When I initially signed up to study abroad, there were so many questions running through my head. I initially felt excited and overwhelmed by the different opportunities available at the Temple Rome program. Interesting learning subjects, weekend class excursions, teaching English to younger Italian students, internships and student blogging and photography… so many options! I encourage everyone considering this program to see what is available to you, but keep in mind you have to leave time for academics and traveling around Rome.
Now the semester is completed, and I have a broader understanding of the opportunities offered to various students. For everyone: look into a few classes that mention class outings and field trips. Make Rome your classroom. Take a class you wouldn’t normally take. Perhaps business students should look into an intro art class or art students take a history or culture course. I am a communications student with a business minor so I took two business courses (I recommend Business Ethics and Society with Cortese) and creative classes like watercolor painting, digital photography and a design course. What was really interesting about the Inside Italian Design class was the class outings we participated in every week. This class also had a weekend excursion in Milan, which allowed a tour of the city with a design background from our professor. This gave an interesting perspective into the city and a better connection with classmates. The excursion classes are more expensive, but the price is worth it for a class or two because you learn a lot about the background of a different city pertaining to your class’s focused study.
A lot of students participated in internships and Temple Rome is looking for more internships available for students with different majors. I recommend doing an internship if you need to add more to your resume; this feature can really set you apart from colleagues professionally. The main difficulty with an internship is it takes up a lot of free time. Consider the amount of hours an internship requires weekly when applying. Other opportunities to add to your resume include being an assistant teacher helping middle or high school classes learn English, or tutoring students individually. These sessions usually meet once a week and are a good alternative to internships. Also look into what the Education Abroad Office has for students, like blogging and being a student photographer to share your experience with others.
More advice I would like to share with you is not academic or of professional concern. It is about style and dressing in Italy. Like I mentioned, Rome was my classroom and Italy has its own style book. Be prepared to see a lot of dark colors, beautiful shoes and people wearing winter coats well into May. Italians like to dress warm and conservatively. When packing, I recommend bringing lots of layers for the unreliable weather and leave room in your suitcase to bring the Italian fashion home! A lot of my friends either had to buy a new suitcase or donate some clothes they packed to make room. So pack less and save enough room in your luggage for your purchases! With these tidbits of advice, I hope this helps in preparing for study abroad in Rome and elsewhere.