COLA Study Abroad Interview- Mary Cann- Rome

                                                                 Bocca della Verità Mouth of Truth                                                                                                                  Photo: Mary at Bocca della Verita- by Mary           

COLA: Intro: (Tell us a bit about yourself)                                                                            

Mary Cann: I am a senior Business Administration Major with a dual focus in Business Analytics and Management from Henniker, New Hampshire. I enjoy painting in my free time, even though I’m much better suited behind the screen of a computer. I’ve always loved traveling but have only been abroad two times, both times to Italy. My next two destinations are definitely Ireland and Greece, hopefully in the not too distant future.

COLA: Why did you choose the Rome program?                                                            

Mary: I was planning on doing a whole semester abroad in Florence since I was in high school, but due to a change in my courses I was unable to. I went onto the Center for Study Abroad website and looked up J-term programs and Rome was the perfect option for me.

                                                                Pompeii Mummy                                                                                                                   Photo: A mummy in Pompeii- by Mary                                                                                                                                                                                                                               COLA: What was the biggest surprise during your experience?                            

Mary: This was my first time going to Pompeii and I was blown away with by how well preserved everything was. The mummies were the most interesting and the most saddening because they really captured the fear the people were feeling when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. You can see the fear in their body language, many of them were curled up in the fetal position or covering their faces.

COLA: What courses did you study while in Rome? Did these classes help you better understand Roman culture/history? How?                                                                  

Mary: The course I took while studying in Rome was called Building Rome. This class helped me understand Roman history because unlike most history classes you take in the U.S., you actually get the see the buildings and the art you learn about; you can stand in the Circus Maximus and imagine the chariots circling around you. It really makes things I’ve learned stick in my mind better when I get to see them and experience them.

COLA: How did you finance your semester in Rome?                                                    

Mary: I was lucky enough to have my trip financed by my family, but I know there are scholarships and other opportunities available to help cover the cost.

                                                                Ostia Antica                                                                                                                         Photo: Ostia Antica- by Mary                                                                                                                                                                                                                        COLA: Where are the places you’ve carved out as “Your City” – the Rome you found outside of the tourist sites, the places that are most meaningful for you? What is special about them?                                                                                                            

Mary: One of the most meaningful places I visited on this trip was a tourist spot, but not one that is as well known. We took a day trip into Ostia Antica, a place that I had never even heard of before this class, but when we learned about it in our lectures I knew it was going to be my favorite place. Not only is it beautiful but also so well preserved. Ostia looks like an abandoned city and we were able to walk through all the old homes and bathhouses and we got to sit in the amphitheater, it was unreal. It’s like playing house when you were a kid but you actually have these incredible 2000-year old buildings to play in. I could go on for hours about how much I loved Ostia.

COLA: Did you feel safe and welcome while you were in Rome? Did you know anyone else on the program before you arrived? Was there a sense of community around your program?                                                                                                                                      

Mary: I felt very safe while in Rome, some students did have run-ins with attempted pick pocketing but that’s something you expect in a major tourist city. I didn’t know anyone before going on this trip, and it was a bit scary for me at first but the class grew so close and everyone was so welcoming and friendly that it quickly felt more like you were traveling with a close group of friends than a class.