Katlyn West - 2015 Program Participant
Inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
What attracted you to the idea of study abroad?
I have always loved to travel and ever since I heard of study abroad I knew I wanted to be able to live and learn abroad. I also wanted to be able to take some classes outside of biology and sociology.
Why did you choose IES Abroad?
All of my friends that have gone abroad went through IES Abroad, and all said they had a fantastic time. I knew that they were are good program and after speaking with the study abroad faculty at my school felt it would be best to do the January term program.
What was your favorite part about Rome?
Rome was a place I had never been to before but it was on my list. I thought Rome was fantastic because my class was based on the rise of Christianity so we could study something or a place one day and then visit it the next. It also is just an interesting place in general, and since I lived there for a month I didn't feel like a tourist; by the end of the month I almost felt like a local.
Gondola ride in Venice during a weekend trip
What made your program unique?
My program was focused on the rise in Christianity and with the class being in Rome it was absolutely perfect. We would spend one day in class studying something then the next day we would meet and go see whatever we had been talking about the day before. It was really about learning about the history of Rome and going out and seeing the history, not just reading about it in a textbook.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
The staff at the Rome center were fantastic, if you ever had a question or needed advice they always had an answer. I went to them multiple times with questions about transportation, the city, places to eat, and where to travel. They were always very helpful and genuinely helped me adjust to life in Rome. My professor at the Rome center was great and if we ever had questions on assignments he was always there to help. I even went to him about what to see in Venice and Florence during weekend trips and he gave me a long list of things to see!
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I had immediately started exploring the city at a fast pace. The first week we explored a lot but we didn't feel like we were in a rush. Then the last week came around and we started to realize there was a lot that we hadn't seen yet. I also wish I could have stayed in Rome longer!
Describe a day in the life of your program.
My roommate and I would get up early to go grab breakfast and a cappuccino before either going to class or heading to our site visit of the day. We would usually have class for about three hours with our professor lecturing on something that we would see the next day. Then after class was over, some of the class would go to lunch together then explore the city for the rest of the day, maybe grabbing a gelato when in need a good sugar rush. My roommate and I would grab dinner at our favorite pizza place then head back to our apartment to do homework, either going by the Pantheon or by the Vatican.
What did you enjoy doing on your free time?
I loved exploring Rome. Our professor showed us around a lot and would tell us places to visit when we didn't have class. Personally I loved walking around the streets of Rome and maybe stopping at little cafes for a coffee or for gelato. I also was able to travel to Venice when abroad and loved just getting lost in the small streets and canals of Venice.
My favorite place in all of Rome, the Pantheon!
What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it?
In Rome I lived with three other girls in a three bedroom apartment. Two girls were from my school in the States and the other was an Italian student attending university in Rome. The apartment was fantastic, very clean, and up to date.
The location was my favorite part about it, it felt like it was in the middle of Rome with easy access to the Vatican and IES Abroad office. It made for a quick walk to class in the mornings.
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
My time abroad really gave me more confidence in myself. I learned so much about traveling and seizing the moment when abroad that I don't waste a second of my time. When I travel I am not afraid to try to say something in another language or try the local transportation.