Hannah Huzzey, University of Iowa undergraduate from Driftwood, Texas, recently studied abroad in Rome and graciously agreed to share her reflections with International Programs. The honors student is double-majoring in ancient civilizations and classical languages.
Hannah at the Musei Capitolini in Rome, Italy
What motivated you to study abroad?
My family has always loved to travel, especially my grandparents, and this instilled in me a desire to see the world. My decision to study in Rome was motivated by my study of classics. I’ve been studying Latin and Roman history since high school and I was eager to see all the things and places I’d been learning about in person.
Hannah at Via Appia Antica, the old Roman Appian Way, that ran from Rome to Brindisi
You did a homestay as part of your study abroad experience—what was that like?
It was an incredible experience! My host family was amazing. I lived with an Italian woman, her teenage daughter, and another American student. My host mom was so kind and welcoming. She helped me learn how to navigate life in Rome, practice my Italian, and made sure I got the most enriching cultural experience possible. They also had two cats named Buzzo and Ginger who I absolutely loved. Ginger was a bit shy, but Buzzo hung out with me all the time while I did homework and studied either in my bedroom or the living room.
You intended to study abroad for one year (Fall 2019 and Spring 2020) through the IES Rome program, but your program was cut short due to Covid. What was that experience like?
My program was cut short due to Covid and I was called home from Rome two months early. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I had to leave behind Rome, the city that I had fallen in love with, as well as all the wonderful friends I had made. I lost my once-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity. When I returned home, I was absolutely crushed.
Hannah completed an internship at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Do you have a favorite memory or two from your time in Rome?
I have several favorite memories from my time in Rome. My absolute favorite was my internship at the Colosseum. I, along with three other IES students, worked as archaeological interns cleaning, analyzing, and cataloging some of the architectural marbles in storage there. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it made me so happy. Another favorite was a class trip I took at the end of the fall semester to Pompeii and other archaeological sites around the Bay of Naples area. I got to spend three days exploring the most incredible sites with my professor and classmates. Plus, it was the first week of December, so Sorrento (the town we stayed in) was decorated top to bottom for Christmas. It was beautiful.
Were you able to take some interesting courses through IES Rome?
I was able to take a lot of courses that related to my majors through IES Rome. Pretty much every class I took was related to Roman history and archaeology. The professors were amazing, and I learned so much from them. All the classes included field studies during which we would visit a site or museum related to what we were studying at the time. It was such an enriching educational experience.
What are your future career goals? Do you feel your study abroad experience helped to prepare you for your professional future?
I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in either classics or classical archaeology and hope to be a professor someday. My study abroad experience definitely helped to prepare me for this. Most of the professors that I studied with in Rome were classicists and archaeologists and I was able to learn so much about the field from them. My internship at the Colosseum also gave me first-hand archaeological experience that will be invaluable to me moving forward. It also allowed me to make professional connections that may come in handy down the line.
Hannah in Sorrento, Italy
Did you receive scholarship funding to help support your study abroad experience?
I received the Naomi Gunderson Scholarship for Foreign Language Study Abroad to support my study of both the Italian and Latin languages. I am extremely grateful to the donors who made the scholarship funding possible. It was very helpful in covering the cost of my experience.
Do you have any advice for UI students thinking about study abroad?
Do it! I know the idea of leaving your home behind to go somewhere new and far away can be intimidating and a bit scary, but it is so worth it. The experiences that you will have while abroad will be some of the most rewarding and exciting of your life. It can open so many doors and provide so many opportunities. Don’t allow fear to hold you back or stop you from going abroad.
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