Ryan Does Rome

I am a sort-of rising senior here at Mason; I’ll be graduating in December.  I am a Global Affairs major with a concentration in International Development and an Italian Studies minor.  At Mason, I am the Art Editor of Volition, the undergraduate literary and art magazine.  Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do.  I knew I was going to do it; the hard part was just picking when and where.

Once I completed all the paperwork and processes, I was off to my destination!  This past summer, I attended session one of the summer school program at American University of Rome in Italy.  I miss it already and recommend it to everyone!

I took two courses:

  • POL 314 Conflict and Peace in the Mediterranean and
  • SOC 300 Sociology of Contemporary Italy.

I enjoyed both classes equally but in different ways.  Both spoke to my major pretty well so the topics were somewhat familiar, but I found myself learning something new every single class.

While the classes were amazing, it is hard to say that they were my favorite.  I loved experiencing the Roman culture and lifestyles (while getting used to “riposo” was difficult, I grew to appreciate it).  I almost felt like a true Roman after a week or two, once I was immersed in the culture of the sites, the food, the love-hate relationship Italians had with public transportation, and the general day-to-day life of living in Rome.  Also, being an art history buff, I absolutely loved exploring all the sites and museums that the city and nearby regions had to offer.

I was grateful that I speak Italian, and so were some of my classmates.  I found myself teaching them a few words …

To anyone interested in studying abroad in the future, do it! All you have to do is plan it out.  And, if the financial aspect is preventing you like it was with me, don’t worry, there are plenty of scholarships out there to assist!  Also, once your are at your destination or even before you leave the States, make sure to learn a couple of key phrases in the native language.  I was grateful that I speak Italian, and so were some of my classmates.  I found myself teaching them a few words, especially ‘where?’ and ‘how much?’ (or ‘dove…?’ and ‘quanto…?’).  Knowing these will help immensely when you are lost in Rome!

Actually, the best way to learn your way around Rome is to get lost! That way, you will find all the best stores and restaurants that are hidden in the off-streets you may have not explored.  Get off the main strip and out of the tourist area and explore; this is the only way you will get the true experience!

I hope everyone enjoys their study abroad experiences, current or in the future.  Have fun and be adventurous!

Life in Italy

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Nine Insights into Study Abroad

Guest post originally published for Patriotlife

by Achim Loch, Center for Global Education

1.  There are over 90 study abroad programs with the Center for Global Education (CGE)

No matter where you want to go, there are tons of options available to you at Mason – short term programs during the winter break and summer term: Semester and year-long exchanges, intensive language courses, internships, a semester in Florence and an honors semester in Oxford. In addition to existing partnerships, students can research their own destinations and participate in any accredited program. Study abroad will help you grow personally and professionally.

2.  Programs range from one week to a full academic year

Enjoy a summer or a whole semester, two weeks over winter break, or a full academic year.

Students pose for a group shot during an exploration of Pikillaqta this winter in Peru

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