The GoGlobal Blog

Orientation Week

Orientation Week

Man, I can’t remember the last time I was as exhausted as I was during orientation week. It was really fun though, meeting a bunch of new people, exploring our new home, and learning about the new school. Here’s a little recap of how the week went!

– Tuesday/Wednesday –

I flew out of the United States from Newark airport, and there were a *ton* of college students on that flight. There were people heading to John Felice like me, both from Loyola Chicago and from other schools like Marquette or Xavier, people from Loyola Maryland heading to their campus in Rome called John Cabot, and even people from an architecture school in Brooklyn! The families just trying to get home must have been so confused.

My flight was the first one in, we landed bright and early at 8 am. We got shown to our rooms and registered, and I met some pretty cool people. My roommate, Cosette, came in in the afternoon, and she was super nice, we got along from the get-go! It was a very long day on very little sleep, but it was capped off by a walk down to a really good pizza place with all of the students, plus Tiramisu for dessert.


The main statue/seating area in the courtyard on campus
Walking through the courtyard with Emma and Claudia
First Italian pizza at our community dinner on Wednesday night!

By this time, I had already met a lot of great people: two sophomores like me from Loyola Chicago, Malena and Claudia, who are both studying nursing; Emma, a junior from Marquette; Anisha, a senior finishing out her college career at Loyola here in Italy with us, just to name a few. Wednesday night we decided to go downtown to explore some places that are popular among students, and got to see the Colosseum at night which was so cool!

The Colosseum at night where my friends and I ended up after exploring Wednesday night.

– Thursday –

On Thursday we had the first two orientation meetings and went to a little café to explore and get coffee in between. Afterward, we wandered around our new neighborhood, Balduina, and found the grocery store near us. That evening we had a walking tour of the neighborhood, getting more in-depth information from the Rome Start kids, who are Freshmen that spend their whole first year of college at the JFRC campus instead of in Chicago!

– Friday –

This was our first day trip as a school! We went to a town about an hour and a half outside of Rome called Caprarola to visit Filla Farnese, a palace built in 1556 by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. This cardinal finished building what his grandfather, Pope Paul III had started, and it is a beautiful structure that showcases Mannerist architecture and decorations. We had a guided tour of it and the gardens, and the trip was finished out with a community lunch at a nearby restaurant that had a great view of the town and mountains nearby.

A fresco on the ceiling of one of the rooms in Villa Farnese
The view of the village of Caprarola and the mountains in the distance


View of the back of the palace from the gardens, which are in traditional Italian style with a lot of “boxy” bushes

– Saturday –

A fountain at Piazza Navona, one of the most famous Piazzas in all of Rome
The fountain at the bottom of the Spanish steps, which is still fed by an ancient Roman aqueduct from thousands of years ago!

The biggest highlight of Saturday was our guided walking tour of Rome, we got to learn a lot about the history of many famous places in downtown Rome that I will definitely be going back to over the course of this semester.

We started at the Spanish Steps, and made our way down through Rome to the Pantheon, seeing cool plazas that had Medival, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture all in one place. Medival is plainer with few windows and no decoration, while Renaissance style has a certain brick pattern and more windows, and Baroque is super detailed and extravagant. It was super cool to see juxtaposed!

Friends at dinner in Piazza Navona– we stayed downtown after our walking tour
Malena, Anisha, Claudia, Emma, and I at the Trevi Fountain



– Sunday –

Me posing outside of the Vatican

Sunday was a semi-free day, that my friends and I capitalized on by going downtown. We actually decided to walk instead of taking the bus, figuring that we would be able to get to know the area and see more that way. We ended up walking over 9 miles, but it was for sure worth it.

Walking south of Balduina, we wound up outside of Vatican city after about 45 minutes. We were able to go in for free, to both the city and Saint Peter’s Basilica, and even caught the end of Pope Francis’ Sunday service out in the plaza! We continued to walk into downtown Rome and found a great little sandwich place a few blocks away from the Colosseum. We finished out our trip by wandering around the Roman Forum, looking at the ruins, and sitting down to read near a band playing on the street, listening to the music and reading books, soaking in the sun (which we definitely wouldn’t be seeing if we were back in Chicago) and the sights.




Overall, it was a very busy and tiring week, but filled with adventure and fun as well, and I was so excited to see what the next weeks would look like.

I have more pictures on my Instagram for this semester, @lauren_goesabroad !

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