Start of the semester

So yesterday I started my semester off with voice lessons. Yes, I am, in fact, taking voice lessons. I never thought that I would take voice lessons. I never wanted to take voice lessons.

A few days before leaving for Rome, I was taking a look at the course overview for each of my classes and noticed my Architecture in Rome class was consisted of more than just looking at the architecture; I had to draw the architecture as well. I wasn’t feeling very confident in my drawing skills, so I looked for another class. The only one that fit in my schedule was… voice lessons.

Back to voice lessons. Our professor is a little old lady with a HUGE voice. She sings beautifully. She had us each sing notes along with her on the piano so that she could gauge where we were in terms of vocal ability. It was definitely an experience. Thankfully, only one person in the class has had some previous experience (her name is Madison and she is part of the Silhouettes a’cappella group at Loyola). Our professor then had us each pick a song that we had to sing in front of the class to help us get over our performance anxiety. I picked “I Got Rhythm” by George Gershwin, as I’ve played it on my trumpet before. Needles to say, playing it on my trumpet was MUCH easier than singing it.

I then ate lunch and afterward went to my philosophy class. At first, my professor was really intimidating. He had a rough look to him that almost made me want to drop the class on the spot. But then he started cracking jokes and the mood lightened up a bit. Everyone in the class seemed to relax. I’m not exactly thrilled that I have to take another philosophy class for core (my first was honors last year), but this one should be bearable. It’s all about Italian Renaissance philosophy. I’ll let you know exactly what that is when I figure it out.

My last class of the day was Italian 102. Now, for some reason, I tend to really like language classes. However, I never seem to put enough effort into the classes to master the language I’m learning. I remember some of what I learned last semester (thank you, Anna Segre!) and I think that I will be able to handle this class. I plan on putting more effort into the class than I did last semester… At least I hope I will. My professor seems really nice, which will make the experience all that more enjoyable.

Later, I went to dinner and then had to rush to an opera performance by students from the music conservatory here in Rome (the performers were students of my voice lesson instructor). It was so interesting to listen to people that have been training for years to have beautiful voices.  I then went to a study trip meeting and found out about all of the trips available to students throughout the semester. Unfortunately, the Tunisia spring break trip has been changed due to the current political situation there. It is very unfortunate, but at the same time it is probably for the best. They did schedule a replacement trip. The replacement is a week long tour of Greece, but I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. I just need to figure out where elsewhere is.

Today, I woke up and signed up for the Prague study trip. I am really, really excited! A few of my friends also signed up for the trip, so it should be a good time. The only part that isn’t so exciting is that on top of the cost to go with the school, we also have to pay air fare. I think it will be worth it, though.

Then I ate lunch and went to my first literature class of the semester. My teacher is from Rome and likes to teach in the form of asking a series of questions that you are sure to get wrong, but which build to the point he is trying to get across. I am not really a fan of this teaching style, but the class itself sounds interesting. It is called “The Immigrant Experience,” and the literature we are required to read includes The Godfather. How cool, right? It is a writing intensive class, but it shouldn’t be terrible. The majority of our papers will be short reactions to novels and movies that we will read and see throughout the semester.

I then had Italian again. I still enjoyed it and am still trying to refresh my memory on everything that I’ve forgotten over the past two months. I wish that I would have brought my notebooks with me, but what can you do? I ate lunch, hung out a bit in the library, and now I am typing this.

I signed up to be an English Language Speaking Partner with a student at the English Language School here at the Rome Center. It isn’t a large time commitment, but will hopefully be good for me and whomever the student I am paired with is. It is not paid, but it sounds fun nonetheless. We have no requirements as to what we are supposed to do, so we can just hang out or help each other with homework. I’m really excited about this amazing opportunity.

I didn’t sign up for calcio, or soccer, though I would have liked to. Maybe there is still time, but I was having a difficult time making up my mind. Almost all of my friends chose not to participate, but my roommate did. I may give it a shot.

Well, it’s off to bed. Reading in bed, at least. It still takes me a while to fall asleep. But at least I’m not jet lagged anymore and can finally get to sleep.

I hope you’re all well and enjoying the start of the new year!

About Austin Sears

I'm a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in sociology and minoring in urban studies and photography. The purpose of this blog is to document my semester abroad in Rome!
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