Academics: Rome, Florence, & the U.S.


Studying abroad in a new city allows you to see the differences between your home university and the current university you are studying at. When I studied abroad I got to experience two universities and the differences between the two were astounding.

John Cabot University:
There were definitely pros and cons to studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome. Overall John Cabot is set up as an American school that teaches in English but is placed in Rome. There is a wide range of classes similar to the University of Kentucky for a variety of majors and interests. The classes themselves range from being very challenging to pretty easy; depending on the subject and the amount of time you spend on the subject. For the most part, professors are generally enthusiastic and interested in the class and their students. Although, you may encounter one or two teachers that can be unorganized and not as enthusiastic to their students, but you can find these teachers at any school. The classes themselves are pretty small, at most twenty students. I thought that it made the class more interactive and fun, as well as allowed me to get to know the teacher better. The attendance policy is a lot stricter then UK and teachers only allow students to miss one or two classes. The environment of John Cabot is very diverse with a mixture of Italian and international students. The campus itself is very spread out. There are two buildings in Trastevere and another one closer to the Vatican. If you take art history classes or drawing classes, you will meet on location around the city. The library itself is significantly smaller then Willy T, and significantly less students could study in the library at one time.

Lorenzo de Medici:
At Lorenzo de Medici, the class structure is completely different. The courses aren’t extremely rigorous but require you to do the minimum to get by. A lot of the work is conducted in class, especially if you are enrolled in more art workshop kinds of classes. The more intensive courses actually end up being more liberal arts classes such as painting, drawing, jewelry making, sewing, sculpting, but because the classes only meet once a week the work load doesn’t seem to be too much. The classes are considerably smaller than John Cabot and UK. In my Italian and sewing class there were only eight students in the whole class. The university as a whole isn’t as diverse and for the most part there are just study abroad students from the United States. The attendance policy is extremely strict allowing only two to three absences the entire semester. The campus itself is pretty spread out, but because Florence is a pretty small city it doesn’t take long for students to get from class to class.

University of Kentucky:
At the University of Kentucky the teachers for the most part are pretty relaxed and easy going. The class sizes range from hundreds of students to tiny classes in upper division subjects. The courses also range from being extremely rigorous to easier depending again on the subject of the class itself. There usually is a lot of homework and students spend more time outside of class preparing for the next lesson or busy work assignments that are due. The university isn’t extremely diverse but does have a variety of students that attend the school. The attendance policy is pretty lax and range from no attendance policy at all or up to six to seven classes that can be missed in a semester. The campus is pretty compact meaning that all the buildings are together, but because the campus itself is quite large and spacious it can take ten to fifteen minutes to get from one side of the campus to the other.


By: Caitlin Banbury

Caitlin is a senior English major and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador at UK. She studied abroad in Italy for an academic year (one semester each in Rome and Florence) with the partner program API.

For more information about the program that Caitlin completed, follow this link to the program page.