Op-Ed by Grace McClatchy

There are so many incredible opportunities and experiences that come with studying abroad, especially with the CUA Rome Program. Having a campus where most of the students live allows us to be a part of this new place and culture while also not feeling too far from home. Some of the best parts of this program include group dinners, class site visits, weekend trips, and on campus masses. 

One of my favorite parts about living on the CUA Rome campus is that during the week we have family style dinners. There are incredible chefs that come in and cook homemade, Italian meals for us four days a week. This has been such a bonding experience for all the students in the program because it allows us to spend time together outside of the classroom. 

Another one of my favorite parts about this program are the seminarians that come to campus during the week. Not only do they make it possible for us to have mass and adoration on campus, they spend time getting to know us, sharing stories about their faith, and making suggestions of places to travel. This week they have invited us to their seminary for dinner which we are all really looking forward to. 

Being able to live in another country and experience a culture that is so different from home has been really exciting and educational. I have enjoyed trying new foods, learning a new language, and experiencing how other cultures do simple things like going out for dinner or receiving communion at mass. 

Living so close to the center of the city makes it easy for us to go to monuments, churches, and museums during class so that we can see what we are learning about in person. These site visits teach us about the ancient ruins and monuments that we walk past every day, giving us a deeper appreciation for the city around us. Visiting these sites during the week also gives us more time to see other cities during the weekends. 

Being able to travel on the weekends is so exciting and it makes the weeks fly by. Our schedules make it easy for us to travel places all over Europe with groups of friends or sometimes with the entire program. The school sponsored three of our trips this semester which included a beach weekend in Sperlonga, Italy, a day trip to Pompeii, and a day trip to Assisi. I really enjoyed traveling with everyone and learning about the history of these places that I might not have gone to otherwise. 

These experiences have made the semester pass so quickly and are just a few of the reasons that I have loved my time here. I look forward to making the most of this last month and then bringing so many new experiences and lessons home with me.

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