Tag: Rome

Why Your Next Semester Should be at the JFRC

Why Your Next Semester Should be at the JFRC

They say a semester abroad will change your life. They say it will be an unforgettable experience where you learn so much about yourself and the world around you. They say your mind will be opened to new ideas, cultures, and people. Well, after my semester in Rome I would have to say that I agree with all of “them”. Spending my spring semester at the the John Felice Rome Center was the best decision I’ve made in my college career, and I think it very well could be the best one you’ll make too.

Here’s why you want to become a JFRC alum…

  1. The JFRC is as much Loyola’s campus as the Water Tower Campus, so all of your credits transfer and you don’t have to shed an ounce of your Rambler pride.
  2. Living in a building with 200 other students gives you an instant and welcoming community. Plus plenty of travel buddies to choose from.
  3. Pizza. Pasta. Gelato.
  4. No classes on Friday means you always have an extra long weekend for your European travels.
  5. The experienced Student Life Team always has your back–whether that means giving you directions in Rome or figuring out how to order Chinese food in Italian, they’ll help you out.
  6. The Eternal City will offer you (nearly) an eternity of adventures.
  7. You get to learn Italian, a bellissimo language that will help you feel more at home in Italy.
  8. You’ll learn to appreciate the way Italians live life–slow walks, fast espresso, and the most inconsistent bus system I’ve ever seen.
  9. When you get tired of planning trips for yourself, you can sign up for a pre-planned study trip led by the JFRC crew.
  10. You will be changed over the course of the semester, but all for the better.

I’ve only been gone for 2 days and I’m already wishing I was back. So do yourself a favor and give the John Felice Rome Center a chance. Oh and when you get there, have some gelato for me.

The Mercatos of Roma

The Mercatos of Roma

This past weekend was the first one in quite a while that I’ve had free time to explore Rome. My friends and I have had the opportunity to experience cities all over Europe, but hardly anytime to explore the city we’ve been calling home. And these new explorations had me falling in love with Rome all over again. Now our last month and half will be dedicated to Roman explorations–we started off well this week by visiting 2 popular mercatos (markets) of Rome.

Without any classes on Friday, a friend and I made use of our morning and visited the Mercato Trionfale. This indoor market feels almost like a shopping mall due to its size–as it is the largest market in Rome, but the stalls filled with an array of produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, spices, and various odds and ends tell you otherwise. Our visit was mostly just to browse, but we ended up buying a few things. My favorite purchase was the box of fresh strawberries I bought for 1 Euro and 50 cents. Although the bombas (filled doughnuts, one cream and one chocolate) I had made for tough competition.

We browsed in mostly the bakery and produce aisles, but the market had plenty of butcheries as well as a seafood section. We also stumbled across a party supply store, pet store, a few clothing stores, and a flower shop. Needless to say, nearly anything you need could be found at the Mercato Trionfale–I think it’d be a great spot to grab a picnic before you continue wandering around the Eternal City.

On a whim Saturday afternoon we visited our 2nd mercato of the weekend in Campo de Fiori. This traditional outdoor market is open daily and is one I will likely be making another visit too. I found the atmosphere in this market to be much more “Roman” or at least more along the lines of what I would imagine a Roman market to consist of. The vendors’ tents filled the piazza with a wide range of goods including Italian leather, kitchen utensils, produce, flowers, and piles of pasta. This market has the potential to supply me with several souvenirs to bring home to friends and family.

These mercatos sold many of the same items, but both offer a very different atmosphere. I may prefer Campo’s mercato to Trionfale’s, but those bombas may bring me back to Trionfale anyway.

9 Loyola Myths

9 Loyola Myths


Over the past 3 years in admission, I have noticed there are A LOT of misconceptions about Loyola University Chicago. I am going to use my blog this week to set the record straight. Here are what I consider to be the top 9 Loyola myths:

