A picture is worth 1, 000 words: This one photo sums up my experience perfectly

Stephanie Shirley
The International Core Curriculum Rome
Summer Semester 2016

They say a picture is worth 1, 000 words, then my experience is surely immeasurable. In the quickest 4 weeks of my life I got the opportunity to experience Rome in a way even the locals couldn’t, as well as travel to 7 amazing countries. This opportunity was more than worth-while, it was life changing.

My name is Steph, I’m 19 years old and currently in my final year in a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Brisbane campus. Previous to this experience, I had never travelled by myself anywhere in Australia, let alone overseas. I have always had the desire to travel, but as a university student, it’s quite challenging timely and economically. Australian Catholic University offers their students not only the opportunity to travel overseas with included accommodation, food and sightseeing experiences, but also helps immensely with funding towards this trip for a great deal of participants. Without this funding I don’t think it would have been possible for me to have travelled to all these beautiful places.

I started off my travels with the UNCC300 Roman experience. In a jam-packed 2 weeks, I met the most amazing group of people, including my wonderful tutors, Kath and Teresa, and the insightful guide, Claudio. I found the intensive semester so much more helpful for learning and fully understanding the key concepts and ideas required for the unit. The classes were slightly smaller but were so much more engaging than if it were a normal 12-week semester back is Brisbane.

I believe that I have been living a bit of a sheltered life up until this point. My parents have always wished for and given me the best of everything and tend to be quite protective of their oldest child. As part of the Rome course, we visited multiple sight visits relating to our tutorial notes and assessment pieces. Living in a different cultural environment and visiting these underprivileged people really opened my eyes to different circumstances that I had never fully grasped before, it definitely helped my understanding of Human Dignity in numerous atmospheres. Although they were a little confronting, it was undeniably something I needed to see and experience.

Of course we also got free time to be able to do our own sight-seeing; the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Catacombs… the list is endless, getting it all done in such little time was definitely an effort! Oh and just a heads up, it’s free entry on the first Sunday of every month, do I need to say more? Also, as an added bonus, we also got the opportunity to start our New Year in Rome, sitting on top of one of the many hills looking down upon the entire city while sipping on wine is definitely one to remember (and before you say anything, yes it’s legal to drink on the streets there).

After Rome, I planned to visit as many countries as I possibly could in such little time. I travelled with a bus tour around Europe, visiting 7 countries (including Italy, again!) in just 9 days! It was interesting seeing the different surroundings, and I can’t deny that my earlier studies were also broadening my perspective on what I was encountering on this trip, and I’m sure it will continue to when I get home.

Although the 24 hour flight was absolutely awful, the positives most definitely out-weighed the negatives. I would 100% recommend this opportunity, or any study abroad opportunity, to anyone about to study UNCC300. I learnt and experienced so much more than I ever could in Australia. As my mum say, I have now caught the travel bug and am already planning my next move only 2 weeks after returning to Brisbane.