Dylan Mayer ’17 – After visiting the Forum Romanum, we visited the place that I have dreamed about since I was 6 years old, the Colosseum. Since the moment that I heard Russel Crowe shout his powerful line “Are you not entertained?” I knew that I needed to visit the Colosseum in Rome before I was too old. Even being able to just walk up to it and see how massive it really is places everything you’ve ever seen into perspective. Knowing as you walked into this circular arena that there were people who died here fighting others or even animals created a somber mood in my heart, but it didn’t diminish my excitement one bit.
As I stepped through the entryway out into the open for the first time, I finally saw one of my childhood dreams come true. When you enter the Colosseum, I also was able to see and understand all of the things that we had talked about in class leading up to this trip, such as understanding the layout. In the Colosseum, there are numbered entry arches, which when entered (with a ticket labeled with the number of an arch), would take you to wherever you were supposed to be seated. The higher class or prominence that you were, the closer to the floor you were able to be. While we were there, some of us even stopped at some of the exhibits that they had, which explained how the trap doors worked and explained the different types of battles that took place. Nothing has made me feel as excited as seeing the Colosseum in person.
Jordan Smith ’17 – Today we looked at all the buildings we read about in class. The thing that was surprising to me was how close and on top of each other, all the buildings were. When I pictured the forum of Augustus and the forum of Divine Caesar they were not cramped with all these other buildings. It was cool to actually see what we study come to life. I am also impressed with how well the buildings have age over the thousands of years.
One of the things I enjoy most about the city is all the different food options you have. I have yet to find a meal I did not like. Everything here is very good. The people are also very friendly to us, for the most part anyway. We do have people look at us weird because we are tourist and have no idea how everything works. But we figure it out and have a lot of fun exploring how different the culture is compared to the United States. I have picked up some Italian along the way. I learned no more than to say hello, goodbye, and thank you. But it is more than what I started with.
This experience has been great so far. I learned the locations of these ancient buildings on paper, but to see it in real life is phenomenal. I am excited to give my presentation in Ostia and go to my first ever soccer game later on in the week. This opportunity has been nothing but great. I am glad I took this course mostly because I get to experience a part of the world I never thought I could. I look forward to the rest of the world.