Today marks our last free day in Rome and the end of our study abroad program. Through our excursions and class meetings over the past month, we have learned about the Italian political system, ancient Roman history, and life in Italy as a whole. We saw more churches than we can count and some of the most famous artwork in the world. We ate enough pasta and pizza to last us a very long time. We engaged in service learning activities that allowed us to interact with political refugees, homeless cats, and the Florentine Misericordia ambulance service. We have done all this and more, and we would invite you to look over our past blog posts to hear all the details, if you haven’t done so already :-)
As a group, we would like to thank Professor Magee for imparting his wisdom throughout the month and helping us plan such an awesome trip. We would also like to thank the Honors Program for giving us this opportunity-allowing us to pilot what we hope will become a new trend for UD’s study abroad program. Lastly, we would like to thank you, our readers, for following our day-to-day postings and giving your feedback. We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip as much as we have!
Now, a few parting words from each of us…
This past month has been the time of my life. I got to to do everything I wanted to do and ten times that. A favorite activity of mine in Italy was trying Spaghetti alla Carbonara at as many restaurants as I could (I tried 16 in all). I was also able to cross “Ride in a Gondola in Venice” off of my bucket list. Our group meals got me to try things I would never eat at home (like any type of vegetable), and the service component of the trip made me step outside of my comfort zone. I am so grateful for all of these experiences. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Magee for facilitating such a wonderful trip and to thank my classmates for being such amazing friends. I truly had a blast and I couldn’t imagine going abroad with any other group. Ciao Amici!
I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who took me everywhere, but never have I been on a trip like this! Free to explore on my own (and with friends), I did exactly what I wanted to do and saw exactly what I wanted to see, all while absorbing the unique culture of Italy, learning about it’s political system, and making amazing new friends. We did so many great things this month that it’s impossible to pick a favorite. It might be a while before I can even look at another plate of pasta though, after eating so much of it! I also want to thank Professor Magee for leading us on this great adventure and for being a wonderful professor and friend to us all. Arrivederci, loyal readers!
~ Max Levites
Looking back, we’ve had an amazing month seeing more of Italy than I could have ever imagined. Although it’s almost impossible to pick just one, my favorite moment of the trip has to be looking over Rome from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. It might be because I experienced it after a full day of exploring the city with my friends (and climbing up all those stairs!), or it might be because it offered a spectacular panorama of a place that feels like a second “home” to me now. It’s hard to say ciao to such an unforgettable experience, but I’m returning back to UD with new friendships and countless memories to treasure. Thanks again to Professor Magee and to my classmates for making this study abroad program everything I hoped for and more.
Wow, I could not have imagined a better study abroad experience with a cooler group of people. This trip opened my eyes to Ancient Roman History, the great artistic period of the Renaissance, as well as modern Italian culture. During our trip, I kept a running list of my favorite churches, so here is my final top five in case you ever find yourself touring Italy:
- Santa Maria Assunta (St Mary of Assumption), Siena
- Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs), Rome
- Basilica di San Pietro (St Peter’s Basilica), Vatican City
- Basilica di San Francesco (Basilica of St Francis), Assisi
- San Paolo fuori le Mura (St Paul Outside the Walls), Rome
Thanks to all my friends on this trip and Professor Magee who made us feel at home despite being 4000 miles from Delaware. Ciao for now, but I know I’ll be seeing everyone again soon!
- John Klodnicki
Throughout this past month, I have experienced more than I could ever have imagined in the amazing country of Italia. I had the most supportive group and professor with me on this journey, and I have confidence in saying that we never wasted any time. I have seen well over 30 churches, walked 100s of miles, visited some of the most famous monuments and museums in the world, and made 14 new friendships. This time abroad has helped me to become more well-versed in art, less judgmental, and more independent. It is always important to have those experiences that not only help you become a better global citizen, but a better person as well - this, in my eyes, has accomplished both. Italy has sparked an even bigger travel bug in me and I cannot wait to explore more of Italy, and more of the world. Thank you to my all of my new friends and Professor Magee for making this the experience of a lifetime.
- Chelsey Rodowicz
I had an amazing time in Italy and learned so much both about Italian culture and myself. You may remember from past entries that I love to climb stairs, any stairs really, but if they lead to a fantastic view, like those to the top of St. Peters, all the better. Something you may not know though is that I am also a connoisseur of bathrooms. As a girl with a particularly small bladder, I had the opportunity to explore many “toilets” in Italy. Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Italians don’t like public restrooms; you’re more likely to find an ancient stone toilet than a real porcelain one. If they are available at all, they cost (I boycotted these on principle).
2. If you want to find a restroom your best shot is stopping in a restaurant and picking up a cappuccino (at least you spend your 1 euro on a drink and a toilet)
3. One thing the Italians do better – sinks. Automatic sinks can be tricky, how do you get your hands to line up perfectly with the sensor and wash them at the same time? The Italians solved that problem with foot petals, your hands stay clean and you have complete control over the flow of water – brilliant.
That’s it for me, I hope these helpful hints will enrich your future travels
– Grace Oldfield
Without a doubt the previous month in Italy for me has been the most memorable experience of my life. I learned an enormous amount about the Italian culture, its politics, geography and most importantly, myself as a person. I got to see the Pope, climb two of the most famous basilicas in the world, and see the Italian National Parliament, three things I never could have imagined doing in my life before I went on this trip. However my favorite part was having the opportunity to experience all of this with fourteen incredible friends that I will have for the rest of my life. I would like to thank Professor Magee for everything he did for us on the trip. He was always there when we needed him and I know we would not have been able to see so much of Italy without his knowledge and experience. Ciao !
