Over winter break, 14 University of Wisconsin-Platteville students went to Rome as part of a studying abroad winterim course.
“It’s so culturally diverse, especially in art. There are so many historical pieces and they are all so fascinating,” Jessica Ellenbecker, junior art education and graphic design major said.
The visual art in Rome course took students to Trastevere, Rome where they studied Roman artwork from the past and present.
“We had a broad overview of art history from Renaissance to modern. We went to the ruins and multiple museums,” Rikki Ballweg, junior art education major said.
The students and faculty were assisted with some of their expenses by the PACCE grant.
“PACCE grants definitely make short-term faculty-led programs more affordable,” Alyssa Shaff, education abroad coordinator, said.
The students needed to fulfill a service program, so they traveled 45 minutes by bus and subway in order to get to a park where students painted a mural and worked to beautify the park. While painting the mural, students noticed the park was littered with garbage and took it upon themselves to clean it up. While cleaning the park, students were assisted by a few Roman citizens who decided to contribute to their efforts.
Students also experienced a lot during their down time in Rome. During free days, students were able to wander around locations such as the doomed city of Pompeii and Vatican City.
When studying abroad, students get the opportunity to not only experience a foreign city, but the cultural differences as well.
Ellenbecker noticed that it was socially acceptable to always drink a glass of wine with your dinner, and that their portion size is smaller. On the other side, Ballweg noticed that a majority of Americans are loud compared to Romans. Being able to experience cultural differences is not the only benefit of studying abroad.
“The benefits of studying abroad are certainly endless. It gets students out of their comfort zone. They become the minority in a culture that is completely foreign to them, which can be very uncomfortable. It teaches students how to communicate with those from different backgrounds and opens their minds to different perspectives. I also notice that most students return to the U.S. as a more mature, confident, and independent version of themselves. Being able to put study abroad on your resumé can set students apart from others during their first job after graduation. It really is a growing experience that helps students develop into global citizens,” Alyssa Shaff, education abroad coordinator said.