Courtesy of Jackie Markisz

By Jackie Markisz

This fall I am studying abroad in Rome with the “CUA in Rome” program. Studying abroad is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had the opportunity to challenge myself in the classroom and learn from some amazing professors. Coming into this program I left my core group of friends and was honestly nervous to go abroad without them. 

However, through my time studying here in Rome, I’ve had the ability to make long-lasting  friendships with students at Catholic that I never had the experience of interacting with before coming to the Rome program. I have  really enjoyed staying in the CUA Rome Center because it has given me the ability to connect with other students that aren’t in my grade.

A common misconception is that studying abroad is easy. However, I can say that it’s very challenging to juggle three hour classes, applying for internships and traveling. I am a junior marketing major with a minor in finance and I have enjoyed having the ability to take business classes in another country as well.

At the Rome program, we are given breakfast on Monday through Friday and dinner on Monday through Thursday. All the students studying abroad in Rome thoroughly enjoy eating Italian family dinners and wish the cooks could come back to Catholic in D.C. I’ve enjoyed attending classes in rooms that are right near my dorm room. The campus is on a hill and has great views of the city of Rome. The facilities are spectacular, however beware of the many mosquitoes. I’ve enjoyed attending mass in the lovely chapel that is a part of the school. I, along with many other students, had the ability to practice my piano skills on the chapel piano throughout the week. I’ve enjoyed hearing different students and professors practice their hymns. Students are able to attend adoration with seminarians who are also studying in Rome. 

I especially enjoy interacting with the staff of the Rome program. Jeanette Dimaano, our Resident Assistant, has been so inviting and warm and Alessia Noro, who is the Assistant to the Director for Students Affairs for our Rome program, has made not only my abroad experience work so smoothly, but everyone else’s too. In addition, I’ve been able to use my Italian in a practical, everyday sense. 

One of my favorite moments of this program was meeting my favorite food network chef, Giada De Laurentiis, who was dining at a restaurant that was 5 minutes away from the Rome campus. The location of our campus has had a lot of famous celebrity sightings. 

Jackie met famous chef, Giada De Laurentiis in Rome. Courtesy of Jackie Markisz

I’ve really enjoyed having the opportunity to travel and visit places that I have studied and learned about in the classroom. I especially have enjoyed attending site visits with my classes to places like the catacombs, the Sistine chapel, and the Colosseum. 

During my time studying abroad, I am helping the staff at the Rome center revamp their digital marketing content through producing new videos that showcase the program from a student’s point of view.

I’ve been here in Rome for a month and have had the ability to travel to Venice with my friends, and to Sperlonga with the school. 

I’m looking forward to visiting countries that I have always dreamed of going. At the end of October I’m going to Paris a city I have always wanted to visit ever since I was a little kid. In addition, I’m looking forward to continually challenging myself not only in school but with the Italian culture and language. 

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