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Study Abroad Student Trip Report: Ethan Andes

Ethan Andes in front of a fountain in Italy.

For the good part of last summer, I spent my time studying abroad in Rome, Italy. It was a fun experience that really opened my eyes to what other parts of the world are like. It’s still the same people and overall, not much different but the little differences are vast, and they add up to make it a very memorable experience.

In Rome I was in the CEA summer engineering study abroad program and I took two classes. The first was the culture of Italian Food and Wine and the second was Thermodynamics. Both these classes were very interesting in their own way and it was a good blend of the required engineering class that helped with my major and a fun culture class that gave me a chance to get credit but also a break from math. The classes were all in English and taught in a way no different from the states. Outside of a classroom I spent my time exploring Rome. With it being such an ancient city there is tons of stuff to see, I started with the top attractions going to see the coliseum and the ruins of Rome. The Vatican is a must see, the ceilings tower above you once you’re inside the basilica. After the main sites though there are still tons of little stuff to see and those can be just as fun. One day I took the metro to an old steam plant that had been converted into a sculpture museum, it was neat to see those two put together and in Rome the journey is part of the fun. Navigating the metro and busses can get annoying and I was really missing driving by the end of the trip but looking back it was kind of fun and more rewarding to finally get to the destination. The language difference was also a aspect of Rome that stood out, I went not knowing any and to be honest I didn’t pick up much there but enough people speak English where it really isn’t a problem. Most people are very nice in Rome and a lot are interested in the study abroad students. I had many fun conversations with the locals comparing where we come from, again its all the same just the little details that jump out.

Italian building with two flags in front.
Italian building surrounded by trees.

While Rome and the surrounding areas are cool it would have not been the same if I hadn’t experienced it with the friends I made while in Rome. The students in the program were engineering students that came from all around the country and while we shared classes and had fun in those, it was mostly having a group to explore with. Whether it’s hopping a flight to Greece for the weekend or just going out on the town, the group of friends that I made while abroad made every activity enjoyable. While studying abroad you will meet all kinds of people and that includes your fellow students from America who are spread all around. Combining the people you meet and the things you see and experience studying abroad is something everybody should do at least once in their life.