Jane Stallman Rome
Ciao da Roma!
Hi everyone! My name is Jane Stallman, and I am a junior Sorin Scholar studying Psychology with minors in Data Science and Italian. I am spending this semester abroad in the Fall Rome Undergraduate Program (RUP) in Rome, Italy! A little over a month has gone by since my arrivalin Rome, and it has been such an incredible experience thus far.
On the academics side, I split my time between the ND Rome Global Gateway and John Cabot University, an American University in Rome. One of my most enriching classes here in Rome is my Intensive Italian at JCU. Initially, I immensely struggled with this class. Many of the students in it are conversational, if not fluent, in Italian, and I have only two semesters of introductory Italian under my belt! However, I am glad that I chose to stick it out. In even just a month, my Italian has gotten so much better than when I arrived, and I have gotten the hang of the class despite the conversation level of the other students.
As for my other classes, I enjoy them immensely as well! My theology class is taught by a Dominican friar from Rome, who is extremely engaging and well versed in the theology of Thomas Aquinas. All Roads Lead to Rome, the ND requirement for all students, uses the city of Rome as the campus, and takes us to many of the most interesting historical sites throughout the city, including museums, churches, statues, and ruins. For this class, we toured the nearby Umbrian city of Orvieto, the Vatican museums, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, Santa Maria Maggiore, etc. Later this week, we are headed to a performance of Julius Caesar in Egypt at the Opera! For my last class, I am in a History of Ancient Rome class, which dives into Rome’s ancient rulers, conquerors, popes, artists and more. My classes really cover Italian history and culture from all sides, which is such an immersive experience to have here in Rome.
Beyond academics, I am having so much fun experiencing Italian and European culture through multiple weekend excursions. I have spent weekends on the Amalfi Coast and in Sicily, as well as a weekend in Munich, Germany. Rome has a bit of an endless summer happening, with almost every day since I arrived being sunny with temperatures in the mid 80’s! It has made for some great days at the beach in Amalfi and Sicily. In both regions, we took boat tours up the coast which taught us about the history of the area, stopped for swimming breaks in beautiful coves, and allowed us to explore many of the region’s port cities. During my weekend in Amalfi, I also visited Pompeii. In high school, I took Latin, and we talked a lot about the city. Next weekend, I am headed to Brindisi and Bari in the Puglia region, checking another region of Italy off of my list!
This first month has been incredible, and I can’t wait to continue updating this blog with my adventures.
Another month in Rome in the books! I can’t believe how quickly the semester is going. Rome is such a large city, I am still discovering new things every day. For example, I went to the Trevi Fountain for the first time this month! I also was able to explore a few more of the iconic churches of Rome, like St. John Lateran, Santa Maria degli Angeli, San Luigi dei Francesi, Santa Maria del Popolo, and Santa Maria Maggiore. With All Roads Lead to Rome, the art history on-site class we take here in Rome, we visited Capitoline Hill, Palazzo del Popolo, and Villa Borghese! Villa Borghese is a villa once owned by the Borghese family, a prominent family during the Baroque era in Rome. They collected massive amounts of art at their estate, which is now an amazing art museum. They have works by the painter Caravaggio, sculptor Bernini, and more prominent Italian artists. This was one of my favorite class visits up to this point! Also through this class, we had a visit to the Italian Opera. We saw Iulius Caesar In Egitto, which translates to Julius Caesar in Egypt. The opera was in Italian, but there was a projector with the translations, which made it much easier to understand. It also went along nicely with my History
of Ancient Rome class, where we learned about the life of Julius Caesar, including his civil war with Pompey and time in Egypt.
Also this month was one of my absolute favorite weekends abroad so far! A large group of the students at the villa decided to visit Sicily, Italy for the first weekend in October. We stayed near Palermo, the capital city of the Sicilian region. The city and surrounding area was absolutely beautiful. I ate some of the best pizza I’ve had so far! We took a boat tour along the coast of Sicily, which was an amazing experience. We got to swim in the crystal clear water, visit some of the iconic Sicilian beaches, and explore the coast lines and rocky caves. The next day, we went to the city center of Palermo. Since it was the weekend, we were able to visit Palermo’s large weekend market, where vendors sell fresh cheese, meat, vegetables, souvenirs, and more. We ate fresh mozzarella that was being made right in front of us, octopus with lemon (one of Sicily’s iconic dishes!), bacon-wrapped grilled chicken, fresh cannolis, and more. All of the food was absolutely delicious. We also saw many of the iconic sights of Palermo, like the main churches, the harbor, and the charming side-streets. One thing I absolutely love about living in Rome is being so central within Italy, and having the opportunity to visit so many different areas of the country on weekends! On the other weekends of this month, I spent one in Rome with my family, who were visiting for fall break. It was great to be able to see them and get a taste of
home! Then, I went to Puglia, another amazing region of Italy. We visited several towns, which all had so much history, sights and delicious food. The last weekend of the month, I finally left the country again and I met up with a high school friend in Barcelona!
That is all from me for this month, but I can’t wait to check back next month for another update!
Well, it is now the end of November, meaning I am quickly approaching the final few weeks of study abroad! But, before I get too sad about the end of this amazing semester coming up so soon, let me tell you about my experiences this November.
Once again, I was able to visit several amazing places this month. At the beginning of the month, we had a bank holiday, meaning that we had an extra long weekend without class. So, some friends and I decided to take a trip up to the north of Italy and visit Lake Como and Venice, as well as a day trip into southern Switzerland to see the Ticino region and the cities of Locarno and Lugano. Up to this point, most of my travels had been within the southern regions of Italy, so it was awesome to be able to see the northern areas as well. In Venice, we were able to visit the Guggenheim Museum, the Basilica of St. Mark, the island of Murano, and more. It is amazing how many different beautiful places can be found just within Italy! The city of Venice is built entirely on canals, and the architecture is truly stunning in person. After this northern Italy trip, we spent the following weekend in Paris, France. This was another one of my favorite weekends of study abroad, because we were able to see so much art, much of which differed from the art I have found in Italy. We spent several hours each at the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay, enjoying impressionist art, French revolutionary paintings, sculpture, architecture, and Renaissance art. We also visited the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sainte Chapelle, and Notre Dame. Also this month, I took a day trip to Florence, and spent Thanksgiving weekend in Budapest, Hungary!
Thanksgiving was definitely a weird time to be abroad, because the holiday is not celebrated anywhere but the United States! It did make me a bit homesick to see photos of my family gathered together for our traditional Thanksgiving family reunion, and I definitely missed having a huge Thanksgiving meal. But, being in the amazing city of Budapest for Thanksgiving was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything! At the Notre Dame Villa in Rome, my friends and I also did a ‘Friendsgiving’ the Sunday after Thanksgiving. At our Friendsgiving dinner, we decided to go around and say what we were thankful for, like a traditional Thanksgiving family dinner. Almost all of us talked about studying abroad and the people we have met and places we have seen here! While I definitely miss my friends and family back home, I am so thankful for the great friends I have met through this program, and all the amazing experiences that this semester in Rome has afforded me.
For now, I am focusing on soaking in the last two weeks in Rome, as I return to the United States on December 16th! We have finals coming up, so I am working to balance preparing and studying for those and spending time enjoying this amazing city and all the awesome food, architecture, art, and culture that it has to offer. I will check back in a few weeks for my final blog update!