My study abroad experience in Roma, Italy was one that absolutely changed my life forever. There is one thing reading about an ancient place in a textbook, the structures, rulers, and overall history, but there’s another thing about being there and standing where these people stood. The opportunity to study abroad seemed too good to be true so I took it. I have always been interested in ancient Rome and the myths so this class would have been one I would have wanted to take anyway, not to mention it meets a few different general education requirements. However, when I heard I could potentially be able to go to Rome while studying it I jumped at the chance. When we spent ten days studying abroad, we visited places like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Villa Borghese, Vatican City, the basilicas of both Peter and Paul, and many more.

The Colosseum will forever be engraved in my head. Standing in the same place where gruesome battles to the death were fought by thousands of contenders and kings we read about in history books all over the world. The Roman Forum, a place where huge decisions were made, special people resided, and Julius Caesar’s cremation site. The basilicas of Peter and Paul are so incredibly immaculate with gorgeous frescas and holy artifacts. While all of these places were stunning, two places stood out strikingly to me. The first, and my absolute favorite part of the study abroad experience, was the Villa Borghese. Not only was the place an old home, it had been transformed to one of the most well-known art museums in the world. Every room was something to behold and our tour guide knew all the history behind every painting and sculpture. This place truly changed my perspective on art. The second place was Vatican City. Vatican City, filled with history, art, and the holiest of artifacts held new and beautiful information around every corner. My favorite part was Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel paintings. This was a holy place so we were not allowed to take pictures or speak but we were supposed to just take in its beauty. This shaped my outlook on the whole trip, by not focusing on looking at these things through a lens but by existing in the same places as what I was learning about and trying to imagine myself there.

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made in undergrad and I will always suggest it to anyone who is interested. This program was only ten days so I used it to test the waters so to speak about whether or not I should pursue studying abroad for a semester. I have decided that this is something I would love to do and am planning on studying abroad in the Spring of 2020 in London. Being able to learn about ancient Rome while being there was the best possible way to learn and was the best experience.

Melinda Loper is majoring in Biology (pre-professional). She spent Spring Break 2019 in Rome, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip for her Classics 1200 course. Melinda had the following to say about her time abroad, “Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made in my undergraduate experience. It really has shaped my new perspective of the world and all of the cultures it has to offer. I will be studying abroad again and would strongly suggest everyone looking into a study abroad experience.”

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