Office of Study Abroad

Profile: Alex Bazarsky '23

Alex Bazarsky

Major/minor: Anthropology Major, LACLS and Art History minors

Study abroad program: Language and Area Studies in Rome (IES), Spring 2022

Reason you chose this program: I chose IES because they had the most interactive and hands-on classes within the areas of archaeology and art history. Additionally, I wanted to be in a country and city where I could explore and have access to archaeological sites and art museums and Rome was the perfect place.

Favorite classes: My favorite classes were Forma Urbis: The Archaeology of Ancient Rome and Classical Mythology. Both had two hour class periods where we would go and see in person the history/art/sites we had talked about in class earlier in the week. Being able to see and experience what you are learning about inside the classroom is unbeatable.

How did you incorporate your Brandeis areas of study into your study abroad experience? I am an anthropology major who focuses on archaeology so when I was signing up for classes abroad I made sure to take some that were explicitly about the archaeology of Ancient Rome. I also took classes that would supplement my previous classes here at Brandeis and that I wouldn't have the chance to take otherwise (ie. art conservation).

Housing situation: I lived in a dorm-like housing situation. I was a 20-30 minute walk away from the IES center and had easy access to public transportation that would bring me close to school and other field studies class sites. I was in a single which had a lofted bed and included a desk, kitchen, and shared bathroom with my neighbor. The building was filled with all college aged students from Italy and those also abroad.

What were some parts of your identity that you thought about while considering study abroad that other students may want to talk to you about? When going abroad I thought about how being Latina would affect my interactions with native Italians. I also thought about how I would celebrate and keep Jewish holidays in a very Catholic city/country.

Did you apply for any scholarships? If so, which ones and how did they impact your time abroad? I applied for the IES scholarship and that helped cover some of the fees and experiential activities I participated in that they put on. Not having to worry about how much events/activities cost allowed me to take every opportunity offered to me and make the most out of my time there. I also applied for the Brandeis Sachar scholarship which helped me feel less of a burden with travel fees and tuition amounts. Without this burden I was able to go into my study abroad experience a bit more free.

Favorite memory: My favorite memory was walking around Rome at night when my Mom came to visit and showing her all the big sites and the information I had learned about them. Getting to experience these great monuments beautifully lit up at night was spectacular.

Greatest challenge: My greatest challenge was learning to advocate for myself to the IES Rome administration and to Italian sources of power. Learning to be independent and speak up for myself was difficult but has made me feel so much more powerful in the end.

What you know now that you didn't know before: I know now that I am stronger and more resilient than I previously thought.

Fact about Rome that you think people would be surprised to learn: Italians are proud of their cuisine and do not like it when you ask to change a dish in anyway (ie. no cheese grated on top). Similarly, they are offended and confused when you don't finish a meal and want to take leftovers home.

“Learning to be independent and speak up for myself was difficult but has made me feel so much more powerful in the end.”

Alex Bazarsky '23