Abby Meckstroth Rome
Hi! My name is Abby Meckstroth and I am a junior Sorin Scholar at Notre Dame. I am an Architecture major and Real Estate minor. As part of the architecture curriculum, I am spending the year abroad in Rome, Italy, and will be here until May 2022! The Rome program sets Notre Dame a part from other architecture schools; it is truly unique!
I cannot believe that I have already been in Rome a whole month! Time has flown by already, but I have enjoyed every moment of it. I have been loving taking in all of the architecture, beautiful cobblestone streets, and, of course, the food!
Our classes are not taught in the traditional classroom setting. All of my classes are outside, walking the streets of Rome. We finally get to see the buildings we learned about back on the South Bend campus.
The hands on approach to learning allowed us the opportunity to travel to Naples for four days for our history course. We visited a variety of ancient ruin sites over the course of the trip. It is an exciting way to learn about architectural history! It
was also quite an intense trip. The days began at seven am on a departing bus and we wouldn’t arrive back to the hotel until past seven at night! We would spend the entirety of the days on site, looking at the ruins.
We are headed to the Tuscany region next, to visit Siena, Pienza, Lucca, and Florence! We are going for our studio course primarily, as compared the Naples trip was primarily for the history course. We will be looking at touring famous palazzos and more!
For me, learning about the buildings first hand has been the most amazing experience and I have actually learned about these buildings a lot more and feel that it will stick with me more than in a traditional classroom and lecture setting.
Our most intense course, studio, has also taken on the hands on approach. Our first project is dealing with the complex urban fabric of Rome and designing a palazzo on a real site. Being in the city itself, we are able to visit the site, document its conditions in real life, and do precedent studies from actual buildings, rather than photos like in the United States.
While in Rome, I have continued to do research, remotely, for Ohio State. For the stadia research group, I am traveling around Rome and Italy to document the stadia and athletic facilities. These buildings are located in Rome, Milan, Florence, and more! I am so lucky to be able to continue the research, and see these buildings in real life. This group, and being able to conduct the research in Rome, will allow me further develop and discern my architectural interests.
Rome has afforded me so much in my architectural development and education, but it has also allowed me to develop personally. I have grown a deep appreciation for the Italian culture. Learning about all of the cultural differences has been so interesting! Cafes, restaurants, stores, etc. all operate so differently from the United States, so it has been a learning experience.
Rome is a truly magical and rich city; there is also something new to discover and learn at every corner. I am so excited to continue on this adventure, learning about the Italian culture and architecture!
The month of October flew by! There was lots of traveling, which was exciting!
The first week of October we took a school trip to the Tuscany region and visited many cities. The first day we visited the country side towns of Montepulciano and Pienza. We ended the day Siena where we based for the first part of the trip. We spent the second day exploring the city of Siena, before departing for Florence on the third day. We spent the next couple days exploring Florence, looking at various chapels and villas. It is such an amazing opportunity to see and learn about these buildings in person compared to on a screen! We also took a day trip to the town Lucca. On this trip, our professors gave us lots of freedom to walk around and explore the towns on our own. Some of my favorite memories from the trip are walking around, simply exploring the area!
The second week of October was the fall break for Rome students. I actually flew home to South Bend for the week. It was nice to be able to see my family and tell them about all the experiences I’ve had while in Rome, and all of the cities and towns I’ve seen!
Since getting back from fall break, it has been full studio mode for architecture students. Our project is a classic Roman Palazzo situated within a difficult urban setting. This project is a challenge, but what an educational opportunity to be able to walk to the actual site of our projects!
We took another day trip at the end of October to visit Villa Lante and Palazzo Farnese with our studio professors to help us with our projects!
It was another amazing month abroad that flew by! I’m so excited for all of the amazing opportunities in the coming months!