Sadly, studying abroad is not all about traveling and fun fun fun; we are primarily here for school. The past couple weeks was our midterm season, so I was doing a lot more studying than sightseeing.
I probably should have mentioned all of this in the beginning, but I was so preoccupied with all of the exciting adventures that I forgot to mention, I am going to school too.
I go to an American University called John Cabot University right here in the center of Rome. It is a well-known school comprised of study abroad students and degree-seekers. There are about 1000 total students at John Cabot, and class sizes are usually around 15 students. We have two campuses (more like two buildings) where classes are held. The pictures look very lame, but inside is nicer and we have patios and rooftop balconies with great gardens and views.
I am taking 12 credits (4 classes) and I also have an internship. Here is a run down of what my classes are like:
Drawing 110: Rome Sketchbook: This is an elementary drawing class, but it is really nice because it is on-site. We have class once a week for three hours. Each class we meet somewhere around Rome and draw things that we see. By the end of the semester I should have a giant book filled with drawings of Rome. They won’t be very good drawings, as I have learned I am not the best artist, but they will help me remember Rome. This class also makes me appreciate the talent of the real artists. This is my adorable old professor:
Graphic Design 101: This is probably my favorite class here, because I get to work with all of the Adobe programs. This one time a week three-hour class actually flies by because I am so concentrated on the project that I hardly realize how long the class is. We work with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, PowerPoint and more. We do little assignments such as creating leaflets, charts and graphs, logos, brochures and lots more. We are now beginning to work on a project where we create a logo for a real client. It’s a fun class and something that will give me a little extra advantage in my career field. Here are a few examples of things I have made:
Art History 290: Ancient Rome and its Monuments: Of course I had to take an art history course in one of the most historic cities in the world. What’s even better is that I get to see in person everything I learn about because the class is on-site. Just like my drawing class, we meet at a destination in Rome, walk around and learn all about the ancient ruins and monuments. Right now, I could tell you everything you need to know about Caesar, Augustus and the ancient Roman Empire. The class is extremely interesting, but also very difficult and long. Like my two other classes, it is once a week for three hours, but unlike the others, this one seems to go on for years. Although our professor is very animated and obviously passionate about everything Roman, it is tough to listen to her strange (British/Italian/who knows what else) accent for three straight hours. She demands quite a lot from us. We have a test each week, several papers, a presentation, a midterm exam, final exam and term paper. She loves figuring out themes and connections and expects us to develop some of our own.
Communications 220: Media, Culture & Society: This is my only class I could take to fulfill one of my specific major requirements. Luckily, it takes the place of a pretty difficult course at Madison. This class is all about media’s roles and functions in society and the critiques of its performance. It’s not a particularly hard class because our only work is reading articles, but the midterm was tough because class had been cancelled four times (because the teacher was sick and for other reasons) and the test was pushed back twice. So, I was studying and then not studying and then studying again. Another tough part about the class is having to listen to the professor criticize my future career the whole time. It is a very anti-advertising course that basically blames advertising for making our society materialistic and consumer-based. But it hasn’t changed my mind about my career…I don’t believe advertising is all bad.
My schedule looks somewhat like this, except the Monday class got moved to Tuesday morning, so I only have class Tuesday through Thursday, which makes traveling a lot easier.
I live in the Gianicolo Residence, which is basically the dorm for the University. It is apartment-style, so I live with four other girls. I share a room and bathroom with my friends Emily and Kelly who I knew from Madison. Then two other girls (Kat and Alex from New York) share a room and bathroom. We have a very tiny kitchen and a living/dining room. Everything is from IKEA: our beds, furniture, kitchen appliances, lamps, and more. It is a very convenient location as it is within ten minutes of both campuses, but there are a few annoying aspects.
- The security is very strict and we have to swipe our cards in and out when leaving and entering (and the machine is usually always broken).
- Signing in visitors is a long process and they have to be out by 11:30 (so no overnight guests, which means when friends come to visit they have to get a hotel)
Some things I am still getting used to are no dryers (air drying is ruining my clothes), the bidet, sharing a room with two girls, no dishwasher (actually not that bad though), no freezer space (bye bye chicken nuggets), and a very uncomfortable bed (I miss my bed full of squishy pillows at home; here I have one very stiff pillow).