Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center


Are you a Tourist or a Pilgrim?

Are you a Tourist or a Pilgrim?
There is an idea that I love. An idea, that I think is truly beneficial to students studying abroad. This idea is that there are two types of travelers: a tourist and a pilgrim. A tourist follows the set route and sees what everyone else does. They don’t stray from routine and don’t really make their trip their own. They show up to a city and have the walking route set for each place they are going to visit and even have their tickets pre-booked. ‌
And then there is a pilgrim. A pilgrim allows their heart to be changed by an experience by diving headfirst. They open their minds to new cultures and customs. They may stray from the typical plan of a tourist and find something off the beaten path. Or they may take the beaten path and put their own spin on it. So how does a student become a pilgrim? They allow themselves to be open to new experiences. If they're approaching something that feels a little out of their comfort zone, they lean in to that discomfort, and the rewards they reap are great. 
At JFRC, our students have an incredible opportunity to really settle themselves into Rome as opposed to visiting for a few days. For a full semester, they have the ability to take on new experiences, but also have the space to take a step back every now and then and reflect on their experiences to see where they're growing. To understand what they're are learning about themselves. They have the time to become a pilgrim and have their experiences change them. They have the resources to allow their hearts to be changed, because they can immerse themselves in the transformative experience that is studying abroad!  
"Are you a Tourist or a Pilgrim" written by Elly Hahn