Ricci Scholars begin the fall semester of their junior year conducting research on the “East” and “West” utilizing resources at Loyola's John Felice Rome Center (JFRC), then the Loyola Vietnam Center (LVC) in Ho Chi Minh City. During this two-semester program, Ricci Scholars may study Vietnamese and Italian, participate in travel excursions, explore both cultures and their histories, and work on their intercultural research projects with the assistance of faculty from Chicago, Rome, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Ricci Scholars return to Loyola’s Chicago campus for their senior year to complete a one-credit course preparing their final presentation for Loyola's Weekend of Excellence, a student celebration of achievements, in the final phase of the program. The inaugural group of five Ricci Scholars began their studies in Rome in Fall 2007.
Key aspects of the Ricci Scholars Program
Academic credit and designation: Students who successfully complete all aspects of the program (UNIV 301, UNIV 302, UNIV 340) will earn a total of 7 credit hours for their completed project and for participation in program seminars. At graduation, they will be specially designated as Ricci Scholars if they have successfully completed the requirements of the program.
Rome Semester (“West”): Students spend the Fall Semester at the JFRC where Loyola has been educating undergraduates since 1962. Among Western Europe's largest study abroad programs, the JFRC is a well-equipped American center located on Monte Mario, 20 minutes north of Vatican City and 30 minutes from Rome’s historic city center. At the JFRC, Ricci Scholars may study Italian and come to understand European culture more thoroughly through courses and guided travel. Students will be taking Ricci Seminar UNIV 301 in the fall.
Vietnam Semester (“East”): Ricci Scholars spend the spring semester of their junior year in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, at the LVC. Since COVID-19, the “East” course has been taught online, with special trips to Vietnam when permitted and possible. Established in 2011, the LVC provides students with premier comprehensive education about Vietnam and its history. LVC professors include some of Vietnam’s best faculty from local universities. While at LVC, Ricci Scholars may study the Vietnamese language and culture and travel on school-sponsored educational excursions about the country's institutions and rich history. Students will be taking Ricci Seminar UNIV 302 in the spring.
Faculty involvement: Ricci Scholars receive preparation as sophomores before leaving the U.S., including being certified by the Institutional Review Board. The program also offers assistance with language acquisition, guides students through the travel component in their junior year, and helps them as seniors to complete their project presentations. Designated faculty in Italy and in Vietnam coordinate student research and immersion activities in Ho Chi Minh City and Rome. The students take a one-credit course (UNIV 340) back in Chicago to thematically link the two semesters, which will be presented at Loyola's Weekend of Excellence.
Research projects: Ricci Scholars will be expected to prepare an intercultural research proposal, work with a faculty mentor, and conduct a portion of their research onsite on the “East” and “West”. Students will be encouraged to choose a topic related to their majors to explore a significant question or thesis on “East” versus “West” during their junior year abroad. Research proposals may be for a paper, a portfolio, or other creative project consonants with undergraduate curricular options at Loyola University Chicago.
Research and academic support: Supported by program supervisors in Rome and Ho Chi Min City, Ricci Scholars receive personal assistance in developing research projects and topics. Scholars can also take advantage of classes in Vietnamese and Italian while in Ho Chi Minh City and Rome. As seniors, returning Scholars serve as peer mentors to sophomores beginning the Ricci Scholar program.
Scholarship coverage: The Ricci Scholarship covers one roundtrip flight between Chicago and Rome and one roundtrip flight between Chicago and Vietnam. Also included are a stipend, research-related travel while in Italy and Vietnam, and faculty support. Students will pay tuition and room and board at Loyola University Chicago during their junior year, according to rates for the John Felice Rome Center and, if open, the Loyola Vietnam Center. Generally, institutional aid from Loyola University Chicago as well as financial assistance, will apply to enrollment at JFRC and LVC.