The GoGlobal Blog

Category: John Felice Rome Center

From Roma, with Love:

From Roma, with Love:

Finally.

I have made it to Rome.

And it’s pretty spectacular.

Actually, I have been in Rome for about two weeks already. I should say: finally, i’ve made it to this blog post, which has been open for the past week. Classic, procrastinating Joe. It’s okay, i’m on Roman time. I’ll be better in the future, pinky swear.

Once again, i’m very late! Apologies to all my fans…

Thank you, thank you.

It’s absolutely grand to have you all here. As Dr. Beazley, our beloved Dean of Academic Affairs would say: “I’m overwhelmed by your enthusiasm.”

Anyhow, i’ve looked forward to writing these posts for a long time, and i’m thrilled to be able to share my adventures with all of you. Before I actually get down to the topic of my Roman holiday, I believe that relatively brief, one-sided introductions are in order:

My name is Joseph Ignatius De Larauze, known to most as Joe, to many as French Joe, and to a select few as French. As stated by my sobriquet, I am French and American by birth. I was born in the lovely town of Evanston, Illinois, in the distant year of 1997. After 8 years living in the vicinity of beautiful Chicago, my family moved to France, in a town west of Paris. Culture shock, patriotism, and a strong dislike for the French (inevitable for one who has to live with them for the first time), ensued. But never fear, I lived a very eventful and incredibly awkward decade of my life in that beautiful country. I was schooled in the Lycée International, which still has a very special place in my heart today, even though it was no piece of cake. After High School, and after the International Baccalaureate, I said au revoir to my parents and two sisters, Nathalie and Maggie, and made the hop across the pond, back to Chi-town. I have been studying at Loyola University Chicago for the past two years, and am currently studying abroad at the John Felice Rome Center, which is the reason for our encounter today. I read with an all-consuming passion, which has influenced my majoring in English, and aspire to write and set people’s hearts on fire with my stories, as mine has been by theirs. I am also an Economics major, though i’m still trying to find my way with that one. I am a (very) part-time musician, love to listen to music, play it, and occasionally compose it. I love good food, good company, and hugs. I am Roman Catholic by birth and practice my faith intentionally, though imperfectly. There you have it. I hope that this introduction will suffice to help you get to know me, if you do not already.

So, about five paragraphs in, let me lead you through my journey, as it has been since my arrival in the Città Eterna. I did warn you I would be relatively brief, remember? I will accompany my narrative with a few pictures, but would rather let my words take you to where I am, and have been. On that note, let’s begin. Wherever you are, sit back, relax, get some coffee, and enjoy.

The Eternal City carries her name well. There is a kind of agelessness to her that is palpable, walking her streets, speaking to her people, admiring her splendor. Before my arrival here, I had believed Rome to be luxurious, like a crown perched upon a hill. I thought she would be ornate and sparkling, like the Eiffel Tower at night. I likened her to Paris, my point of reference as European cities go, and the real city of Love, thank you very much.

Now, I have arrived. Half-walking, half-tripping along the cobblestoned streets, I make my way through crowds of tourists, who snap pictures right and left. I try my best to escape the noise. I pass countless gelaterie, restaurants and street-vendors brandishing their wares like trophies. Rome is a tourist attraction. Yet, exploring the city, the edifices built hundreds and thousands of years ago, Rome beckons to me in a secretive manner. I am privy to something greater.

I walk the Forum, where countless musicians, philosophers, and various speakers once stood. I enter the Colosseum, and cheer on with tens of thousands of others as men fight men fight beasts. Bread and games. I don’t know about you, Russell, but i’m entertained. In the Campidoglio, rank upon rank of soldiers stand stock-still, eyes front, back strait, pilum held high. They await orders to conquer the world. I see the street-merchants, selling pottery and food and jewels, yelling over each other to attract customers.

Rome is history. All the years that have passed are still here, buried beneath my feet. Strolling through the city with my friends, I am awed by the ancient majesty of this place, eternal in her grandeur.

” Trois mecs”

Rome is a dream that I have lived every day since my arrival.

I miss Chicago. I miss my friends (you know who you are). But I am thrilled to be in this marvelous place, and I like to think that when you read of my journey, you are all here with me. There is still much more for me to share with you, so I don’t doubt that our paths will cross again.

Until then, I wish you all the best.

From Roma, with Love:

Joe I. De Larauze

Oh, the Places I’ll Go

Oh, the Places I’ll Go

Ciao amici from Roma, Italia,

I’ve been in Italy for about a month now and honestly, I like it more now than when I first arrived. I think I came with so many expectations of how Italy would be that I forgot to stop and think about what it could be. To experience Italy myself instead of pictures I saw on Instagram. In some sense it took away that aesthetic appeal that allows you to feel ‘awe’. 

