Coco Tin ’19 is attending classes that are a 10-minute walk from the Pantheon this spring semester 2017. As a junior in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP), she and her fellow classmates are required to study for one semester in one of the most ancient and architecturally famous cities in the world: Rome.
Tin, an international student from Hong Kong, wanted to experience the university in a campus setting and have the freedom to minor in a different subject in addition to being able to study abroad. She also needed a program that could combine her passion for art and its origins with her dreams of becoming an architect.
“The architecture program is fantastic. It’s what drew me to Cornell. It gives me a wide range of opportunities to learn and explore personal interests,” says Tin. AAP allows her to study abroad without compromising her goal of receiving an architecture degree with an art history minor on time for graduation. Cornell AAP is consistently ranked as one of the country’s top programs.
“The class hours here seem shorter than on campus…because they are more compact, which allows us to explore the city on our own. That’s really where you learn the most.”
Tin explains that participating in Cornell in Rome, the department’s abroad program, is a highlight for many of the architecture students. The facility is located in the middle of Rome’s historic center, and students are taught by carefully selected scholars, artists, and architects, alongside faculty from the Department of Architecture at Cornell.
She takes classes that explore archaeological sites, museums, art exhibits, and historic landmarks in and beyond Rome. “My favorite class is Architectural History, although it is exhausting and requires quite a bit of work, I enjoy it as the majority of the lectures are taught outside of the classroom,” says Tin.
In addition to classes, numerous field trips to various regions of Italy are built into the program. In the past, students have visited Venice, Pompeii, Sicily, Bologna, Modena, and more during the semester.
“When we went to northern Italy we saw a lot and slept very little. It's different, experiencing a city with your professors. Your eyes catch onto things that you may not have noticed if you had travelled alone,” Tin explains.
Tin feels fortunate to be able to study in the middle of Rome. “It's amazing to see the classical works in real life that we've been studying since freshman year. Everyone comes back from Rome enriched and with a full appreciation for architecture,” she says.
According to Tin, Cornell in Rome is much more flexible than Cornell’s core architecture program but still links directly to her interests and major. “I like the freedom of the program, as it allows me to explore architecture more through the eyes of the artist. Historically, architects and artists were the same,” Tin says.
On a typical day-to-day, Tin has class from nine o’clock in the morning until one o’clock in the afternoon with studio time on Mondays and Thursdays until four. “The class hours here seem shorter than on campus at Cornell. That is because they are more compact, which allows us to explore the city on our own. That’s really where you learn the most,” she explains.
When asked if her stay in Rome brought about any surprises, Tin remarks that it is more touristic and crowded than she had expected, but Rome is as rich in history as she had imagined. “I feel lucky to be here,” she says.