As a law student, there are few opportunities to call class fun. Most of the time you sit cowering in your seat, hoping to remain invisible to your professors. There is little to look forward to and much less that can be considered interesting. However, the chance to study any type of law abroad transforms one of the hardest and sometimes most boring subjects into something to look forward to.
I studied Roman and Canon Law in the Vatican. Spending time in Italy was so far the highlight of my law school career. From learning from some of the most experienced professors in a subject they truly cared about, to immersing myself in the culture, gave me countless experiences. I recommend anyone jump at the chance to study in another country. It both adds flavor and makes learning a new subject less intense.
The professors who taught men while in Italy were more than I could ask for. They truly loved the material they were teaching and were fluent in Italian as well as the culture. I, along with fellow students, took as many opportunities to tour with any of our professors during our free time. Not only were they fun outside the classroom, but they were able to show us a better time than we would have been able to experience alone. They knew the best places to eat, the best shops, and where not to go. In addition, they knew how to manage class. We wanted to learn, and did not mind that we had class in the morning, because we knew they would make the law interesting and would want to leave in a reasonable time in order to spend the better part of the day out exploring.
Because I had wonderful professors, I was able to not only learn the subjects signed up for, but I was able to see several important sites of Italy. From traveling to Pompeii, exploring the Vatican, to nosing through some undiscovered museums, every day was full of new experiences. We were given a huge portion of our time to travel as we liked. We were required for a handful of tours, ones most important to experience. After those, we were encouraged to go out on our own, to experience the new country in our own way. Professors were more than happy to guide us and even help us get somewhere.
We were housed in a small hotel. It was both clean and friendly. We were a few blocks from Saint Pauls itself. There we were provided breakfast, something I filled up on in order to save money for shopping. The food was wonderful! Nutella stuffed croissants, meats and cheeses, and the best cappuccinos around! The rooms were not only clean, but bright, though a little small.
Food in Italy cannot be explained adequately. Instead, all I can say is that the food was better the less touristy I went. The back restaurants were filled with native people, native food, and decent prices. After a few days I quickly learned any restaurants on the main streets were way over priced. I learned to eat a lot early in the day. As the day progressed I would find a market to buy something fresh to eat. That plan saved me money to shop with. In addition, my friends and I found a grocery store by our hotel where we bought several snacks and other foods in order to save money in the long from. We bought bottles of wine to have in the room with cheese and crackers.
Overall, I came home remembering everything I learned in class, stories, experiences, and a sense of another culture. I learned pieces of the language and had the opportunity to see art and architecture I only saw in books and movies. Coupling what would be a vacation otherwise with courses allows for expansion of knowledge in more than the conventional ways of simple museums. By the end not only was I exposed to Roman Law, but I was also exposed to Roman LIFE!