After a three hour delay, I arrived in Rome where my aunt and uncle came to pick me up and we went to Padova. I stayed in Padova for the first two weeks of my trip, traveling to various near by cities.

The day after I arrived, we took a train to Venice.

First impressions of Venice: it’s so hot and crowded.

I don’t think I’d ever go back though. The buildings are beautiful and Venice itself is, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t feel impressed or that something different was there. If you plan on going to Venice in the near future, I suggest you go around or after 6 pm, that way you get to see the city during the day, but also during the night. Plus, it won’t be a scorching 92 degrees!! Also, a lot of people that I know that have taken a gondola ride, have said it’s amazing. But for me, I thought I was gonna drown the entire time because the boat was literally tipping to one side. And the water smelled really salty, not sure if this is recent, but it gave me a headache. But, I’m sure your experience will probably be better than mine.

Palazzo Giardino Giusti

Next, I went to Verona on the evening of my fourth day in Italy. We first went to Palazzo Giardino Giusti, basically there is a traditional renaissance garden with lots of statues. I highly recommend wandering around the gardens, there is quite a view at the top. Next, we went to Casa di Giulietta (the most awaited). It was very crowded, but definitely reminded me of the scene from ‘Letters to Juliet’. When I turned into the corner to her house, both sides of the walls were filled with letters, bandaids, big black heart outlines, and a statue of Giulietta (in bronze which is considered to be lucky) at the end of the entrance.

A few days later, we went to Switzerland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell that I was excited for this?) I had always wanted to go to Switzerland  and I was so happy that we were able to make this happen before school started, however, I would want to go back to spend more than a day there. In the time that I spent in Switzerland, we went Berne, Lake Brienz, Lucerne, and Interlaken. There’s so much to see and the VIEWS are absolutely breathtaking. It’s so beautiful!!

Lucerne
Interlaken
Lake Brienz
Giessbach Falls

***Lowkey wish that I studied abroad here (not that I don’t like Rome)***

My two favorite places in Switzerland were Interlaken and Lake Brienz because I felt it was something different from what you normally would see and feel. There was just a pure sense of serenity. We wondered off a little from Lake Brienz and found this magnificent waterfall that was hidden. Its called Giessbach Falls in Obwalden, it’s literally ten minutes from Lake Brienz (sorry I can’t upload the video:/ ). But, the view will not disappoint after you’ve hiked a little. Lucerne was nice too, but it’s just more of a city.

I can’t wait to go back someday! I’ve left a piece of my heart in Switzerland, for sure!

Came back to Italy for a quick trip before school started, but there wasn’t much to see in Pisa or Florence. Sort of wish I had more time to explore the town.

In Pisa, we saw the Torre di Pisa and the surrounding buildings. The architecture was beautiful, however, I wasn’t a big fan since I live near a replica of the tower anyways (I see it almost everyday, LOL). But it was interesting to see the real thing in person. I found out that the tower was built on soft grounds (because it’s between two rivers) and the first level started leaning right after it was built. It took a 100 years, before the construction of the tower started again. Even then the tower leaned at 0.4 degrees. Right now, the tower leans at about 5 degrees and they believe that it should be stable for another 200 years, hopefully.

 

In Florence there are a lot of churches, and each of them has something unique about them. The outside of Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria dei Fiore was fascinating with the different colors that were used, but also the detailing. By the time we got to Duomo the tickets were sold out for the day, so plan ahead. We decided to look around before we went to Piazzale Michelangelo, where there was a breathtaking view of the city.

During the orientation days after we started school, we had the opportunity to tour the Colosseo and Foro Romano. This was the first time that I got to see Rome since I’ve been in Italy. We walked around the coliseum and then went to see the inside. Afterwards, I walked through the forum and at the top there was an awesome view that overlooked the ruins, but also the coliseum on the other side.

Just a few tips when traveling:

  1. You don’t always have to go to the major tourist attractions. I think the main thing I liked about going to the places I did, was that I tried to find a few hidden gems that normally tourists would miss. It’s because they are too focused on things they want to post on social media to show back home. I am guilty of this, it’s very hard! But there is so much to see and enjoy. So unplug(, if you can)!
  2. It’s okay to wander without having a set plan. It’s a great way to learn how to find your way throughout the city, learn to talk to locals and maybe even learn to use transportation. You also find places that you’d never see if you just went from point A to point B. After all, it is about the experience. Mind as well immerse yourselves into the culture.
  3. You don’t have to leave Italy!!! There is already so much to see and experience in Rome. And since you’ll be staying in Rome for three and half months, I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to get to know Rome.

