Rome, Italy

Jaya Marshall

UMBC: Faculty-Led: Picturing Italian Art & Culture in Context in Rome, Italy

Major: Visual Arts

June 30, 2023


Just a few more days until I hop on my first plane (ever!) to go to Rome, Italy. I’ve been doing all the natural things that happen before you go on a big trip to another country. 1. Think about packing (while not packing) 2. Speed Running Italian on Duolingo (Mi chiami Jaya, come stai?) 3. Not getting overwhelmed (One 1000, Two 1000…) But before I spend this blog pondering on whether I should pack my Brown sandals or my Black ones, let me introduce myself. Hi! My name is Jaya Marshall, I’m an upcoming senior this coming fall studying Visual Arts with a concentration in Cinema and a minor in Theater. I’m also happy to say I’m a proud Gilman Scholar. I’m super excited to represent both Gilman and UMBC while in the city of art!

Though my concentration in visual arts is in cinema I’m hoping to get more of an inside on foundational art by visiting places like Pompeii and the Vatican. (Who knows, maybe this trip will give me an idea for a film!) My flight to Rome is at 4 PM but my Mom’s driving us up at around 12 so can “skip the crowd.” I don’t personally understand the big deal. I mean, hey. Einstein said time is relative right? Instead of boring you with my flight semantics let me tell you about the goals I’ve set for my time abroad.

  1. Take awesome photos! One of the classes I’m taking in this Faculty Led Trip is called “Picturing Rome” and it’s a class where we learn how to take amazing pictures, all with our phones! I’m excited to improve my photography skills, as photography is just a few steps away from the cinema.
  2. Practice my Italian and order at a restaurant in Italian! I’ve been practicing Italian for a little over 2 months now as well as chatting with locals online and I’m excited to be immersed in the language, but also a little nervous. I can’t wait to improve!
  3. Learn a little bit more about what I want to do with my major. I’m already a senior and there are so many possibilities. I’m hoping this trip will open my mind in whatever shape or form. (I cannot wait to see CINECITTÀ studios! A film studio that filmed over 3,000 films.)

I can’t wait to share my experience in Rome! But in the meantime, check out this super cute passport holder I got. (As well as a mini book haul for the plane!)












July 7, 2023

Ciao Tutti!


My first flight ever finished and it was…a success! I’ve only been in Rome for a couple
of days but I feel like as soon as I landed I could instantly see the difference in the

culture here. The women who scanned me through checking were singing Dancing
Queen and everyone was laughing even though they were so obviously jet lagged.
Almost immediately after I landed we had orientation and went on a pizza and gelato
tour, trying different Pizzas from different places, and finally ending it with some
amazing gelato. One of my favorite things about Rome is the aqueducts, all the water in
Rome is fresh and clear so everyone enjoys the water fountains around Rome, even the
















One of the first things I noticed about Italy was how different all of the fruit and candy
tasted. The chocolate here is a lot richer than the ones in the States. The next day we
were given a city tour and learned about the many landmarks in the heart of Rome. I
think my favorite was Rome’s supreme court. We also saw so many different landmarks
like the Pantheon and the trevi fountain. But ultimately my favorite piece of scene was this shot of the river.



The next day we went to the aqueducts and gosh it was hot! It was almost 90 degrees!
However, the sun wasn’t blinding like it is in the States but the beauty of the park makes
up for it. There were so many beautiful landmarks and we only covered a little bit of the
area! I can’t imagine what it would be like to live near the area and use it as a
hang-out spot. The way our program works is we go and visit the site and then have a
little lecture about it afterward. Here’s a pic of us at the aqueducts!



Overall I’m in awe of how much I adore the city. I love hearing Romans outside of my
window and seeing the beautiful art and architecture wherever I go. I can’t wait to see
what else is in store.
That’s all for now, see you next week! Ciao!





Week 2 of Rome is in the books! This week was even hotter than the last with the hottest day gaining up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the weekend I worked a little bit on my photos for my ART 369 or PICTURING ROME class. The assignment was to find the modern in the ancient. Here’s an example below! Be sure to check the hashtag #umbcart369rome to see other student examples!

On Monday we visited the Coliseum. I was amazed at how massive it was in person. The inside was so intricate, it felt crazy to think that we were standing where ancient Romans stood thousands of years ago. Here’s the outside and a few group photos of us!


On Wednesday we visited the Pantheon and then the catacombs (two very different experiences.) There’s a cool photo trick you can do if you point your phone at the light trick at the top.



