COLA Study Abroad Interview-Tara Paladino-Rome

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COLA: Tell us a bit about yourself

Tara: Hi! My name is Tara Paladino and I’m a sophomore Psychology and Human Development & Family Studies double major. Until my trip to Italy, I’d never left the country (or the East Coast)!


COLA: Why did you choose the Rome J-Term program?

Tara: I chose the Rome trip because I’ve always wanted to get more in touch with my Italian heritage- my great grandparents immigrated to America from Sicily and despite that, my family doesn’t seem very Italian. I always wished I knew more about Italy and while taking Elementary Italian my freshman year, I decided that there was no time like the present to experience Italy.

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COLA: What was the adjustment process like when you arrived in Rome? What advice could you share with other students?

Tara: The adjustment process was surprisingly easy. The faculty with us (Professors Smith and Curry) warned us not to fall asleep upon arrival and to wait to sleep until it was late in Italian time, not in the US. That advice saved me- I woke up the next day feeling fine and for the rest of the trip, was fully adjusted to the six hour time difference. With that being said- follow that advice! Try to sleep on the plane but try your hardest not to fall asleep until it’s nighttime in whatever country you’re in.


COLA:What skills have you learned from your experience?

Tara: This experience definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to be more outgoing than I typically am. Being thrown into a foreign country with 20 strangers forces you to be social and make friends, which is a really great skill to have. Going abroad forces you to embrace spontaneity, as having a set plan rarely works out in a foreign country.  I also learned how to walk over 10 miles a day without feeling it, simply because that’s how you get around while abroad!

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COLA: Did you find your course work pushed you to explore more of Rome that you might not have otherwise?

Tara: My course work absolutely led me to be more engaged in my experience. The Rome trip is a Classics course, which I would never have had room to take if it wasn’t over J-term. It was in depth enough that I had a greater appreciation for the things I was seeing in Rome, but not so intensive that I was overwhelmed. It was really nice to be able to see things like the Pantheon and understand what makes it so impressive- its architecture and the work of the Romans that made it only added to its impressiveness. Having background information in classics was really helpful and I’m glad I was able to learn about it before traveling to Italy and experiencing it in person.


COLA: What will be your best memory of being in Rome?

Tara: My best memory from the trip was every single thing, honestly. If I had to choose just one, though, it would probably be something we did on our last day in Rome before we traveled to Pompeii. There’s a massive monument in the center of Rome called the Altare della Patria, which we called “the wedding cake” because of the huge statues on top. For our entire trip, we wanted to go up to the top and see all of Rome, but we were so busy that it was hard to find time. Our last day was exhausting and crazy, but we knew if we didn’t go up to the top on that day, we never would. We ended up going with a group of about 10 students and it was such an amazing way to end our time in Rome. Getting to look over the city and being able to recognize a lot of landmarks and places we’d been was really great. Check out the view- so pretty!

5234272389_1be78dfeea_z.jpgCredit: Moyan Brenn

COLA: What are some of the benefits of the Rome J-term program? Did studying J-term help work around your major?

Tara: The Rome J-term program is perfect for people who don’t have room for a full semester abroad, or just don’t want to spend as much time in a different country. It was a great way to experience studying abroad without having to spend 4 months in a different place. It was such a good experience for me and has led me to work toward going abroad again in the summer of 2017!