David Haggard ’10 – My experience in Rome has truly been a blessing. Studying aboard in Italy has enriched and enhanced my study of religion. I feel like I am completely immersed in the Catholic culture of Italy, whether it be having my Baroque art class in St. Peter’s Basilica or the Borghese Gallery or going to daily mass with Dominican Nuns my study of religion constantly surrounds me.
One of my favorite stories so far in my travels has happened to me at the beginning of the Studying Abroad. I was on my way to Mass to a Church that Professor David Kubiak recommended and of course I got completely lost. So after hour and half and missing Mass, I hopped on the first random bus. I then precede to strike up a conversation with the man next to me. He sees that I am holding my Roman Missal and tells me that he is in fact a Byzantine Priest. He then invites to Mass with him. Little did I know that the Church where he Presides also houses La Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth). Legend has it that any liar who sticks his hand in the large marble mouth of the face will have it immediately bitten off. La Bocca was made famous in the 1953 film Roman Holiday which stars Audrey Hepburn. So anyways the Mass was amazing (the east has amazing liturgy) and the Priest took me out for Coffee afterwards. It was also the first time in my life where I was surrounded by non-english speakers. Talk about being immersed.
I have spent most of my travel time visiting small Italian towns and villages. My favorite town has been Alghero in Sardinia (a town on one of the islands outside of Italy). The seafood was amazing, I had chargrilled octopus for the first time. Alghero was also a great place to practice my Italian since none of the natives knew any English. The people were nice and the beaches were perfect. I had a great time.