The “Study” in Study Abroad

A picture I took on my way back from school one day

Something I haven’t written about since coming here is my classes and what it is like to actually study in another country. I am attending an American university where classes are taught in English and most of the students are from the US so my experiences learning here probably differ much less than other study abroad students.

I think the biggest difference studying at the American University of Rome versus Drexel University is the size. While the amount of students in each class is about the same, the school itself is very small. All of the classes are held in the same five story building and the only other buildings on campus are an auditorium, an administrative building, and a small library. This is a huge change from Drexel that has 20+ academic buildings that are all pretty large.

The pace of learning is also different. AUR uses a semester schedule whereas Drexel has quarters. This means that everything feels a lot slower. At this point in the term at Drexel, we would have already taken our midterms last week whereas I don’t have my midterms here until at least this upcoming week.

I am taking a total of four classes here, Hospitality and Tourism Law; Food Tourism; Event Planning, Marketing, and Management; and Italian. The Italian curriculums were significantly different between the two schools. Several students who took Italian 101 at Drexel ended up dropping Italian 102 because they didn’t think they could keep up. There is a lot of vocabulary and grammar that we never learned that is considered prerequisite knowledge here. I was also very nervous about taking Italian 102 for the first couple of weeks but my teacher was committed to making sure that the other Drexel students and I were able to keep up and work on what we didn’t yet learn.

Picture of my walk back from school

While most students are from the United States, I have had the opportunity to work with several students from other countries. It is interesting to see basic differences in what we have knowledge of. For example, for a group project in my event planning class, we had to analyze an event that took place. My group was made up of 2 study abroad students (including myself) and 2 full time students who were from the Netherlands and Croatia and the 2 girls who were from other countries suggested multiple events that we had never heard of that are considered very big events here in Europe and vice versa.

Everyday when we arrive on campus, we have to go check in with security. They check our temperature and give us a sticker to wear for the day. We are still required to wear masks indoors during our classes. We enter into a small garden area where we can sit at tables to do school work or talk to friends. There is also a rooftop area with a gorgeous view of the city.

The view from the roof at AUR

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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