Classes are officially underway at Temple Rome. The professors here are not only well versed in the subjects they teach, they also have plenty of valuable knowledge on Rome and adapting to the city. My professors happily go off topic to recommend places to visit and where to eat during our semester abroad. In a business and ethics course I am taking, there are PowerPoints with Italian expressions we should know to get by easily. The sayings ranged from ordering food by saying vorrei… meaning I would like… and how mi scusi is a polite way to say excuse me versus scusa while getting through a crowd. The class was warned that at least once they’ll probably walk into the wrong gendered bathroom or il bagno. Altogether, Rome is always included in part of the lesson plans.
So far my favorite thing about the courses here is that a lot of class time isn’t spent in the classroom, but throughout the eternal city. Classes are often going on field trips and meeting at different destinations. It’s great to see museums and monuments while having professors discuss the history behind them. In one week, I have been to three different places with my classes. My digital photography class met at the Colosseum to capture the ancient ruins while learning about exposure. The next day in the watercolor painting class, we spent the morning walking through the Borghese Gardens and painting the lake and other landscapes. Far better than sitting in a classroom, especially when it’s warm and sunny weather in January. A lot of classes go to museums, which is great when you have a professor who describes pieces in depth and allows time to freely roam around.
When it comes to getting to these outings, public transportation is often utilized. It’s not hard to get around Rome, although it’s not laid out on a grid system like Philadelphia or New York City. For all the Temple kids reading this, the metro here is just like Septa. Just think of line A as the Broad Street line, line B as Market-Frankford line and Termini as the City Hall transfer. Too easy. As for the buses, still trying to figure that out… go with a friend who knows what they’re doing until you get the hang of it. That’s advice I’m currently living by.
Even with easy access to public transportation, sometimes taking a walk to your destination is more rewarding. Go the long way home, take different streets and walk down the charming alleyways. I’ve noticed that’s how you find the less touristy spots. Try to find where the Italians go–it’s certainly not where people are calling out for your attention or have large pictures of mediocre looking pasta posted out front. The open air markets are great for food shopping. The produce and products are far fresher (and usually cheaper) than the supermarkets. Go bright and early to get the best selection, just like my friend and I did after going to the market at 7 a.m. after a long night of dancing and postponing our sleep. Maybe Rome is the city that never sleeps, but it’s definitely the city with great produce.