Last Friday marked the end of the three-week Italian intensive, and it was just that: intense. Three hours a day of learning a new language is difficult, mentally challenging, and…effective. I say it was effective because after these three weeks, I found myself able to order food, describe to store owners things I wanted, and could understand several phrases and ideas when I would overhear Italians speaking. Take a look at the area our study center is in:
The class was very interactive and quite conducive to learning. We also had students from Roman universities come into our class to converse with us, as well as offering more time out of class to practice our Italian with them. These students have a very approachable demeanor, but are a little intimidating because they study linguistics and each know about five languages. It’s fun to interact with Roman students at our study center to break up the monotony of everyone being from California. Fun fact: our study center located at Piazza dell’Orologio was featured in the Italian film The Great Beauty.
And speaking of Italian films, I stumbled upon a cafe from Fellini’s most notable film, La Dolce Vita. It was a cafe used in the film that was, unfortunately, closed down. Regardless, walking by one of Fellini’s filming locations was super exciting for the cinephile in me.
While many people from the program opted to travel during these three weeks on weekends, I stayed in Rome to study and get to know the lay of the land. I feel well oriented in my neighborhood since I have located the grocery stores, found clothing shops I like, and scoped out which bookstores carry the best inventory. I urge further participants in this program to stay in Rome during these three weeks and enjoy all the local areas that we might be too exhausted to explore after classes. Here are some of my favorite film photos from my weekends exploring Rome:
While staying in the city, I found my favorite spot in all of Rome: Villa Borghese (a giant park with a zoo, a horse corral, gardens, and an Italian version of the Globe Theater). This park is exciting to visit and revisit because of its natural beauty.
This time I went here I took my film camera, and was pleasantly surprised to find a group of Jane Austin enthusiasts of Rome. They were playing croquet, having a picnic, and leisurely walking around the park together. It was adorable and so refreshing to see people having so much fun together doing something as simple as dressing up like some literary characters they like and walking around a park.
These people looked like they were from another time—especially when captured on film—as does much of Rome. It feels like it’s in another time, not always as ancient as some of the buildings here, but it feels like it’s ten years in the past in terms of technology. No one is glued to their iPhones, because most people don’t have pervasive smart phones. I’ve noticed the majority of people here have flip phones. Remember those great ol’ bricks with phenomenal battery life? That’s the norm here. And while it is possible to switch your IP address to access Netflix and Hulu…you don’t need to. Mainly because there isn’t time to watch shows. You will most likely be out exploring, eating, cooking, conversing, studying, dancing, at the gym, or sleeping to have time to catch up on shows.