Study Abroad: Study Abroad Profile: Valerie Smosna '13
Valerie Smosna joined the IES program in Rome for study abroad and utilized the rich culture of art and sculpture in the beautiful city to continue her studies in art history.
Why did you choose Rome?
As a History of Art major, I had always planned on studying in Rome. Because of the longstanding artistic tradition in Italy, I was able to see so many wonderful works that I had only previously seen projected in classrooms. And Rome is known for its beauty. I wanted to experience a city that so many people fall in love with.
What did you learn outside of the classroom?
I learned how to adapt to a new culture, which is valuable skill in any new setting. The pace of the city was so different from what I have experienced in America, so it took a lot of adjustments. Whether it was learning to relax while the buses never came or accepting that I would never be able to find a cup of to-go coffee, I learned how to put aside my own standards and accept another pace for life. Once I was able to do that, I found life in Rome to be incredibly enjoyable.
What is the most surprising thing that happened to you there?
I feel like I encountered surprises every single day. However, the most notable one was a project that I got involved with through an internship at a contemporary art gallery. What I thought would just be a typical gallery internship turned into a fundraising project to help conserve the Sanctuary of the Scala Santa, a 16th-century site known for its religious and historical significance. I got to meet great people, work on an incredibly worthwhile project and practice tons of Italian. And after that experience, I've begun to consider a career in art conservation.
What did you bring back?
I've come back with a new path of study, the drive to improve my Italian, a bunch of great friends and a whole network in place for when I want to return (which will hopefully be soon).