How could I possibly articulate what this past month has meant to me? This trip to Italy has truly been the cherry on top of almost a decade of education in Italian language and culture. After years of reading about many of the places we went in books, seeing them in person was a whole new experience for me and a dream come true. Not having been able to utilize my speaking skills much in the past, this trip provided me the invaluable opportunity to apply what I’ve learned. Not only did my Italian help me read menus and street signs, more importantly, it allowed me to speak to refugees about their experiences and talk to a taxi driver about what it’s like to live in Naples and drive up to Mount Vesuvius a few times a day. I also could not have imagined traveling with a group of students more eager to absorb as much of the language, culture, and history of this beautiful country as possible than this group, which has become like a second family to me. It makes me smile to recall the amount of times I was asked, “What does this mean?” And believe me, I learned much more from my peers over this past month than they have learned from me. They, and Professor Magee through his unlimited wisdom, have made me a better academic and a better person, always challenging me to grow. I will never forget this trip and the people that made it the best experience of my life.
Grazie mille to all of our readers. Ci vediamo presto!
- Allison McCague
Going to Italy, I did not know what to expect. I did; however, know that I would be seeing amazing artwork. My personal favorite was anything by Michelangelo. I loved the Sistine Chapel and his Prisoners. What I learned most from this trip is that I like seeing new places and experiencing new things. I believe I have my thirteen new friends and one great professor to thank for making my first traveling experience one that I will never forget.
This was so much more than a study abroad trip…it was the experience of a lifetime. We traveled to dozens of cities and went on countless excursions. My favorite activity had to be climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. Our legs may have been sore, our faces sticky with sweat, and our hearts thumping out of our chests, but stepping on stair number 551, I knew we achieved more than just reaching the top—we grew closer as a group. I want to thank everyone for making this trip an amazing experience. Looking back, there is definitely something special about our group of honor students. We may have left the United States as peers, but we came back as family. Whether it was touring the Colosseum, debating the democratic principles of Italy’s government, or eating two-in-the-morning pastries, we all shared a passion for learning, adventuring, and immersing ourselves in this unique culture. Thank you so much Professor Magee, for giving me this opportunity. I have not only made my closest friends, but I have grown to be a more independent and global person.
Ciao! Kelly Kimpton
These past five weeks have been some of the most eye-opening and life-changing weeks of my life. Having never been outside of the country – having never even been off of the east coast – I was extremely excited for studying abroad in Italy. However, I had no idea before we left that I would be embarking on an adventure that would open me up and expose me to so many things: ancient Roman buildings still standing that serve as concrete engineering feats, history, history, and more history that really puts life today into perspective, Renaissance sculptures and paintings that look so real, the pure beauty of nature, modern European andAmerican politics, civic engagement and the crucial importance it holds in society, and so much more. Most importantly, though, this experience exposed me to 13 brilliant and loving Honors students whom I now call friends, and one of the best professors I have had at UD who served as a leader, mentor, professor, and friend. I am so grateful for this truly unique opportunity that has changed my life and opened me up.
- Mark Wisniewski
One of the main reasons I chose to come to UD three years ago was for the study abroad program offered here. I have never left the United States before this and had been looking forward to expanding my horizons for a very long time. Even though I had so many expectations, this trip and the friends I made far surpassed my wildest imagination. I got to see beautiful artwork, volunteer in a caring community, and eat delicious pasta and pizza (thankfully I had Grace to force me to walk off the extra carbs!) all while bonding with an extraordinary group of men and women. Professor Magee did not only teach us Italian politics and culture- he taught us all to trust ourselves and each other so we could fully embrace this experience. No words can express my gratitude and appreciation for those who made Italy one of the best months of my life.
Ciao (goodbye) to our readers, but also ciao (hello) to fourteen new friendships!
- Brooke Petruzzelli
During our first week in Rome, I came home from one of our excursions and just started crying. I missed my family and didn’t know what I was going to do being so far away from them for a whole month. Well, as I’m sure you know, I managed to do a lot of things in that month without them. And while you all read about our trips to museums and churches, I got to experience much more than those things. What truly made my experience in Italy was not the sights or the food, it was the group I got to share those experiences with. We struggled up the stairs of St. Peter’s together. All fifteen of us ate dinner together almost every single night. After we landed in Philadelphia and picked up our suitcases, it became real that we weren’t going to be with each other every day. And then the crying started again. While I will miss my new family, I know that we will make the time to see each other. I want to thank all of my new friends for making my study abroad experience so amazing. I would also like to thank Professor Magee for accepting me to the trip and having faith in me. (I would also like to thank him for taking me to the doctor in Italy when I had Strep throat and for getting me a cake on my birthday!) This truly was the experience of my life.
This trip was incredible. It was great to see all the history and sights and sounds everywhere we went. I especially enjoyed the ancient Roman ruins & learning about life almost two thousand years ago. The food was amazing, and so was the company. I could not have asked for a better group of friends to spend the month with. Together, we saw more than I could ever have imagined. Italy: we came, we saw, we conquered.