Darby Guinn, honors English and journalism major, took her January intersession course abroad in Rome. Darby was one of 15 students who worked with classics professor David Fredrick to establish narrative and initial level designs for an online, game-centered version of the course Introduction to Classical Studies in Rome. The game will focus on the fictional (but plausible) history of a Roman family from the mid-Republic through late Antiquity, and the action will take place in the Circus Flaminius, the Theater of Marcellus, The Temple of the Vestals and the Ara Pacis, among other ancient sites. Once in Rome, Darby was met with towering 2,000-year-old architecture, the stress of trying to order a salami sandwich in Italian, and a new-found love for making the past come alive through video game writing.
Without Dick Kelty, I would not have survived my trip abroad. No, Dick was not on my trip, and no, I’ve neither met him nor know what he looks like. Dick Kelty invented the modern backpack in 1952, and I thanked him for it every day that I was abroad in Rome, Italy, studying Ancient Roman society for a video game. Whether it was toting around my books and sketchpads as we ran around an ancient ghost town or packed to the brim as we sprinted through the infamous Charles de Gaulle Airport, my backpack proved its worth time and time again as others fumbled with rolling bags. I’ll just go ahead and start this out with some advice: if you go abroad, bring a backpack, and make sure it’s a good one. It could very well save your life.
The one thing people really didn’t prepare me for was how much walking I’d be doing. After day two, I learned to pop ibuprofen in anticipation of the bruised feet and twisted ankles the cobblestone roads tended to give me, and for the sore shoulder from my backpack (which is a necessary evil). However, they also didn’t prepare me for how awestruck I’d be every second of every day that I was there. One second, I was certain that we were lost, and the next we would all be frozen to the spot, staring at the 2,000-year-old temple (now a functioning church) that is the Pantheon. Continue reading