Aug. 10, 2012
By Stacey Luke
FRESNO, Calif. --- Katelyn Haynes, a speech language pathology major and member of the Fresno State Equestrian team, traveled across the globe to study the history and culture of Italy with 29 students and faculty from the Smittcamp Family Honors College this past summer.
Haynes, who will graduate in the fall, had the opportunity to visit historic locations throughout the country and learn from native Italians on a 16-day study abroad trip.
Haynes took time to sit down with GoBulldogs.com to describe her first experience outside of the United States.
GoBulldogs.com: What inspired you to pick Rome as a study abroad location?
Katelyn Haynes: I needed to travel to finish a class in order to graduate early, and they were either going to go to Rome or London. I have always been interested in ancient history and Roman mythology, so Rome was the perfect place for me to visit. I was very excited to see all of the ancient ruins and history there.
GoBulldogs.com: Where did you study in Rome?
KH: The Smittcamp Family Honors College studied through a program called ACCENT, which catered to American students studying in Italy.
GoBulldogs.com: Where did you stay during your trip?
KH: I stayed in an apartment in Rome for the vast majority of my trip. I had one roommate in my room, and there were eight of us in one apartment. I also stayed a night in a hotel in Pompeii and in Florence during my trip. While I didn't get to stay with any locals, it was comforting to come home to Americans and a familiar culture at night.
GoBulldogs.com: What did you study?
KH: I studied the culture and history of Italy, Rome in particular. It was a Humanities course, and we were taught the history of Rome at actual historical sites. We would tour both the sites and museums and be taught as we walked around. It was a lot more interesting and beneficial than a typical classroom lecture. Also, the professors went to all of the sites with us, so we could ask questions and engage in conversation as we toured the exhibits.
GoBulldogs.com: Had you been to Italy before? Do you speak any Italian?
KH: I have never been to Rome before, and I did not speak any Italian before my trip. I was able to get by with my knowledge of Spanish (as the two are fairly similar), and English. The majority of Europeans speak English and were willing to work with us.
GoBulldogs.com: How was the culture different from the U.S.?
KH: The culture was very different from the U.S. First off, Italians make large use of public transportation, and walk everywhere. It was very different to walk from destination to destination, and not drive. The food is also different in Italy. They eat a lot of carbohydrates and their dinners typically consist of multiple courses and take hours to eat. All of the food is delicious, especially the pastas and coffee. The gelato was my absolute favorite; I honestly ate it at least twice a day. I will never look at ice cream the same way.
GoBulldogs.com: What is the most interesting thing you experienced during your stay in Italy?
KH: I experienced many interesting things while I was in Rome. I really enjoyed my day in Pompeii, and walking around the ruins of the city. It was eerie to imagine all the citizens of Pompeii on the day Vesuvius erupted, scrambling to get out of the city. Seeing the great works of art from all of the famed artists that I had learned about for many years was also very interesting. The pieces of art looked so different in person versus a textbook, and are truly majestic. A textbook does not do any of these paintings and sculptures justice. Many of these pieces are absolutely huge and incredibly detailed; a simple photograph cannot capture that.
GoBulldogs.com: Would you want to return to Rome?
KH: I would absolutely love to return to Rome. Even though a saw a lot of the sights, Rome is such an interesting and compact city that there is always more to see. I would not mind revisiting some of the sights that I saw before as well.
GoBulldogs.com: Did this inspire you towards a specific career?
KH: This trip did not inspire me towards a career, as I already know what I would like to do and this was not related to my major at all. It did however inspire me to learn more about the classics and history.
GoBulldogs.com: Anything additional that was interesting about your trip.
KH: The coolest thing about Rome was that I was in the actual places where all of the historical events that I had previously learned about took place. It was also amazing to see just how different Italy was from America. I loved experiencing the new country, but it made me love and appreciate my country even more.
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