The most surreal places were the catacombs of St. Agnes. (Look up her story, it’s a crazy one!) and the City of the Dead. In ancient Roman times, Christians were condemned by Pagans so they would bury their dead below ground in catacombs. We couldn’t take pictures out of respect for the dead but just know the place went on for miles. We were allowed to take pictures in the church though, check out how beautiful it was!



I think there’s one quote that I saw on a plaque in the City of the Dead that will stick with me forever. What you are, we once were. What we are, you will be.

And with that morbid quote: I’ll end the blog here! Tune in next to see how my trip to Pompeii went.



Roma Week 3

The Pompeii visit was a success! We saw so many amazing sites on our weekend excursion. In addition to going to Pompeii, we also visited another ancient ruin site called the Herculaneum. There, we saw an ancient kitchen and an ancient bedroom. We also learned about the many different markets in the ruins. These civilizations were so advanced that their city is even more preserved than Pompeii with several wooden objects able to be seen. It was so funny to see so many modern things like phones and tourists in these ruins, it was like walking into a movie set where all the actors were on break.  After those visits we had lunch and the smoothies were delicious and refreshing after a hot day of walking all day!


On Monday we visited the Vatican Museum (an easy 10-minute walk from my apartment!) For those who don’t know, the Vatican is a Catholic museum that displays an incredible collection of works from well-known Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Incredible is too light of a word to describe this museum. I’ve never stared so hard at a ceiling in my life and pictures don’t do it justice but I’ll try it anyway.

The next day we saw the Borghese Gallery (my personal favorite field trip) this gallery focused less on catholicism and more on paganism and had several statues depicting some of my favorite myths. This statue in particular tells the story of Apollo and Daphne, a tragedy of unrequited love.

After our visit, we had a lunch break and I discovered my new love for Italian plum cake. They can be picked up at our local grocery store and are to die for. I’ll definitely miss them when I come back to the States. Another thing I’ll miss is interacting with the locals. I love how Italians treat tourists, so far all my interactions have been so pleasant and it makes me feel even more connected to the city. On Wednesday we went to several different churches around the city, they were stunning. The churches here have some of the most beautiful art and architecture I’ve ever seen in my entire life.


Friday though, was some of the most fun I’ve had here! I had a free day so I decided to check out an amusement park based on Cincetta Studios called Cincetta World, be sure to check out the UMBCLife Instagram account to see my experience there. Next week is my last week in Rome. I’ll miss it so much, I’m definitely going to make the most of it.

Until next week Retrievers,





July 26, 2023

As I’m writing this I’m currently gathering all my extra souvenirs I bought to put them in my bag. It’s my last full day in Rome! Let’s rewind and look at the week.

We started the week with a visit to Cinecitta Studios. One of the most famous film studios in Europe!  This house above was a set design for the favorite Italian TV series In Medico in Famiglia, which was a really important turning point as it allowed Cinecitta to consider tv shows as well as films. The inside of this house is just scaffolding! They also have a really fun green screen, here are some silly photos of students (and the professor) using it.


Then on Tuesday, we went on a walking tour to see different churches and statues! It was the perfect weather and it even rained a little bit!

It was an interesting juxtaposition from Tuesday to Wednesday because we went from Baroque pieces to contemporary pieces but I really enjoyed both equally.

Today we visited the last church as a class and then had an (amazing) lunch. I’ll miss getting a cappuccino and croissant for only 2 euro.

CEA (our abroad advisors) gave us a little present for our flight. It was a mint planting kit.  Here’s us all holding it before our goodbyes!

I really should go pack now I’ve got an early flight! Check in next week for my last reflection!





Last Reflection Italy

I’ve been back in the states for a week and it’s still difficult to process the 6-hour shift. It was funny, when I landed in Rome I didn’t have any sort of jet lag but it was completely different when I came back to the United States. I only stopped falling asleep at 5PM yesterday! I’ve been so accustomed to saying Ciao and Grazie when entering exciting stores that I almost said it twice in US stores. My mom looked at me a little funny when I formed the “Ci-” at the sushi store and immediately stopped myself.

I think one thing Rome really helped me realize is how relatively new everything in America really is. The Washington Monument was built in 1848. That was only 200 years ago. The roman pantheon was built in 125 AD. Our country still has so much history to build off of and it makes me appreciate the sites I saw in the Eternal City even more. But it also makes me appreciate the US more, the country is still so new but we’ve come a long way. It’s certainly good to be back.

To anyone reading this wondering if they should go abroad. Do it! It doesn’t matter what year you’re in, it will truly change your perspective on things and help you to bridge the gap between you and a different culture. As the Romans say, Carpe Diem!

Thanks for joining me on this journey,