In Class News

August 3, 2013 at 9:55 am

Thomas: The Voyage Homewards

By Rachel Thomas
Honors Tutorial College student studying Classics in Rome

Although, while I wandered about in Trastevere, it seemed my journeys would never end, my six weeks roaming soon came to a close. After an intense five weeks spent exploring both in class and out, a brief but intense week involving our on-site exams and write-ups served to close out the term.

The moon rising over Rome's neighboring mountains.

The moon rising over Rome’s neighboring mountains.

To say that this trip was life-changing might seem like a standard exaggeration by an excited student, even if an exaggeration made from love, and yet I cannot truly say it was anything other than life-changing. One cannot really pack up and spend a month and a half in a foreign country and still remain wholly unchanged, and I find my perception and understanding—not only of my academic discipline, but even of my own culture and society—improved and enriched immensely by my time studying in the Academy.

Interior of Santa Maria degli Angeli—the Baths of Diocletian's frigidarium in a previous life.

Interior of Santa Maria degli Angeli—the Baths of Diocletian’s frigidarium in a previous life.

That’s not to say it was always easy. Even while I often enjoyed getting lost in my temporary home, there were still moments of frustration and annoyance upon realizing that I’d already rounded that corner twice, and the locals couldn’t quite understand my poor, in-broken-Italian request for directions. Similarly, after insisting to the waiter for the third time that yes, I really only wanted one dish, I was nostalgic for a time when I could order what I pleased without being mocked.

The Laocoon group — Vatican Museums.

The Laocoon group — Vatican Museums.

But for all those moments of culture shock, the futile attempt to embrace an Italian schedule (I never did)—I wouldn’t trade the totality of my experience for anything. For every moment of discomfort—getting lost at midnight, trying to communicate with a surly guard determined to throw me out of the museum, having someone’s sweaty body parts shoved in my face on a crowded metro—my time was filled with a dozen other moments of thrilling excitement and discoveries that enriched both my academic work and my personal experience of Rome.

While my first journey in Rome is now over and I have my feet planted firmly on Ohio University’s familiar soil, I think I can safely say this trip is not going to be my last.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *