Name: Mary E. Coyle
Major(s): Journalism, Spanish
Program: Temple University
Where: Rome, Italy
When: Fall 2008
Favorite Course: History 2241
Highlight: Several metro stops from world history
Best Excursion: Fall Break to Dublin & Paris
Favorite Dish: Pizza Margherita
Next Destination: Oviedo, Spain
How did the location enhance your academic experience?
I had never taken an art history course before going to Rome. I loved that my first experience with what is essentially the history of art and architecture of the Western world was in a city with so many monuments, churches, and priceless works of art that I saw on a daily basis. Michelangleo wasn't just a name to me; I saw the Sistine Chapel and the David. I've stood in the Campidoglio and looked down across the Roman rooftops. When someone talks to me about Bernini, I can say that I've seen Apollo and Daphne. While waking up early for an on-site lecture was often painful and annoying, it's only later that I realized what an awesome opportunity it was to see something firsthand that many people can only dream about.
What was one challenge you faced? How did you deal with this challenge?
It was difficult to leave my family. As the oldest in a large family, I have been very much a homebody for most of my life. It helped that one of my good friends was also in the program, but the realization that I was very much on my own was just as often jarring as it was liberating. Weeks would go by when I wouldn't think much about them; then suddenly, a wave of homesickness would hit me for what seemed like days. All I wanted to be able to do was be in my own house, speaking with people who knew my language. I found that many students had similar episodes of homesickness, so it was easy to talk to them. Eventually, it got easier; by the end of the semester, I was just as sad to be leaving Rome as I was happy to see my family once again.
Submit a piece of your writing that you feel captures an important aspect of your study abroad experience (part of an essay, journal, blog, etc.).
My blog -- Postcards from Mare