I had been overseas before, but never to Rome. I had already heard so many great things about Italy in general, so I was excited about the opportunity. Plus, several years earlier, I advised my younger cousin that, if a study abroad opportunity came to him, he should take full advantage of it; I had to follow my own advice since the opportunity was right in front of me.
Reginald had not been overseas for several years and had never been to Italy. When the opportunity came for Reginald to travel to Rome, he had to jump on it.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I had already begun my own checklist of things that I knew I would want to have done prior to my departure for the trip. At the same time, I also relied heavily on the university's briefings. There was also an automated checklist which kept me right on track. As a result of that, there were no stones left unturned.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I would say to treat the entire program as one big adventure. I was in the program for five weeks and I would say that I had a total of five days where there was "nothing to report". Virtually every day something interesting happened that I found noteworthy enough to include in my day planner 'Daily Notes' page - and I don't keep a journal.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Class days run Monday through Thursday, so every weekend is a three-day weekend, which allows for independent travel throughout Italy or elsewhere in Europe. Since everyone takes only two classes, and each class meets twice a week, there is an abundance of time for studying and preparation each day. In my case, one of the two classes met every day, but I was still able to study and prepare because the professor made the class fun and engaging. There is also an abundance of opportunities for group activities through the week and on weekends.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
Since I drew on my previous experiences of being overseas, I didn't really have any fears. However, I did have a couple of incidents where things didn't go as I would have liked them to. The way that I overcame the obstacles was to simply remain calm and remember that there would always be someone who was at least willing to try to help. Regardless of what the final outcomes would be, I could still say "I was in Rome for five weeks."
You said that travel broadens the mind and changes one's perspective. How has this trip to Rome affected you?
I really appreciate how the Italians really enjoy each other's company and I saw first-hand that the shops really do close for lunch. I also love the language and how certain words sound when the Italians speak it. I am now determined to master the language and master linguistics so that I could "code switch" to Italian the same way I am able to do with the British accent.