Colin’s Semester at JCU: A Home Away from Home

November 17, 2019

Whether we like it or not, we’re already halfway through month of November. I use the word ‘already’ because the time between my August orientation at John Cabot University and current-day has utterly flown by. Where did this time go? For me personally, it’s been spent receiving lectures in riveting on-site classes, forming relationships with people from all over the globe, and indulging a bit too much in the Italian cuisine readily available in the city.

Likely due to the countless number of incredible days I’ve had and memories made during this semester abroad, I’ve recently come to an important realization—I’ve fallen head over heels for Italy, the Eternal City, its people, and John Cabot University. Rome has officially begun to feel like a home.

Prior to this revelation, the overwhelming feeling of homeyness is something I had only experienced twice in my life: at my true home in Boston, Massachusetts, and at the site of my first semester abroad in Limerick, Ireland. Boston, Limerick, and Rome all have one thing in common for me personally—they began as a house, but with time, they made the transformation into a home.

There’s a very important difference between the two. A house is strictly physical; it’s simply walls and a roof to protect you from the outside world. However, a home has more to it. A home is filled with emotions, memories, and sentimental attachments to a physical place. It’s all the associations, both positive and negative, that you make with the location you’ve built a genuine relationship with. The connection that you build with a physical site is exactly what makes that transformation from a house into a home. The connection with an individual and their home can never be broken, and it certainly never fades.

I recently had the opportunity to return to Ireland for the very first time since my semester in Limerick. I’ll never forget the feeling of pure bliss I felt when taking those very first steps off my Aer Lingus flight to Dublin Airport. As I took my first breaths of the Irish air, my current roommate, Colton, looked back up the airplane steps at the look on my face. He put my expression into the simplest words possible: “Colin is home!”

It’s almost the end of my semester here at John Cabot, and I realize that Rome has already had a profound impact on my life. Rome has provided me with infinite stories and experiences that I’ll be sharing for the rest of my days. Between walking through the ruins in my on-site classes to spending nights running through the empty streets with new friends, to visiting the Vatican City, Pantheon, or Colosseum just a few minutes away, every street and corner has a story to tell in my own life story. This phase of my life spent living in this truly unique, breathtaking city has been one of the most enriching opportunities. These final weeks of my semester will be spent cherishing every moment I have left and immersing myself in my new home while I can. I’m sure that in future years, I’ll be stepping off the airplane at Fiumicino Airport for my long-awaited reunion with this wonderful city—and I’ll be home again.

Colin Barnes
Economics major
Study Abroad Fall 2019
University of Massachusetts in Boston

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