Majella – International Core Curriculum Rome Program, Italy
ACU Summer Break, 2017
The UNCC300 summer school was a memorable experience for twenty-nine students who headed to Rome to experience first-hand, issues relating to human dignity and the common good. This cohesive group, was comprised of students from different states, studying different disciplines but all united with a common spirit for learning and friendship.
The course gave the opportunity of exploring the city of Rome, visiting Saint Peter’s Basilica, attending the papal audience with Pope Francis, and visiting the Catacombs. Perhaps one of the highlights for after course activities, was the impromptu visit to the ice rink which was situated near the Castel of St Angelo, on the River Tiber. One Gelato per day, was a ‘must’ for many students making daily trips to indulge in the many flavours of Italy. Trastevere which had many restaurants was in walking distance to the Rome Campus. The week end was free time, so many students headed off to awesome destinations such as Florence, Venice, Bologna, Castel Gondolfo, or simply went sight-seeing and shopping in the city of Rome itself.
The most rewarding experience, was going with the Sant ‘Egidio charity community, to take food and blankets to the homeless on the streets of Rome. This was at a time when Rome was experiencing an extremely cold winter. Visiting the homeless people, who were trying to make the best of their predicament, in zero degree temperatures, was an ‘eye-opener’ for all. The students also had the opportunity to gain further experience and insight, by visiting groups such as the friendship disability art group – a language group set up for migrants, and the elderly. By actually meeting people ‘face to face,’ who were dealing with challenges in their lives, gave a valuable first-hand experience of human dignity.
Classes in the Italian language were both interesting and challenging. Professor Cummins and Father Anthony presented case studies from journal articles, in the classroom. This resulted in a thought provoking analysis and produced much debate between the students. A guest lecture by ACU Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Greg Craven also gave the group a further insight into constitutional issues.
The Rome Campus itself had modern, safe, and comfortable accommodation. The layout of the campus lends itself to creating a cohesive, friendly environment, with open-air decks and a community dining area. Dietary needs are catered for. There was an extensive library, wi-fi, and printers were accessible. The staff are very approachable, helpful, and friendly. So, I would highly recommend overseas study to anyone who wants to explore another culture in all its many facets while still completing a unit of their studies. But most of all, I recommend the study abroad program because of the life-time friendships you will make!