Calling Rome “Home” for a Semester

Roma, the Eternal City, Caput Mundi… whatever you want to call it, that’s where I am right now.

It’s still weird to say after a month and a half, but I’m actually living in Rome. I remember receiving the email from the office of international programs last January confirming that I would be studying in Rome in spring 2017. I never thought this semester would come. But it’s finally here.

Living and studying in Rome is a bit different from a normal semester in Baltimore. Besides the obvious language change, the landmarks in this city are understandably different than what I’m accustomed to at Loyola and in Baltimore…

Some of my friends go past the Colosseum every day on their way to school. Personally, I pass a Claudian-era inscription during my walk each morning. Any time I want to take a bus somewhere, I usually go to Piazza Venezia, meaning I can see Trajan’s Column from my bus stop.

This Classics major is in heaven.

Kelly at the Colo2

I’ve met some really interesting people here: students from Loyola and the Catholic University of America studying in Rome, nice Italians on the buses and trains who have taken pity on me and my rudimentary Italian skills, and my wonderful professors here.

I’m glad that I’ve gotten the chance to meet the other Loyola students on this trip, because I’m not sure I would have met them if we were spending this semester on campus. I certainly wouldn’t have met any of the CUA students, so I’m grateful for this semester with them as well. All of my professors have helped me find excellent opportunities to pursue and museums to explore in order to enhance my semester in Rome. Whether with a class or on a weekend jaunt, I’ve visited some amazing museums, including the Capitoline Museum for just 1€!

The Roman Fora

A view of the Imperial Fora from the Palatine Hill.

In addition to meeting new people and seeing amazing art and monuments, I’m also learning a modern language for the first time in my life. Being a Classics major, I only study languages that have fallen out of use. While you can technically speak in Latin or Ancient Greek, that isn’t the focus of my classes. Here, I’m learning Italian so that I can survive and thrive in my new home.

On the first day, I couldn’t even form a complete sentence without a lot of miming and repeatedly asking “come si dice…” (I’m blessed that my host mother speaks a bit of English).

Trajans Column

Trajan’s Column, erected in 113 AD, to commemorate the Emperor’s victory over the Dacians.

Now, after a full six weeks, I can tell my host parents about my day, my plans for the upcoming weekend, and hold a decent conversation during dinner. And while I’m years (and about a dozen more verb tenses) away from fluency, I’m pretty proud of all that I’ve learned so far.

Living in Rome does have its “Just your normal weekend trip to the Colosseum” downsides. I’m starting to miss bacon and other American breakfast foods, considering that Italian breakfast consists of coffee or tea and a pastry.

I also miss all of my Loyola friends who aren’t studying abroad or who are studying abroad in other countries.

But I suppose, in the end, these are some cons to living in Rome that I can deal with for four months.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I’m trying to wring dry.

(And if push comes to shove, I can always go to the American breakfast place near campus.)

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