The idea of studying abroad had always made me a little nervous and was never something that I had seriously considered but when I read about the Math in Rome program it sounded perfect. And it was! This trip was so far beyond anything that I would have been able to experience simply as a tourist in Rome.
One of the things I loved most about the trip was the way we were able to get a glimpse of what living life in Rome is really like. We didn’t just live in university housing or just among other students but we lived in real apartments amongst other Italian families and the street we lived on really began to feel like home. The owner of the meat shop below our apartment greeted us every morning as we headed out for the day, the servers at the local café chatted with us as we drank our cappuccinos, and customers at the grocery store answered our questions about new foods we wanted to try. One night as we were heading home a family was celebrating the grand opening of their gelato shop and they invited us to join in their celebration. Everyone around our apartment was so friendly and became an important part of my everyday life in Rome. I was really able to experience for myself what life is like in Rome.
I also loved the educational aspect of the program. I really enjoyed the math part of the classes but they were about so much more than just math. I learned so much about the architecture and history of the buildings and the city of Rome. Through what I learned in the classroom I was able to see and experience the buildings in a way that I otherwise would not have been able to. When we went to visit the places we had learned about I was able to appreciate their beauty so much more because I had an understanding of how the Romans had designed and built them. I have so many great memories of laughing with my friends as we stood outside famous places looking silly while trying to measure the heights of their columns and arches. This trip provided a way to see all the famous sites in an extremely unique and interesting way. Professor Pasquale did an amazing job of teaching us the mathematical theory behind the buildings but also providing us with opportunities to visit the sites and apply what we had learned.
Throughout the five weeks I was in Italy I experienced so much. I was able to explore and really get to know the city of Rome but also had the opportunity to travel to many other places in Italy. As part of the program we took a week long excursion to Pisa, Vinci, and Florence. Additionally, all of our weekends were free for us to spend how we wanted and we frequently took advantage of those opportunities to explore other parts of Italy. I got to try a lot of different kinds of Italian food and even participated in a cooking class run by a restaurant near my apartment. I have countless memories of my many adventures in Italy and made a lot of really great friends.
The Math in Rome program really was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone. I cannot wait until I am able to return to Rome!
Katie is a senior at UCSD (Warren College) studying probability & statistics. She participated in Math in Rome 2010.