The Catholic University of America

  Moriah MifkaCUA in Rome

 

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. The ability to travel to various places in Italy and outside of Italy (France, Spain, England, Germany, Ireland, etc): It is both cheap and convenient (buy your tickets as far in advance as possible so that you can get the best prices). You can take busses, trains or planes. If you are traveling to another country, cheap airlines I would recommend are Ryanair and EasyJet. Definitely take advantage of the opportunity to travel on the weekends and especially during your spring break.
  2. Trying the food: I have already had some exceptional Italian food in the United States (homemade from my grandmother as well as in family owned Italian restaurants) but of course I was ecstatic about eating the food in Italy. I made sure to try various restaurants throughout Rome and Italy so that I could experience the different cuisines of the regions. Some of my favorite foods were zucchini pizza, porcini tortellini, tagliatelle bolognese, bruschetta di tonno, and of course, gelato.
  3. Living among Italians: My father's side of the family is Italian. His mother's parents were Sicilian and his father is from Trieste, which is in northern Italy. Even though I was not living in either of these areas, simply being in Italy made me feel a special connection with my Italian ancestors. I loved observing how Italians acted, how they spoke, what they liked to eat and what they liked to do for fun. Learning the language also helped me to feel that connection. I can say that now that I have actually lived in Italy for four months, I feel "more Italian" than before.
  4. Learning about Ancient Roman culture: All of my classes related somehow to either Ancient Roman or modern Italian culture. It was incredible to learn about the ancient Romans and the ancient Roman landmarks and places.
  5. Transportation: I loved being able to get around Rome by foot, metro, bus or tram. I usually chose to walk, because I enjoyed walking around Rome and observing the Italians and the scenery. I became familiar with the city and I learned different ways to get to places. If I had to go farther, I would take the bus, tram or metro which were all convenient and easy to adjust to. Also, I took the train to get to different parts of Italy. I felt very safe in Rome although I remained alert and I never walked alone at night.

 

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • Ordering books: I ordered all of my books for my classes and had them shipped to Italy. However, I wish that I had waited until my classes began so that I would know which books I would actually use. Some of the books I never used or I only needed to read parts of them.

 

A Funny Story or Situation

Warm Milk

One day I was in a restaurant called Vero (a healthy food chain where you order food to go), which is located near St. Johns. I usually got my lunch there before class. Sometimes I like to drink milk with my lunch. However, this is not common in Italy and in other parts of Europe. So one day at Vero I asked, in Italian, for a cup of milk. I told the lady who was taking my order that I wanted latte freddo, SOLO latte freddo. And after I paid and left, I took a sip and she ended up giving me cold coffee with milk! I was not upset; I laughed about it and I actually enjoyed the cold cup of coffee. Another time, I went into Vero and ordered milk with my lunch again, but I accidentally ordered latte caldo, so they gave me exactly what I asked for: a cup of hot milk. As I took a sip I realized that I made the mistake of saying "caldo" instead of "freddo".

 

An Embarrassing Situation

One time I was taking a taxi back from the Ciampino Airport in Rome. The driver seemed to be frustrated with me because I did not speak a lot of Italian, even though he understood where in Rome I wanted to be dropped off, which is really all he needed to know in the first place. So, during the taxi ride, he was almost yelling at me because he did not understand why I was in Italy if I did not speak Italian. He told me, "Here in Italy, we speak Italian, English is not our language. If you want to speak English, you do not come to Italy". Then he proceeded to say that I should not be here if I do not speak Italian. . I tried to clearly explain to him that I was only an American student studying in Rome for four months, and I only knew Spanish and English, however I was taking a beginner's Italian course and I knew a little bit of Italian. I told him that I was working on my Italian and that I tried speaking it as much as I could while I was in Rome. He seemed to not care about what I was saying and he just continued to bicker about the same things. Finally he stopped talking. And by the time I got out of the taxi, I wanted to cry. I felt so overwhelmed and I felt ashamed that I could not speak Italian as I could speak English and Spanish. I immediately called my friend to vent. Then I felt so much better. Maybe he would have been nicer if he knew that although I am American, I have some "Italian blood."


The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

I learned the most from Dr. Dawson. He taught my religion class on the Popes, and he is also the program director. He has been involved in this program for many years. Since day one, I noticed that he knew exactly what he was talking about, whether he was teaching in class or giving us students advice about living and studying in Rome. He was such a great help to us especially at the beginning of the program when we were adjusting to everything. This program would not be the same if it was not for Dr. Dawson's enthusiasm and caring attitude towards us.

 

Housing

When I was living in Rome, I decided to live in the dormitories. I did not know any Italian, so I did not feel that living with an Italian family would be as comfortable as it would be if I had known basic Italian. I chose to live in the dorm so that I could get to know people from my program. Also, so that I could really live on my own in Italy, rather than living with a family in which you would have your own room but you would still be living in their house. The dorms are really nice and well kept. They are in the same complex as an elderly housing complex and another student dormitory and I liked living among my classmates as well as other students who were studying abroad. The elderly Italians were very friendly to us. The rooms in the dorm are very spacious. I shared a room and bathroom with three other girls, but the room was so big that I did not mind. We all got along, too. Our view out of the window was of the Tiber River. There is a kitchen and lounge on every floor. Claudia, our dorm advisor, was always helpful and sweet. Overall, I had a wonderful dorm experience with the CUA in Rome Program.

Student Profile:

Major: Media Studies

Hometown: Medford, NJ

Program: CUA in Rome

Term Abroad: Spring 2011

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