The Catholic University of America

 
Maria Maffucci
- CUA in Rome

 

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. You’re offered a wonderful opportunity to live in one of the most enchanting cities in the world. Think about it, when else can you live in a true “Roman Holiday” for 4 months when your only concern is to live the most enjoyable life possible. Further, when else is a better time than in your young 20’s?!
     
  2. You don’t gain weight studying in Roma - it’s true! Essentially, you’ll be eating and commuting like a true Roman. This means a great amount of walking and relying on public transportation and eating fresh, natural foods specific to the region. It’s wonderful.
     
  3. The courses offered in Roma are interactive with the city itself. Every course I had incorporated numerous site visits and tours.
     
  4. You will have no problem meeting natives and developing friendships with them. Italians are friendly and - generally speaking – happy people. They love when they find Americans that are genuinely interested in learning the ins and outs of the Italian culture.
     
  5. If you allow yourself to have a completely open mind from the moment you leave the United States up to fighting back tears in the Fiumicino airport, I promise you that you’ll find such self-liberation and discover an entirely new perspective on life. Cheesy and corny, cliché and silly – you bet! But there’s such truth in this message – don’t be afraid to embark on as many journeys as possible while under the Roman spell. You’ll enjoy it!

 

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  1. Ladies, you really don’t need to bring ALL of your toiletries. I know it’s difficult to let go, but you’ll be in Rome, trust me – you can find most of the drugstore (and luxury) brands.
     
  2. Don’t rely on the computer lab as your only computer source. I brought my laptop with me and lived in the dorms, so wifi and paper writing were non-issues. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the school’s computer lab is much smaller than Leahy and you’ll be sharing it with the entire building, so if possible, bring a laptop or tablet!
     
  3. RAIN BOOTS and a light trench coat :)
     
  4. Don’t be afraid to wear color – Italians love fashion and you will see a lot of earthy tones in their fashion, but they don’t completely exclude color. If it’s possible to fit some color in, you’ll see it!

 

A Funny Story or Situation - Lost in Spanish Translation

My core group of friends and I would frequent the infamous “Spaccio” (a popular place to eat for us dorm students) multiple times a week for dinner. Within a few weeks, the entire staff knew us quite well and had our individual orders memorized – house antipasto, a good plate of pasta, and a generous serving of wine. Most of the staff are native Italians from Roma/elsewhere in the south, but there’s one Hispanic waiter who was absolutely convinced I spoke Spanish. Hint: I don’t speak any Spanish and I never took any courses in the language! However, every time I went to Spaccio with my friends, this particular waiter would come up to me and speak to me only in Spanish, despite my strictly Italian communication. It was hilarious and my friends got a big kick out of it because no matter how many months passed or how many times I answered him in Italian, he never spoke to me in Italian and only spoke to me in Spanish!

 

An Embarrassing Situation

One of the scheduled activities during the program trip to Toscana/Umbria was a private tour of a traditional Tuscan winery. Naturally, our tour guide and family member to the estate was your typical Italian male – charming, attractive, and had all of the females giddy. I was genuinely interested in listening to his tour (though his good looks weren’t too bad, either) and I was front and center the entire time. However, at one point I turned to one of my friends and bluntly told her how incredibly attractive and charming I thought he was and I wish he wasn’t wearing a ring. Of course, this wouldn’t be an embarrassing story if he didn’t hear me confess my love for him. Thus, he heard and called me out on it via microphone, though in a playful manner.

 

Professors

Dr. Milena Locatelli is an incredibly passionate, intelligent, and witty literature professor from the south of Italy. Being an English major, I was worried that the only literature course I would take in Roma would not match up to my standards of how a literature course should be taught. However, Dr. Locatelli’s lectures were rightfully informative and she thoroughly followed the same underlying message throughout the semester: Roma, the city itself and all of its marvels, not only inspired many British and American authors internally, but acted as an outlet for their narratives and poetry. Naturally, I like to believe that the Eternal city had the same effect on me as its enchantment did on some of my favorite literary figures.

 

Housing

Personally, I chose the dorms because I already spoke Italian fluently and come from Italian parents. Since I know what it’s like growing up in a typical southern Italian family, from the fashion to cuisine, cultural etiquette & customs, I didn’t think spending time with another Italian family would benefit my experience in ways that it would be more beneficial to those learning the language and customs. I wanted this experience to fully be my own and I knew I would be spending a lot of my time in Italy independently, thus I wanted my living conditions to correspond. My room was great and so were the perks, however if you want to truly adapt an Italian way of living (and you don’t come from a similar situation like myself), I would do the home-stay option!

Student Profile:

Major: English

Minor: Italian Studies

Hometown: New Rochelle, NY

Program: CUA in Rome

Term Abroad: Spring 2013

Contact Maria