No matter your major, studying in a city so rich in culture lends to both your academic life and personal life. Being a communication major in Rome allowed me to see things in a different way and use all my resources in order to enjoy every moment and learn to the fullest.
During the semester, I took Photography (PHT301FCO) and International Marketing (MKT320) at the CEA Center, and Graphic Design (AS 101) and Intercultural Communication (CMS 280) at John Cabot University. It was the perfect balance between theory and hands-on classes. I personally prefer the hands-on type of classes, in which you learn by doing several projects or going out in the city to explore -- hence my choices of photography and graphic design.
Taking pictures of the Sant'Angelo Castle during our night photography class.
The photography class at CEA incorporated in-class workshops with outdoor classes, which allowed me to practice my photography skills in several different environments while better acquainting myself with my study abroad city. It also inspired me to build my own photography website to display my work throughout the semester, as well as past work and future portfolio projects.
A big surprise for me was my graphic design class at John Cabot. I had the chance to work with an inspiring and talented professor alongside incredibly creative students. I was introduced to the basics of visual communication and learned about a broad spectrum of different design disciplines and how this can be an effective and powerful tool for business. Another positive takeaway was learning about and using some of the Adobe software, such as Illustrator and InDesign.
Where I pass by every morning when going to my graphic design class.
Studying abroad is a dream come true, but sometimes, the thought of not being in an American university might hit you and get you down (for instance, not having a huge campus or large classroom sizes). However, if that's the case, do not let these thoughts consume you and distract you from having a great experience while abroad. You're here for discovering and opening your mind to new things, so embrace it! This feeling is temporary, and when you're back in the U.S., you might miss the things that made you uncomfortable in Europe at first.
Students hitting the books at the school library.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my classes this semester as they all contributed in one way or another not only to my degree progress but also to my life. Besides applying multiple communication concepts to my academic major and studies, I feel I can better connect with like-minded people and expand my horizons. I understand the importance of communicating well and with a purpose, as well as embracing my creative side.
Being a communication major and living in Rome were two great ideas!
Arrivederci Roma, ci vediamo presto! <3
Gabrielle Oliveira is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Photographer in Rome, Italy, and is currently studying at University of Texas at San Antonio.