Study trip to Italy opened students’ eyes to the world

Getting the chance to travel to a different country for two weeks with one of the best professors and the president of your college is not an opportunity that everyone encounters, so when I learned about the Old Italy, New Italy Liberal Arts in Focus program, I knew I had to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. This was my very first experience traveling to Europe, but Professor of History Diane Mockridge and President Zach Messitte really prepared us well and provided us with all the essential information you need when traveling halfway across the world.

The two weeks we spent in Italy were amazing. The trip is structured in a very well-balanced way, alternating where we spent our days — we would be in the city of Rome for a day, then go to a small coastal town like Castel Gondolfo the next. It is a really nice balance of being able to go into the city and experience all of the historical culture and pieces that Rome has to offer, but you are able to gain the experience of the smaller, more local towns in the area, as well.

Being able to experience the really famous sites like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Vatican City and the Spanish steps is really hard to explain. Seeing these amazing historical places is pretty breath-taking, but to be able to see these places with professors who really know the history behind them makes the whole experience much more special. I can say that I have been to all of these places, but I also left Italy knowing why they are so important and have an understanding as to why they are still so famous to this day.

Going on this trip with such knowledgeable people is a huge part of why I now am so passionate about Italy. Professors Mockridge and Messitte provided us with such great information that I really feel a strong connection to everything we looked at.

Seeing all of these sites was worth the trip allone, but looking back, the thing I cherish the most was the opportunity to really live and immerse myself in a completely new culture. Learning how Italians live their daily lives, sharing meals together each night provided by the amazing staff at the villa, and seeing all the differences from our own culture is something that not many people get to experience. This trip has really opened my eyes to all of the beauty and new experiences that the world has to offer.

I never used to be a person who had a strong desire to travel all over the world, but this trip has really made me see that the value behind traveling and experiencing different parts of the world is something that I want to continue to do in my life.

Hannah Metz ’17
Naperville, Illinois


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