Shelby Raynor is a fourth year with a double major in Archaeology and Latin Language and Literature. Shelby spent the Spring 2016 Semester studying abroad in Italy and summarizes her experiences below.
I spent last semester studying at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (ICCS). The courses included intensive language study as well as a course called “The Ancient City” which focused on Rome’s topography and all of the sites and archaeological evidence it has to offer. The “City” course was really intense and basically consisted of us visiting different sites every day; definitely not your regular lecture course. Because of the field-based nature of the class, coming into the program with a solid proficiency in Latin was key to succeeding. We translated inscriptions on the spot at places we visited, so we had to really know what we were doing. Even though the program academically focused on Classical Languages, it turned out to be much more important to learn the modern language that dominated the world outside our classroom walls – Italian.
Though we did have a course in Italian, it wasn’t required, so lots of people struggled in daily life. Luckily, I did take the course and it made all the difference in my experience. The class was terrifying of course, basically a crash-course in Italian. The teacher was a native Italian and spoke only Italian to us in the classroom. Since it was just a five-month program he wanted us to get the language down by the end of the first-month, and I think his methods proved successful. Although I definitely learned more just by going out and socializing with local Italians. Literally, the most useful thing was just going out and doing something as simple as ordering an espresso in Italian, because then that would turn into a full conversation about why I was there, what I was studying, what I liked about Italy, and on and on. I had plenty of classmates who didn’t go out and embrace this opportunity like I did, but I know my experience was that much greater because I chose to take advantage of who and what was around me.