This past summer I had the privilege to go on a Study Abroad trip to Orvieto, Italy with the University of Arizona. I had been aware of this opportunity for several years, but the cost and scheduling conflicts had always held me back, so I was extremely fortunate to participate this summer on a full ride.
Since the seventh grade, I have studied the seven emperors of Rome and their downfalls, the Punic Wars and the collapse of the Roman Empire; I have conjugated verbs and declined nouns until they were permanently ingrained in my memory, but it has always been out of textbooks and lecture halls. Studying such subjects ignites an incredible desire to visit all of the sites, from the Roman Forum to the religious temples to the war monuments. I had never been to Italy before, so being able to visit all the historical monuments while being immersed in the Italian lifestyle was an unbelievable experience.
Some of my favorite experiences in Italy were the classes I took and the field trips we went on. These offered me a different perspective of Italy I wasn’t expecting, and I am very thankful for them.
My classes focused on analyzing Roman love poetry and its effects on modern literature, as well as studying the Aeneid, an epic poem by Vergil on Rome’s origins. I appreciated knowing the history and background of different places, because it made visiting them on our class trips so much more meaningful. I could recognize and appreciate the significance behind certain historical landmarks, since I was able to connect textbook learning with the actual experience.
My favorite trips were to Naples and Pompeii. Although the history behind Pompeii’s destruction is well-known, seeing the ancient site in person, complete with displays of calcified human bodies, were truly eye opening. On the other hand, Naples, a popular modern city for tourists, had really good pizza.
This trip to Italy has truly opened my eyes to all of the beauty the country has to offer in its cities. I am extremely thankful for this amazing experience and I await the opportunity to return once more so that I can continue to learn more about Italy.