Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2 weeks later

Just two weeks ago, I was sitting in Logan Airport waiting for my flight out of the US. I was full of excitement and anxiety for what was to come.

2 weeks later, so much of the unknown, just as I had thought, is known. Here's some of the details and some parts of my life in Rome I'd like to share with you all!

First, the basics:

  • Rome is 6 hours ahead of the East Coast (fun fact: this means my mom and I are finally on the same schedule! We've been Skyping here more than we ever did when we were in the same time zone!)
  • My 'meal plan' is 60 euros worth of 'meal tickets' each week.  Many bars and some restaurants in my neighborhood and throughout Rome take meal tickets, as well as the grocery stores. The meal tickets are in 5 euro denominations, and it's pretty easy to stretch them for the whole week. Also, it's really hard to call them meal tickets, my mind just naturally calls them 'food stamps' and I can't get it out of my head. So classy.
  • The CUA program uses St. John's building in the Prati neighborhood of Rome. It's a nice area, and the Lepanto Metro Stop is just a couple minutes away. I have a St. John's ID that I show to the security guard at the front desk, and I key into both my hallway and my single room. Classrooms and the office are on the 2nd floor of the building, and CUA students have a wing to themselves on the 3rd floor. There are also St. John's students and a couple other American universities using the facilities here.
  • There are 45 students in the program. The University of Loyola Maryland is included with our program, but their students (there are about 25) are required to do a homestay, so they aren't living in the dorm with CUA students. They do take classes with us.
The all important studying component of "studying abroad;" My classes:
  1. Philosophy of Art 
  2. Italy in American and British Literature
  3. The Mass
  4. Christian Feasts and Devotions
  5. Italian 101
  • Italian is the only class that isn't taught at St. John's. For Italian, I take the metro to Spagna and take classes at Italiaidea. This class is taught on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:30-6:30. It's intensive, and even though it's 101, the teacher speaks only Italian during class. This class will end on February 28, after midterms.
  • All other classes meet once a week for 3 hours. Some include regular site visits. 
  • Since classes meet weekly, that means each class truly has a week's worth of information and homework. It's a lot to take in, but it also allows our schedules to be pretty free. I don't have class on Mondays, and only Italian on Fridays. (yup, that means after February, I'll have a 4-day weekend every week!)
Things to get used to: (AKA the few things I don't like here)
  • Rome is a very smoky and dusty city. 
  • Cobblestones are tough to walk on, but especially when they are wet!
  • It's safe to drink water from any of the fountains, yet we're not recommended to drink water from the dorm (something about rusty pipes). As someone who goes through at least 3 water bottles a day, not having unlimited access to water in my building might be the hardest thing for me to get used to.
Staying in touch:
  • Skype name: christine-fontaine
  • Email:
  • Address: All the info below must be included
Christine Fontaine
The Catholic University of America
Via Marcantonio Colonna 21a
00192 Roma
telephone: +39 37 7167 6580
fax: +39 06 3938 4209

That's all for now, folks! Thank you for all your prayers and kind words for my family since the death of my grandfather. 
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be." -Douglas Adams

Love, Chris

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