“And so we came to Rome… ” Acts 28:14 – So says the author of the Acts of the Apostles when St. Paul and his companions arrived to Rome after a long journey. Last week, 36 students from Providence College and I arrived in the Eternal City for a semester abroad. Our travel was much easier than what St. Paul faced in the 1st century A.D., but plane cancellations due to weather, re-routed itineraries, and some lost luggage added to our sense of being “on pilgrimage”.
The CEA Rome Team welcomed us with open arms and big smiles upon our arrival and then gave us an intense three day Orientation Program that helped our entry into the Italian way of life and our academic study program.
This week we started classes and Monday morning we began our New Testament in the Eternal City course, which is at the heart of our PC in Rome experience. The course consists of classroom lectures and site visits around the city so that Rome becomes a “classroom” for us.
During this first week of introductions, orientations, and fresh beginnings, I’ve asked the students what they were hoping for from their study abroad experience in Rome. We talked about why they chose Rome as a destination and what they expected from our Program. Here’s what some of them said:
“Possibly the biggest decision of my life, last Spring I decided to study abroad in Rome. Living an hour away from Providence College I have never been far from my family and home. Studying in Rome this semester will not only open my eyes to a city of great history and culture, but I hope it will help me grow as an individual and an adult as well.”
“I hope to learn more about the beautiful city of Rome from a religious point of view. Obviously before I arrived in Rome I knew of the typical tourist points like Trevi Fountain however I would like to learn about different aspects of Rome that are not common knowledge.” -Francesca Coughlin
“In Rome, I hope to gain a lot of independence and embrace my curiosity about the world we live in. Ultimately I would like to immerse myself in the most authentic Italian cultural experience possible. Seeing as I come from an Catholic, Italian-American family I hope to gain an even greater understanding and appreciation for my heritage, my faith and myself as an independent individual.” -Brittany Ricci
“I am hoping to learn about my faith as a Roman Catholic. I am also expecting to learn by simply living in such an ancient, beautiful, and rich area. I intend to seek out information about my surroundings, and carry the memory of this experience with me my whole life.” -Maria McLaughlin“Throughout the spring, I will aim to visit many of the locations which I have studied in my Civ and Latin classes. I want to take advantage of every moment in Rome and experience this culture through my studies and travels.” -Sarah Wacik
“I am from Kentucky and study Religious Studies at the University of Kentucky. I am very excited to study theology here in Rome, as the majority of my classes at UK are comparative religion courses. I was excited to meet other Religious Studies majors on the trip. So, I am definitely eager for the discussions in class!” – Nicolette Mullins
“I am an English major with minors in religion and film and media studies at Swarthmore College. I studied abroad with this program because I wanted an education in theology that my school can’t offer. I want to learn more about my God and a faith and religion I really love, so I signed up for classes that will hopefully help me out with that. I can’t wait for class!”- Suness Jones“This semester abroad I am hoping to further develop culturally, intellectually, and religiously. I expect that my travel and exploration will enhance my world view in numerous ways.” -Dylanne Axelson“I hope to further develop myself as individual, and become more open minded. I hope to be able to adapt to this culture and learn more about it. I expect to broaden my horizons regarding historical knowledge and also expect to make this experience an unforgettable one!”- Gianna Fournier“I am expecting to learn more about the Italian culture and expanding my horizons turning me into a global citizen.”- Kerrie Lynch
“I expect to gain a great understanding of the Roman culture outside of the normal environment that I am accustomed to. I hope to learn things that will help me in my future, whether personally or academically.”-Veronika Abkarian
“This semester I am hoping to explore my surroundings and come out of my comfort zone! I am excited to learn more about the sites that Rome has to offer.”- Paige Lee
“I am hoping that being abroad will open my eyes to all the world has to offer. I am never left the U.S before, and I want more than anything to become immersed in the italian culture.” -Conor Maloney
“What I hope to expect from this semester is a whole new challenge and experience. Living in a foreign city is an opportunity that not everyone is lucky enough to have the chance to do. I also look forward to exploring the rich history that Rome offers and really getting to know the city.”- Daniel DeFilippo
“I hope to gain new friends and an understanding of the different cultures of the places I travel to while abroad. I am most excited about the new memories I will make while abroad and the food, of course!”-Alivia Thoubboron
“I’m hoping to learn to be more open to leaving my comfort zone while studying abroad. I’m looking forward to learning to navigate and feel comfortable in this unfamiliar setting and hone my adaptive skills by dropping myself in a completely new world.” -Bryn Roeder