Immersed in History: Study Abroad Student Matteo Muehlhauser
Matteo Muehlhauser is a double major in Political Science and Italian from The University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Matteo participates in a club called S.I.B.C. (Student International Business Council) and in its consulting division. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus at Notre Dame, a US-based, nonprofit religious organization for Catholic men.
Why did you decide to study abroad in Rome/Italy?
I decided to study abroad in Rome because it was the best opportunity to improve my Italian language abilities in one of the most culturally and historically rich cities in the world.
How did you become interested in Italy/Italian language and culture?
Being born in Rome to an Italian mother, I have always had exposure to the language and culture. Unfortunately, however, my parents did not teach me Italian since I attended school on a U.S. military base and they were concerned my English would suffer at such a young age.
What do you like best about Rome/Italy?
I would have to say that the absurd quantity of priceless history in Rome constitutes its best quality. You don’t have to walk far to find something people from less historically rich countries would marvel at.
What was your biggest surprise?
I have been most surprised to see the wide variety of cultures represented in Rome and especially at JCU. I have met people from many different backgrounds who speak an equally large number of languages.
What do you miss most?
I miss having more pronounced season changes but I can’t complain too much about the weather so far!
How easy or difficult was making friends?
I was told that the degree-seeking students from JCU might be a little hesitant to make friends with study abroad students like myself but that has not been the case at all. I have found it easy to approach the students here and they often initiate conversations themselves.
What are your future plans?
Ideally, I would like to work as some type of consultant in the public sector working directly with a U.S. government agency, possibly the State Department.
What’s your advice to other students who are considering studying abroad in Rome/Italy?
I would tell potential study abroad students to be open to making friends with the degree-seeking students at JCU. They are generally very friendly and they can be very useful in giving you advice and showing their way around the city, especially the locals!