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The "Studying" Of Studying Abroad In Rome

The "studying" aspect of studying abroad may not be what is talked about most when thinking about living in another country, but it ultimately is the reason I am here living in Rome! The classes in Rome have been much different than the classes I have been taking the past two years at Providence College, a small Catholic school in Rhode Island. My classes at home in the past have been more focused on my major and I haven’t had the chance to really branch out as much as I would have liked to.

Lucky for me, I am taking amazing classes here in Rome through CEA that are really unique and so different than anything I have taken at Providence College. My professors are so engaging and really want us to enjoy learning, and to take in all that we can in our short time in Rome.

My week starts out on Monday mornings bright and early for photography class. I have never taken a photography class before, but got a new camera for Christmas so figured that it would be a good chance to learn how to properly use my camera. My photography professor is wonderful and takes us to a lot of different places around the city to capture beautiful images. We have walked through many different squares and churches and shared our photos in class to hear feedback. Learning how to use my camera in school is super convenient, let alone in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!


 A picture taken during photography class in a beautiful church
 A photo taken during photography class in the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. This is the reflection of the column in a puddle.

Every Monday through Thursday at 12 pm I have Italian class. Let's make it very clear that I don’t have any background in Italian and am unfortunately confused most of the time when attempting to interact with locals… but that is why we have Italian four days a week! I have been learning very quickly and am now able to have a basic conversation with someone using simple vocabulary. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, I will speak much stronger Italian and maybe even maybe to understand a full conversation… wishful thinking!!

Living in the eternal city, studying theology and art history are prevalent in every corner of the city. I am taking theology, specifically about the New Testament, two days a week. One day is set in the classroom and we take notes and learn about what we are going to see later in the week. The next day, we embark into the city exploring and visiting the sites we have discussed in class. It is so interesting to be able to physically see what we have been learning about in class each week and tying all of the different components together. Similar to theology class, art history also travels into the city and examines artwork and architecture from the beginning of when the city was built. The class meets once a week and we view beautiful frescoes, ancient buildings, such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. For these classes, Rome is our classroom. It is truly remarkable how lucky are to have the opportunity to see so much for our academics in Rome.

 Two friends of mine and myself during art history class!

The actual studying component of studying abroad has been truly remarkable. It is so different from going to school in the United States, as we are exploring the city and culture for homework rather than working in a textbook. The professors want us to have the best experience possible in Rome and make class exciting, entertaining and most importantly, culturally engaging. I know that looking back on my academic experience in Rome, it will be one of the most amazing semesters of my life and I will learn more than I ever thought I would have.


Katherine Mahder is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Rome, Italy. She is currently a Junior Providence College.

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