January 2008 Archives

Eat, Drink, and be Merry?

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 This photo used with permission from Margaret Benson, Co-director, HDFS in Rome 2008.

First Days 051.jpg


One of the things that I am most looking forward to when I get to Rome is trying out all of the delicious food that I can.  According to Cheryl, food will taste better there than at home.  The fruits and vegetables are fresher, not picked weeks before it makes it to your table, but right before it is sold at market.  You may find you will have to shop frequently since the fresh foods will not last long. 

I am also looking forward to trying out the wines while I am there.  My brother's father-in-law had bought me a wonderful Italian red wine a couple of years ago, but unfortunately I didn't write down the name or region or anything.  I hope to try different wines from different regions while I am in Italy and beyond (I am planning to go to Switzerland after leaving Rome). 

For students, this may be one of the first opportunities for you to drink alcohol legally, since the legal drinking age in Italy is 16.  To say the least, we faculty in the program are concerned about each of you regarding your drinking habits.  We know it is exciting to be away from home, as many of you already know, since many of you live in State College.  We also know that you have gotten the message to refrain from drinking, since it must be BAD BAD BAD or else why would you have been told to "Just Say No"?  Well, you have gotten lots of mixed messages since most media images of drinkers involve people having a lot of fun in lovely locations.  You will be in a lovely location, but we want you to make wise choices.  Some of you may not drink alcohol for religious or personal reasons and that is admirable.  For those who do choose to drink, we wish you would be aware of the risks, which may arise as a result of overdoing it.  As you are no doubt aware, there are risks of alcohol poisoning, accidents, and the like.  There are also risks of being around others whom you don't know who may take advantage of you if you are inebriated.  Additionally, you need to remember that is a STUDY abroad program and you will be taking nine credits of 400-level courses in only seven weeks.  You will have a lot to do in a short period of time.  We believe that you should drink in moderation, if at all.  Enjoy your drinks, if you have them.  Don't see getting drunk as the goal.  We want you to have good memories of your time in Rome.

Here are some excellent, broader ranging thoughts that Tom Benson had included in a blog from last year.  You can also link to the New York Times article about tourists and drinking from his blog.   

Additional note:  National Public Radio also had a recent piece on American students "gone wild" in Florence. 

Too much work?

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This photo was used with permission from Margaret Benson, Co-director, HDFS in Rome 2008.

I got a message from one of the students accepted into the Rome program who was worried about how much work there will be for this program.  I think the answer is 'just enough'.  We want students to get a lot out of their experiences and the readings are designed to help them do just that.  If you have time this term to read for pleasure, I highly recommend starting with either of the Parks books, An Italian Education or Italian Neighbors.  Both of these can be picked up used through Amazon's used book sellers or other locations.  These are both entertaining, well written, and informative about Parks' take on Italian culture, customs, and quirks.  These are not the kind of textbooks that you will have to memorize every fact for tests, but instead are to be read with pleasure and for the atmosphere.  They should help tune you into some of the differences and similarities with our culture.  These books are primarily situated in Verona so the details will probably vary from what we experience in Rome, but they will help you think about culture, family, friends, and neighbors. 

My apartment?

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This photo was used with permission from Margaret Benson, Co-director, HDFS in Rome 2008.
Our block (the apartment I may have is in the building on the left, just past
an opening that represents a small alleyway.)

Accepting Students!

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We have sent out emails accepting students into the program. We have already heard back from a few students who have accepted us by email. We heard from a couple who have made other plans for their summers. We have even had a few who have officially applied via the International Programs (click on Programs, then type in HDFS in the box under Program Name:).

We are thrilled with the number and quality of the students who have applied for the program. We do have a waiting list and will add eligible students who may be applying in the near future.

We do want to make sure those who have been accepted apply for their passports right away. Visas are also required and students can apply for those no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of the program (March 12 is last day to apply). You can get more information on the International Programs website (go to "Preparing to go abroad" link, click Program Guides, then Italy for information on visas).

We would like to encourage students to be in contact with each other prior to the trip. I know that some of you are already on Facebook. Become my friend and Dr. Cheek's and then you can link to others through us.


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Image: The Pantheon as you come out of a narrow street off the piazza. (This photo was used with permission from Margaret Benson, Co-director, HDFS in Rome 2008.)

Every time I see an image from Rome, I get even more excited about going. Dr. Benson has kindly furnished me with plenty of images to add to the blog.

HDFS in Rome 2008

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Plans are moving forward on the HDFS Rome program. We have loads of great applications and are getting excited about meeting the students who end up in Rome with us. We are working on getting out the letters of acceptance and determining who is on the waiting list.

Dr. Thomas Benson has a lovely blog for the CAS program in Rome, which shares facilities with the HDFS program. His blog has some nice tidbits about Italy and helpful information about travel.

I will be adding more information about the trip and about Italy and Rome in general. Please add information that you find to help others.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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