Favorite Dish: Carbonara


How did the location enhance your academic experience?

I decided to take my core art requirement in Rome, the History of Art and Architecture in Rome.  In this course we studied art from ancient Rome through the Baroque.  We met twice a week, once in lecture and once on site.  Although studying in Rome enhanced my academic experience in many ways, this one course really made me appreciate my decision to study in Rome.  Instead of just studying art by looking at slides or reading the textbook, I was given the opportunity to go out into the streets of Rome and actually see it in person.  I never knew much about art before going to Rome, and being a business student meant that this was my one opportunity to be exposed to an art course.  Because of my opportunity to study Roman art in its actual settings, I now have a greater appreciation for art, an appreciation that cannot be gained by studying art from a book.    

Describe your living situation. 

During my fall semester in Rome I decided to live in the Residence, which Temple helped to arrange.  The Residence was a small apartment building located just north of the Vatican.  It was a very residential area, maybe one of the only areas of Rome where you never saw many tourists.  The Residence was not only home to Temple Rome students, but also actual Italians.  At first I was intimidated to live in the Residence because of how residential it was.  Most of the local stores including the GS supermarket did not seem to like the fact that I was an American who spoke no Italian.  But with time, I learned enough to get through simple transactions and conversations.  If I had the opportunity to study abroad again I would love to live in a neighborhood like where I lived in Rome.  From day one I was forced to become emerged into the culture, and although it was scary at the time, in the long run it was very beneficial.  To speak more specifically about my room, I lived in a room with three other girls.  We had our own kitchen area, living room, two bedrooms, bathroom, and a balcony (which was my favorite part).  Everyone had their space.  The nicest part of all was that the Residence would take care of cleaning up your room.  They even made our beds every day.  So overall, all aspects of my living situation in Rome were great.  

How has this experience changed you?

I consider my study abroad experience to be the best decision I have made so far in college.  In my opinion, studying abroad is more than having good times, traveling, experiencing new cultures, etc.  These are all positive aspects of studying abroad, but the biggest thing I have taken away from this experience is a new understanding of myself.  I had never been that far away from home for such an extended period of time in my life.  I went for three and a half months without seeing any of my close friends and family.  I was forced to do things on my own, and although I could call home every now and then to receive advice from my family, for the most part I made decisions independently.  After my experience, I feel that I have grown up and matured more than I ever expected.  Before leaving for Rome my declared major was International Business because I knew I had an interest in international affairs.  After studying abroad I have decided not only that I want to stay within this major, but also that I want traveling to be a part of whatever I do in the future.  I am not content to look at my study abroad experience as a once in a lifetime opportunity that came and went.  I plan on making living abroad happen again in the future. 

What is one piece of advice you would pass on to a student who is about to study abroad?

 My advice for future students who will be studying abroad at Temple Rome is to be open minded as well as understanding.  There are many common aspects of Italian culture that can easily be taken offensively by Americans (for example: Italians do not believe in lines, so in order to be taken care of you need to be somewhat pushy).  Once you realized that none of their customs are geared negatively towards you, your experience will be amazing.  After your experience is over and you come home you might find that you have adopted some of these customs as well.  Also, be open-minded with the people you meet.  Talk to everyone and give everyone a chance because people that study abroad come from all different walks of life, but the fact that you are all taking this huge step speaks volumes about a person’s character.  I did not know too many people going into the program and when it came down to planning fall break I went with two people I didn’t know at all, and now they are two of my best friends.  Having a positive attitude in everything you do will result in having a positive experience while studying abroad.