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Home Sweet Rome

When initially deciding to study abroad, Rome wasn’t even on my list of options. I actually had been to Rome four years ago because my older sister studied abroad here so my parents, my brother and myself came over to visit for Thanksgiving of 2012. Though I really enjoyed my one-week vacation in Rome, I was sure that I couldn’t spend four months of my life here for a few reasons. First, I thought that the language barrier was too difficult and overwhelming. I spoke no Italian at all and stepping off the airplane to hearing nothing I understand even a little bit was really overwhelming. I also found Rome to be too ‘ancient’ and not have enough modern aspects. Growing up in a suburban town close to New York City, I was used to the big, modern city, not the old, ancient one. I thought that for these reasons, I would end up being homesick and not enjoying my time abroad which is why I was initially thinking about studying in Dublin or London (both amazing cities that were among my favorites to travel to!).
 My family Thanksgiving in Rome back in 2011!

Because of close affiliation my school has with CEA in Rome as well as knocking out some classes for my core requirements, I ultimately ended up choosing to study abroad in Rome. Although a bit hesitant and nervous at first, one of my good friends from school also was going to be in Rome so I felt a sense of comfort knowing she would be there too.
 Sunset over Villa Borghese with my friends

After living in Rome for about three months now, I can definitely say that this is the city I was meant to study abroad in. The language barrier has definitely been a challenge but an amazing challenge that I have learned so much from. Rather than being nervous about not speaking the same language in a country, I now feel comfortable even when I have no idea what everyone around me is saying. Taking Italian class four days a week has been a huge help, but what has helped even more is the interaction with locals, who have been so kind and willing to help when I am confused.

Not only has the learning a new language been an amazing experience, but also eating the amazing Italian food has been truly unreal. I thought I had some great Italian food in America before but once I got to Rome, I learned to appreciate the fresh, and delicious meals Italy has to offer. I probably won’t eat food like this for a long time so having these four months to indulge has been amazing.

Being a history major, I have learned about Ancient Rome in classes since middle school. We have discussed the Vatican and the Coliseum and their great importance on world history therefore physically seeing these structures has been truly remarkable. Living in the same history that I have been studying for so long come to life has truly been a dream come true.

Although initially, I did not think Rome would be the city for me, I am so happy that it was. While reflecting back on how I got here, the truth is I am not really sure. My experience goes to show that studying abroad, regardless of the city you end up in, is the most amazing thing one can do while in college. Regardless of how I ended up here, I am so lucky that I did and I could not have imagined my study abroad experience in any city other.

 Spending the day in Tivoli

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

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