So, am I still pre-med? Of course I am!

Arrivederci alla prossima,

n.p.

Following My Heart

Following My Heart

Hi Friends,

Deciding whether to study abroad can be a stressful yet an exciting process, but you also have to keep in mind whether you’ll graduate on time and be prepared for grad school (if you plan on going). Especially, if you’re a pre-professional major, like me. If you’re on the fence about taking this opportunity, I hope my study abroad journey sheds some light and gives you the answer that you’re looking for.

For all of you wondering how I decided on studying abroad, well here is the long story short.

Chicago (I’m on the right)

I’ve been asked multiple times throughout the last two years about what I’m studying, where I’m studying and why I chose to study what I did. The answer seems rather simple. My name is Niyati Patel, currently studying Biology and Psychology at Loyola University. However, the real question doesn’t start there. When I say that I’m on the pre-medical track, their faces would drop in shock, like they didn’t believe I’d be able to do it.

 

“Why are you pre-med?”

“You know it’s going to take 12 years for you to finish school, right?”

“Are you ready for this?”

“You better get all A’s…. and study hard for that MCAT!”

 

Hearing a lot of this backlash made me feel a little disheartened about my dream because I felt like I needed someone else’s approval just to gain mine. But in the last two years, I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what others believe or think. I know what I want and I just have to keep my head up and work hard.

Loyola had always been my top choice. But before I started my journey at Loyola, I researched things that made Loyola stand out to me. And one of those reasons was the study abroad program. I have always wanted to travel the world, experience different cultures and meet new people. It would be a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, be a little more outgoing, and also meet new friends.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I became serious about planning a study abroad trip to Rome. I was hesitant to apply because of all the pre-requisites I needed to complete for medical school. Being a pre-med student, we’re bound by certain norms. Having to take the pre-requisites in a timely fashion, and basically just STUDYING, STUDYING, STUDYING. But that’s not how I want to be portrayed. I wanted to be DIFFERENT.  A few months before I applied for the study abroad program, I had a conversation with a first year medical student. We came upon the topic of studying abroad and whether it would be a good fit for me. All she said was “Follow your heart. Do what you want to do. Enjoy undergrad as much as you can. That’s all the admission committee is looking for (besides GPA and MCAT scores, of course!).”  This conversation made me feel more motivated to make this trip happen.

So, a few days later, I applied. Got accepted. I still hadn’t told anyone that I was planning on going abroad for a semester. I was cautious to say anything.

 

“What if I get BACKLASHED again?”

“But, I’m only following my heart…”

“And WHEN ELSE am I going to get this opportunity, again?”

 

It wasn’t until the end of my spring semester that I muttered up the courage to tell my roommates. At this point, my cousins didn’t even know. I told my cousins that I was going in July, a month before I was leaving. Even then, they were like…

 

“Why are you going? Do you HAVE to go? Is it ABSOLUTELY necessary?”

“What about the MCAT? Are you sure you’ll graduate on time?”

“Will you still be PRE-MED?”

 

Those five words haunted me right when they came out of their mouths. I knew deep down that medicine was the only thing I wanted to do, so why were they telling me that I wouldn’t be pre-med when I returned? They went on to explain that after people experience traveling and not having to study for a semester, they change their minds. So what if I did? It wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Honestly, being pre-med requires a lot of commitment and dedication not just to school, but also to other extra-curricular activities. I know what my end goal is and don’t need people to tell me otherwise. By me studying abroad it doesn’t change the fact that I still want to go into medicine. Instead, it makes me wonder how I can get involved in medicine while I’m in Rome. Not just that, but I can look for opportunities that would strengthen my skills, whether that’s learning to communicate with people of different cultures or experiencing the different and the changing atmospheres around me and learning how to respond to them. Both of which would be a crucial experience to have once going to medical school and even afterwards.

I’m just following my dream and my heart. I don’t want to leave Loyola in two years with regrets of the opportunities that I didn’t take when I had them.

I still can’t believe that the day is closely approaching of when I’ll be in Rome. It’s so surreal. I am extremely excited to have taken this opportunity to find myself and can’t wait to share my journey studying abroad in Rome as a pre-med student.

Remember:

You may be told NO a thousand times, but you only need one YES to make your dreams come true! If I can do it, so can you!

Hope you stop by next time when I’ll be in Roma, Italia,

Ciao(:

n.p.