Spring 2018: Andiamo in Campania!
The first two weeks of orientation can be jam-packed with information, but it is also memorable and exciting. The info sessions included practical skills to staying happy and healthy while living abroad, how to adjust to culture shock and making the most of the study abroad experience. Additionally, students were introduced to their new home, the staff, faculty and administration, as well as how they can get involved on campus, in the Balduina neighborhood, and Rome. Despite these many introductions and workshops, the first few nights were not wasted; students boldly ventured into the ity center in search of gelato and built community with one another over delicious dinners in the centro.
Oreintation consists of seeing the historical beauty that Rome has to offer: the Colosseum and Forum. For student Jessica Criollo, a junior from Loyola University Chicago, the visit solidified the fact that she was studying abroad. "I couldn't believe it all summer, but then suddenly, it hit. Seeing the Colosseum, I thought, 'I live here now."
Students were amazed by the beauty other regions in Italy have to offer with their weekend visit to Campania. The tour included visits to the stunning Reggia Caserta, a stop to the Vannulo buffalo mozzarella farm and the Vini Marino Vinicola, sunsets in Agropoli, dancing the night away with the local folk music group Tammuriata!, and concluded with unforgettable views from the Abbazia di Montecassino. Student Rachel Romualdo was particularly taken with the visits to the Reggia and the Basilica in Montecassino, saying, "The spaces I find myself in here in Italy, particularly the spiritual spaces, truly inspire me to remember my faith here."
Orientation wrapped up with the traditional Mass of the Holy Spirit. This year's mass was particularly special as the JFRC commemorated the tenth anniversary of founder John Felice's passing. Director Dr. Michael Andrews reached out to the JFRC community to send forward names of loved ones who had passed away to be written in the Book of Remembrance, which was placed on the altar in the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio during mass. Dinner in the centro followed afterwards as the students, faculty, staff and guests of the John Felice Rome Center celebrated the official academic beginning of the Spring 2018 semester.
"It was an unforgettable way to start a semester. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I will not receive again," said junior Elizabeth Cardona. "I won't have the same experience with the same people and visits, but that's what makes it all the more special. I'm ready to see what else Rome has in store."
For more photos from the Spring 2018 Orientation Trip, check out our Facebook album.