Study abroad provides taste of Italy

A summer study abroad experience gave a Trine University senior the opportunity to connect with his roots.

Fernando Bauzo, a communication major from Murrieta, California, traveled to Italy from May 19 to June 27, taking classes at the Tiber campus of John Cabot University in Rome.

“I wanted to experience Italian culture,” he said. “My mother's side of the family is Italian, and I wanted to learn more about where they come from.”

To get to campus, Bauzo would walk from his residence in the Gianicolo Apartments near the Tiber River through the Trastevere neighborhood, experiencing its sights and sounds.

“My friends and I would see a new restaurant on our way to class, and would tell the others to meet there for dinner,” he said.

His classes, held Monday through Thursday, covered the history of ancient Rome and Italy. Outside of class, he traveled around the country. One weekend he watched the end of Giro d'Italia bicycle race in Milan.

“I never thought I would see a race in person, but I really enjoyed it,” he said. “The whole city was filled with energy. As the racers came in, the crowd went wild. I could hardly hear my friends, and we were only inches from each other. My favorite memory from Milan was shopping with my friends. It was crazy to think that I only knew these people for a week, yet we spent all our time together.”

Other trips included Napoli’s underground city, Mount Vesuvius and the Vatican.

“I was in awe while we wandered the ruins in Pompeii,” he said. “I used to watch so many shows on the History Channel. I loved walking the streets. I was amazed how so much remained after this disaster. I remember the view of Mount Vesuvius most. It loomed over the area. I could only imagine how the inhabitants felt when the volcano erupted.”

“I loved to learn about Rome and the Vatican. I could not believe that I was actually there in person. My favorite part was the Sistine Chapel. I didn't want to leave. The chapel was so beautiful. For me, that was the highlight of the entire trip.”

Bauzo said the trip whetted his appetite for more of Italian culture. He hopes to visit the country again and perhaps even move there.

“I think this is an experience everyone should have,” he said. “For me, experience is the best way to expand your knowledge. You can read and watch shows about it, but nothing is better than experiencing it firsthand.”

Photo: Fernando Bauzo holds a Trine University flag in front of the Altare Della Patria in Rome.