Finding Home in Rome

BY STEPHANIE QADIR

The “study abroad experience” is one that more and more students are taking advantage of each year. The experience itself boasts impressive bene ts, including global internships, meeting international friends, and increased job opportunities. The event is an eye-opening and exciting experience. However, many students who go abroad nd the aspect of immersing in a new country’s culture to be diffcult.

The phenomenon of “culture shock” is widely found throughout people who go abroad, especially college students who study abroad for a prolonged period of time. According to health professionals, some instances of culture shock can be so severe as to lead to temporary depression and anxiety. Transitioning from an American to an international university can be overwhelming and lead students feeling homesick.

“You’re supposed to be doing something exciting every day. People at home don’t realize that I’m just trying to live my life here and adjust to the new culture. It takes time,” said Madison Krigbaum, a Spring 2017 study abroad student.

Akum K. Singh, a visiting sophomore from Rutgers University, says JCU’s programs have helped her feel comfortable in her new surroundings. “Coming to Rome from New Jersey was really difcult at first,” Singh said. “But meeting other students who are abroad, and also getting involved has made me feel more at home.”

John Cabot University has offered services to ameliorate these concerns before they start. Study abroad students are required to attend a mandatory 4-day orientation session prior to the start of the semester when they first arrive. The program covers academic information and areas of abroad life including travel tips, budgeting, and guided tours of Rome. Additionally, the school provides counseling and psychiatric services and organizes a variety of field trips around Italy, whether visiting or degree-seeking.

Along with JCU’s efforts to curb culture shock, becoming more familiar with the city has proven to be a remedy. Visiting students list exploring the city, using public transportation, and learning to speak some Italian as ways to cope with the feeling of being lost in such a large and cultural city.

Krigbaum hopes that soon enough, with the help of sta and newfound friends, she will be able to take full advantage of her time abroad while she still can. Regarding her culture shock, she said, “It’s getting better every day, little by little.”

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