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Living History: Karen Explore Italian Language, Art, and Culture in Rome

Karen Rojas

Major: Psychology
Participated in UCEAP Semester in Rome
Planning to study abroad again in Summer 2022 - this time on a FLEAP!

Female, early 20s, with dark hair, sitting on stone steps in front of old stone buildings in Italy
Karen Rojas in Italy on UCEAP semester program in Rome (Spring 2022).


1. What surprised you about living and learning in Italy? 

The education system and expectations are different abroad so there was definitely a learning curve. That being said, it was amazing to be in a city with over 2500 years of history. I was able to learn things by visiting historical locations, monuments, museums, etc. which I would not have through a text book. 


2. What advice would you give to future students about preparing for and adjusting living in a new environment?

Set achievable goals before flying to your destination to help you explore yourself and your surroundings while abroad without overwhelming yourself. As time passes by and you become more comfortable you can expand on your goals. It is really important to start your experience with an open mind and being respectful of other cultures. It also does not hurt to have a basic understanding of greetings and phrases of the country you are planning on visiting. 


3. What advice would you give to UCR students wanting to study abroad? 

Do not limit yourself whether it may be with expectations or experiences. Ask yourself what is the motivating drive for your want to go abroad (personal growth, education expansion, future career) and research cities and programs that fill that need. But most importantly start saving as soon as you can.


4. What are two or three favorite moments from your 4 months in Italy? 

I have so many amazing stories from my time abroad but some of my favorites were made with the friends I made in Rome. 

Some of my favorite memories in Rome are walking around Trastevere with my friends, sharing about our week and discovering new food spots. It may seem like something small, but these were the moments in which I felt the most at home while in Rome. 

Weekend trips outside of Rome are some of my favorite stories of my time abroad. There is so much chaos trying to plan a trip with 6 other people 2-3 weeks before you go. The adventure is to just wing through the weekend with no concrete plans (be flexible).





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