I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to go to Rome, Italy to study abroad. It was only for 10 days, but I was able to see so much in those 10 days. I have always dreamed of going to Italy, just never thought I’d have the chance any time soon. Taking the Legendary Rome class was extremely interesting, and gave me the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.

While on our study abroad trip, we visited many popular places such as The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain (which is absolutely beautiful at night), Saint Paul’s Basilica, and Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. On Sunday, I was able to go back to the Vatican and hear the Pope’s Blessing, which he does every Sunday at noon. We also went to The Villa Borghese, which is sort of like the Central Park of Rome. Within the park there is a gallery called the Galleria Borghese which is home to so much beautiful art. The ceilings are painted in such a way that they look like they have been sculpted out of stone or marble and it makes them look 3D. This was one of my top favorite places and my favorite piece in the gallery was the sculpture The Rape of Proserpina (Persephone). It was sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1621-1622. The marble sculpture looks as though it is actually soft as Bernini shows the depth of how a person being grabbed looks. You can see how Pluto is grabbing Proserpina to take her to the underworld and you can see his finger indentations on her thigh. It is beyond amazing and breathtaking how detailed and life-like this sculpture is.

I chose this study abroad program because my top choice of country to visit was Italy. I never thought I would be able to go and see all that I was able to see, at least not any time soon. But this program made that possible and I am so very thankful for the opportunity to go. I learned so much about the Italian culture and history. It gave me a newfound respect for the culture.

This study abroad program is one that I would highly recommend to future students. You really learn a lot about the Romans and Italian culture/history. Plus the food is amazing!

Julia VanHooser is majoring in Criminal Justice and spent Spring Break 2019 in Rome, Italy as part of a faculty-led trip for a Classics 1200 course. Julia had the following to say about studying abroad, “Study Abroad is a way to learn so much, while also making dreams of traveling come true. It enables you to see so much of another culture that you might not get to see and experience otherwise.”

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