When in Rome
While some students use their summers to escape studying, senior Becky Wiacek decided to use hers to study something completely new.
“I wanted to go to a country that did not speak primarily English, so I could be fully immersed in a new cultural experience that was completely different than what I am used to in the states,” Wiacek said via Facebook while on a train to visit Florence and Venice.
The city of Rome offered Wiacek the chance for cultural immersion, as well as being “a city filled with so much history and life, it seemed like the perfect fit,” she said.
Going abroad has always been a goal of hers, she said, and the summer seemed like the perfect time to accomplish that.
“I’m very interested in seeing what else the world has to offer, and studying abroad is a great way to explore and be adventurous,” Wiacek said.
Although she’s a speech-pathology and audiology major at Towson, Wiacek is studying archaeology and food and culture at The American University of Rome. The university is located atop one of Rome’s highest hills, Janiculum, which overlooks the city. The location is also home to diplomatic residences and other international schools, according to the university’s website. Rome also happens to be a very convenient location from which to travel to neighboring countries and other historic cities. And Wiacek is taking full advantage of these opportunities.
“I’ve been to Nice and Eze in the French Riviera, Monaco and the Monte Carlo casino and next week I’ll be going to the Amalfi Coast (Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri),” she said. “I also went with a few friends to a family friend’s house out in the country of Rome for a home cooked Roman dinner.”
No trip to Rome would be complete of course without “all things touristy,” Wiacek said of her other outings and activities, like visiting the Roman Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, as well as tasting the sweeter side of Rome—gelato. Wiacek currently lives with five other female Towson students in a neighborhood near the university, in a three-bedroom apartment. Wiacek and the other Towson students are the only students in the complex among many Italian families. This level of cultural immersion, coupled with the freedom for spontaneous excursions around Italy and Europe, creates a stimulating educational experience that Wiacek claims she will never forget.
“This experience has made me realize how unique of an opportunity traveling to a foreign country is. I am extremely grateful to have the ability through Towson, to be educated abroad and see another piece of the world,” said Wiacek. “Living in Rome, I have gained more confidence and independence through communicating, navigating and adjusting to the Italian lifestyle. Each day presents various and multiple challenges that test your ability to adjust accordingly.”