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Marisa Duca, ’19

Close up image of student of the week Marisa Duca

What made you want to study abroad?

I’ve never been out of the country before so I was ready to break out of my shell and experience something new. I have Italian heritage so I wanted to see that kind of culture and how it’s different from what I have at home. South Philly Italians are a culture within itself and I thought being here would be so easy but I experienced culture shock along with everyone else.

What do you like most about your classes at Temple University Rome?

I like how small and personal they are. At Temple, you have huge, lecture halls where the smallest class you might have includes thirty kids but here, I have a classroom of about six. Here, you have a personal relationship with not only the other students but also the teacher so they help you on that level. The connection from this is one of my favorite things about the classes in Rome.

What are you most excited to learn about while abroad?

I think the language in general. I was scared that I wouldn’t get the hang of it or I would just be a big challenge, which it was in the beginning. But I think now having taken the language, I am able to use what I learned in the classroom in everyday life. I hope to take what I’ve learned and teach others back home.

What is your favorite spot in Rome?

I love to be near the Trevi fountain. The fountain is so old and the history behind it makes you want to just keep exploring. There’s also a restaurant there called il chianti which has the best pasta.

What is the coolest thing that you’ve done so far while abroad?

For my mafia class, we went to Palermo and that was really interesting because we went to an anti-mafia memorial. My teacher Greg Smith was really awesome and while we learned about these topics in class, it’s fascinating to hear stories from the people who experienced it.

What would you like to accomplish by the end of the semester here in Rome?

When I came here I wanted to meet new people and experience new cultures and I think I’ve done that. In the end, I just want to keep the friendships that I’ve made, keeping up with experiencing new things, and getting out of my shell versus going back home to go back to the same routine.

What advice would you give to students thinking about attending Temple University Rome in the future?

Put yourself out there, book trips, be yourself, and everything will come naturally. Going abroad is a great experience but don’t stress too much about friends, classes – it’ll all be there. Focus more on your experience of the culture, yourself and Italy. Take advantage of being in Italy. Many people miss out because they’re going to other countries but experience Italy while you’re here.


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