Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Italy


By Nicole Richards

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Gianmarco Imseih Petrelli, a junior IMS & entrepreneurship major studying in Rome, Italy this semester with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Rome Open Campus Program.

At Miami, Gianmarco is involved in Alpha Kappa Psi, Evans Scholars, the Miami University Men's Glee Club, the Armstrong Student Center Board, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship. He is studying a wide range of topics this semester, from Italian and Vatican history to media, gender, and identity.


wwmw-rome1Why did you choose the program that you did?

Being half Italian myself, I wanted the opportunity to live in the country where my family is from. Rome is such a unique city like no other, and since I had flexibility in my schedule, I became determined to learn more about this really special place.

Coolest places you have visited?

Two of the most eye-opening experiences I have had so far were visiting Dachau Concentration Camp during a trip to Munich, as well as seeing the village where my family came from here in Italy. Visiting Dachau really put the whole history of the Holocaust into perspective and gave me a new sense of respect and solidarity with those who have been affected by the Holocaust. The other place that I really enjoyed was going to Grottammare, Italy, which is the town my grandparents immigrated to the United States from. I was able to meet the last living first cousins of my grandfather, see the house they used to live in, and meet cousins I never knew I had. I really never felt more at home in such a place far away from my actual home!


What is your favorite part about your program?

My favorite part of the program has to be the people and the staff. So far, everyone I met has been so welcoming. Another cool part about living here in Rome is that we live with Italian students in university. Being able to share an apartment and their city through their eyes is really something I’m thankful for.

How has your identity impacted your time abroad?

Being in America, we really take for granted how easily accepted parts of our identity are. In different parts of Italy and even Europe, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and so many more struggle with simply living normal lives here. During my time here, I have tried my best to learn about these communities and try my best to be an advocate as much as I can. In addition to embracing my own culture living in Italy, I have learned so much about how diverse the nation is, as well as the history that makes it up.

How has the study abroad experience changed you so far?

My time abroad has given me so much more than I ever expected. I feel a greater sense of independence, resiliency, and confidence from living in a non-English speaking country. I’m thankful for the global perspective I've gained from the relationships I have made, and I've learned about how the world really is so much more similar than I thought. One of the greatest quotes one of my Italian friends told me was that “as different as we might be, we all laugh in the same language.” Laughter, good conversations, and continued curiosity have really made my time abroad so special and life changing.

Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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