A Life-Changing 3.5 Months Past Review

By (Washington University in Saint Louis) - abroad from 01/19/2017 to 05/07/2017 with

ICCS / Centro: Rome - The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely became a different (and better) person. I've never felt like I belonged somewhere as much as I did there, in that city, with those people. I came to love Classics even more from being on site and seeing it all in person and connecting with it more than you ever could in a lecture hall. I became a happier, freer, and more independent and confident person. I feel like I actually deserve my Ancient Studies degree now!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This is, quite honestly, the best program I could've asked for as a Classics student. It's hard, it's tiring, and it feels like an eternity sometimes. You spend hours and hours walking around to sites and standing there taking notes. But there is nothing more valuable and more useful to your memory than being on site while being lectured. There are more than enough books in the library to help you study - more than you probably will ever need. And the professors are helpful, and love to talk mroe about subjects if you have questions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone was very helpful in getting us settled and always letting us know if there were things we needed to do (i.e. refill our bus passes every month). Franco and Pina are absolute gems - always helpful, always kind. As are the rest of the office staff.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing is small - two small floors with doubles and singles. I had a roommate in a little room with a bunkbed. But it ended up being great - my roommate and I got along really well, and you spend a lot of time outside your room, anyway.

* Food:

As everyone's already said, the food is AMAZING. Get ready to eat a lot of pasta, risotto, and bread though. Lunch is always vegetarian - generally some kind of pasta or soup. Dinner has three courses - Primo, Secondo, and Dessert. Primo is generally vegetarian. Secondo is meat, and if you're vegetarian, you'll be eating either eggs, friend vegetables, beans, or a hunk of cheese with some vegetables. I was perfectly fine with it, but be aware.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's hard to feel very integrated with the culture when you spend most of your days around a bunch of other Americans on site. The best shot is trying to converse with cashiers and people at cafes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did have one medical issue while I was there, and Franco and the office were very helpful in immediately finding me the right resources.

* Safety:

With any big city you've got worries. As a small female, I never really wanted to go around at night by myself. And as always (especially on the bus), watch your bags and belongings. But I've never felt safer crossing the street in front of a line of oncoming cars - pedestrians seem to have the right of way. And Italian pedestrians are also just fearless and don't care about walking out into traffic.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I say that with one caveat - I would do it again with the same people. It was hard and intense and sometimes I felt like I couldn't get up for another 7AM breakfast. Sometimes I thought I couldn't stand for another second on site without dying. I thought I'd never have the energy to study for my tests and quizzes. I think I'd need a couple months' rest before doing it again. But we all became so close at the Centro - everyone understood how exhausting it was (professors and students alike). We were all there for each other and supportive of each other. When we had the free time we'd spend it together having a good time. Rome wouldn't have been the same without the same people, and it won't be the same now. The memories you get from this experience combined with how much you learn are all worth it, though.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Since you get fed five days a week, expenses aren't so bad unless you're buying a lot of souvenirs. I also just don't eat much, so weekend meals were very cheap for me. You have a free bus pass, so that's a good amount of money saved, too. If you want to travel on weekends, of course, that's as little or as much as you want.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Under €25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When there's extra bag lunch food or food after dinner, take it!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • Sicily and Campania trips
  • Living in the Centro
* What could be improved?
  • First weekend - we were kind of just left on our own to figure things out until Monday when classes started
  • Breaks during Art History site visits!!!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew I didn't have to worry so much. I was reading these reviews, and a lot of people said they hated it, or it was too hard, or they didn't love Classics anymore. I got really stressed and worried I didn't love Classics enough to survive this. And on top of that, I was scared about making friends. But I was all wrong. It's not as hard as it seems. People are there for you. It's not all about the academics, as it turns out - there are lots of fun surprises the Centro organizes, and events and good times to be had too. You have more time than you think. And you're all in it together - you're going to make friends.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!