Dorm Life is one of the most integral parts of daily life at any university, and this could not be more evident than at the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC). The reason being is because at the end of each day, we come back to a home away from home, where many of us study, unwind, reflect, have a fun time or maybe even try to do it all (sometimes all at once). Since the Rome Start class consists of twenty students, we have been paired into rooms of two, with the majority of roommates representing different nationalities. This is by far one of my favorite aspects of dorm life, because this gives both the American and International students the opportunity to learn about each other’s cultures and perspectives in an environment in which we share great commonality.
In addition, all the Rome Starters have the luxury of occupying most of the fourth floor, which adds to the experience of connecting to one another. Living with roommates and literally living together as neighbors on the same floor has bonded us as the literal international family we have become in this short amount of time. By establishing such a strong connection and a warm environment almost immediately, we have also inherently filled a void of family. If it was not for this opportunity of living so close together, I know the experience we’ve had thus far would have turned out to be something completely different.
Our dorms in some ways are like the perfect oasis from the “chaos” that may lurk outside the hallways or common spaces. The dorm is a place that represents the individual student, the roommates as a whole, and a piece of their respective hometowns and university experiences. This of course is an amazing thing in addition to the close proximity to the laundry room and having spacious, personal balconies. In certain respects our rooms could be described as paintings, where the elaborate framework is derived from our previous experiences at home and where the actual subject itself represents our current state and our prosperous future at university.
As the saying goes, “you truly get to know someone when you live with them.” This quote could easily sum-up how we have all learned about one another during the course of our first semester in Rome. Throughout a typical week at the JFRC, the Rome Starters spend frequent hours together between living, eating, studying, and socializing. Even when there are times that we may be apart, we still know that at the end of the night when we return to the comforts of our fourth floor dorms, that we are still a unified family. This family has instilled a sense of home, even if this home may be only an hour away or oceans away, from our first home.