Ideally the college freshman experience is something that most high school graduates go through at either a state or out-of-state university. So when I told people that I would be enrolling in Loyola’s Rome Start Program, I mainly received one question; why spend a year in Rome? For me, being given the opportunity to study a year in a city that is as incredibly beautiful and rich in art, culture, and history as Rome, is simply magical. Like many of my other Rome Start classmates, I think I was in search of an untraditional freshman experience in which I could have the Loyola experience and at the same time interact with a mix people from around the globe. This program is great, because it satisfies international students looking to study in an American institution without immediately going to the States. In addition, it suits Americans in search of a thrilling first year experience studying abroad.
Once here at the John Felice Rome Center (JFRC), you can immediately feel the warm sense of community not only among the Rome Starters, but also with the older study abroad students. I truly feel though that only after a few short weeks, the twenty of us have bonded as if we are one unified international family. We share the same experiences everyday, whether they are inside or outside the classroom. Living together on the same floor brings us much closer together. I would best describe our Rome Start Family as a group of “cultural go-getters” who are excited and ready to accept any challenge life brings, living and studying in a completely foreign environment.
Rome is a “cultural playground” full of knowledge to learn and opportunities to experience. Having the possibility to spend our freshman year in Rome is unlike any other first-year experience. If, like us, you’re eager to challenge yourself, have great cultural interaction, and cultivate friendships for life, then ask yourself, why not? Why not Loyola? Why not the JFRC?