A Summer in Bologna – Greek and Latin Summer School
By Cassidy Meyers
When life hands you $10,000, you must go to Italy. First, I must acknowledge the honor and privilege of receiving such a generous scholarship. It was an unreal experience reading the email from Dr. David Mulroy himself, announcing that I had been selected to receive the scholarship. Immediately shocked, as I had not even considered applying until I was urged to do so by several professors. Secondly delighted, as I realized I had just been handed the study abroad opportunity of a lifetime. It is not a common occurrence that a Classics department is endowed with such funding.
I was presented with many travel options, so long as the program was either in Greece and Italy and focused on the study of Classics. I had already been to Greece a few summers back and opted to travel to Italy. Professor Cova referred me to a program at her Alma Mater in Bologna. This program was not for the faint of heart: an intense, three-week program that immersed Greek, Latin and Ancient Culture into a nine-credit package. While there were many other programs that offered lighter workloads while still supplementing an enriched, educational experience, I thought the GLSS program would be most beneficial to not only my language studies, but to my academic resume as well.
The city of Bologna itself is stunning and great for students. It is easy to navigate, boasts the oldest university in the world and provides excellent food. I stayed in a hotel that was just a five-minute walk from the university, however there are plenty of dormitories around the city provided for students. They fill up quick though, so I had to book more expensive accommodations.
The first day of the program offered a practical and historic tour of Bologna, as well as an introduction of course expectations. The classes themselves were challenging: Latin began promptly at 9:00am, a one-hour break for lunch around 1:00pm, and Greek began at 2:00pm with the day ending around 6:00pm. A substantial amount of homework was given, which resulted in late hours studying at a café. This was the ‘double-duty’ intermediate course that I chose, and while the days were long and vigorous, the course proved to be extremely helpful in the end. I had not been enrolled in a Greek course in over two years and was surprised at how much of the grammar and vocabulary I was able to recall. Whether a student has zero to minimal knowledge or many years of the Greek and Latin languages, the program offers both beginner and intermediate courses. It was an enriching experience that certainly improved my language skills.
The GLSS program additionally offers an optional weekend trip to Rome (for a couple hundred Euro extra). I could not miss an opportunity to visit the Eternal City and so I went. Rome was a whirlwind of beauty, history and fantastic architecture. It is hard to experience all of Rome in just two days, but it was well worth the trip. In between my studies, I had one weekend to explore Italy on my own. I and a few other students took the train to Venice and had the day to tour the city. While Venice has a reputation for being full of tourists (which it was), the charming streets away from the noise stole my heart. We were fortunate enough to visit the Ducal Palace, housing the most elaborate and lavish wall and ceiling paintings I have seen.
I left Bologna with a reinforced knowledge of the Classical languages, a dash of modern Italian that I picked up while there, lifelong friends, and an unforgettable experience – all thanks to the generosity of the donor who founded the David Mulroy scholarship.