  1. We are not the same school as Loyola Maryland, Loyola New Orleans or Loyola Marymount. We are all completely separate schools. The only thing we have in common other than our name are our Jesuit background and values. So no, you cannot study at another Loyola in the U.S. However, you can Study Abroad at other universities all over the world or at one of our three campuses in Rome, Beijing or Ho Chi Minh City, which are in fact run by Loyola University Chicago.
  2. You do not have to be Catholic (or even religious) to go to a Jesuit University. About half of our students identify as being Catholic and as a Catholic University, we do offer regular masses, Taize prayer, resources and mentors for our Catholic students. Loyola has the only student-run mosque in Illinois and we have an incredibly strong Hillel Community on campus. We also have several different prayer spaces in our Student Center including a Puja Prayer Room. We are a home to all faiths and encourage interfaith dialogues and for students to lead their own spiritual path with assistance from Campus Ministry which provides resources, services, and mentors on-campus. I also want to throw out that you do not need to be Catholic to attend one of our Retreats at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus, these retreats are awesome and open to everyone.
  3. We are actually in the city of Chicago (not a suburb) and are right next to Lake Michigan (not a block away, our buildings are a foot or two from the lake).
  4. We are not a commuter school. Yes, in the past, a lot of students did commute to Loyola, but not in recent years. Now all first and second year students are required to live on-campus and while upper-classmen have the option to live on or off-campus, most stay on campus or live within a block or two of campus. However, the students exempt from the housing policy still have a community and home on campus thanks to Off-Campus Student Life.
  5. Housing is not hard to find on or around campus. As mentioned above, we require that 1st and 2nd year students live on-campus and we have several upperclassmen residence halls at both the Lake Shore Campus and the Water Tower Campus. There are also hundreds of non-Loyola owned or operated apartments near campus.
  6. Our acceptance rate is not 92% or 98%. It is closer to 63%. This is one of those cases where you can’t believe everything you read on the internet so if you’re questioning something you read, call or email your admission counselor!
  7. We are not a school that lacks athletic success, spirit, or history. We are a Division One school in the Missouri Valley Conference and last year our Men’s Volleyball Team won the NCAA National Championship on our very own campus. Go Ramblers! We are also the only D1 School in Illinois to ever win a NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship, which we did in 1963, but we are still proud of the win and of our contribution to NCAA history via the Game of Change.
  8. Chicago’s weather isn’t always horrible. Our fall is actually warmer than most of the Midwest thanks to the wind blowing warm air off the lake. Most of the time, we don’t see snow or really cold days until late December when students are already home for Winter Break. Yes the beginning of the spring semester is cold and has some snow, but harsh winters build character and stories you’ll be telling the rest of your life. And don’t forget how much of the year (typically March – November) brings truly amazing weather to Loyola. During these nice months you can find our students hanging out at street festivals, enjoying the great outdoors that you CAN find in the city, and by hanging out at “Loyola Beach” (really called Hartigan Beach).
  9. We are not “the wolves”. We are the Ramblers! However, Lu Wolf is indeed the name of our mascot.


30 Reasons Why We LOVE Loyola

30 Reasons Why We LOVE Loyola


With Valentine’s Day approaching and everyone talking about love, it only seemed appropriate to talk about what Loyola staff and current students have to say about their relationship with Loyola.

Here are 30 reasons staff and students love Loyola:

  1. The ability to go abroad to the Rome center. – Ellen
  2. The incorporation of social justice into academics. – Judy Kyrkos
  3. The small campus feel with access to the city. – Lexy Rux
  4. Being in Chicago. – Maggie
  5. The small class sizes; it really feels like you get one-on-one time with the professors. – Patrick
  6. Being on a beautiful campus with access to downtown. – Adam Buller
  7. Living in Mertz and the chicken tenders from Damen Dining Hall. – Katie
  8. The sense of community. – Ricky Mott
  9. The beautiful campus and social justice focus in all of my classes. – Kara
  10. The small campus feel. – Shaniqua
  11. How the core classes make us a well-rounded person. – Elise
  12. How self-aware the student body is. I’ve never encountered an impolite person on campus. – John
  13. The community feel, size of campus, friendly/welcoming environment, and small class size. – Christy Vargas
  14. How there are Vegan and gluten-free options in the dining halls. – Sarah
  15. Dynamics of taking class on the lake shore campus and downtown. It’s nice to experience the best of both worlds. – Claire
  16. Class sizes, pretty campus, and nice/passionate professors. – Carlee
  17. Diverse community. – Samantha
  18. Friendly environment on campus. – Brittney
  19. Approachable teachers who seem to enjoy their jobs and always want to help you do your best. – Gabby
  20. The view of the lake. – Shannon
  21. I feel safe on campus. – Adrian
  22. Loyola has always given me the opportunity to succeed. – Aaron Brunmeier
  23. The architecture of campus. – Brian
  24. The sense of community. – Aliyah Jervier
  25. I love that Loyola offers something for anyone and everyone who attends so that they can be a part of something and feel included. – Hiba Abbas
  26. I LOVE that every time I step outside and see our beautiful campus I get excited for my day no matter how stressful it is. – Lucy Mooney
  27. I love that Loyola has so many things to offer to their students. Whether it be information on study abroad, fairs talking about feminism, or tutoring for certain classes, Loyola does an amazing job providing us with tools for success. I think that since there are so many resources offered, any type of student can feel like this school is a perfect fit for them. – Katherine Weir
  28. Loyola fosters education both inside and outside the classroom enabling YOU to grow immensely. Upon graduating from Loyola in the spring of 2015, Loyola has taught me that the aim of my education is not the facts, but rather of values. –Joe Sadofsky
  29. How connected students are to the Loyola community. – Callie Short
  30. How Loyola shares the same values as myself. – Alyson Crutchfield

Happy Valentine’s Day from Loyola University Chicago!

When in Rome…Do as the Romans

When in Rome…Do as the Romans

Italians do things a little differently than I’m used to in the States. But, now that I’ve been in Rome for a week I’ve had some time to begin adapting to the Italian culture.

Monday morning two of my friends and I went to run some errands in the neighborhood. Italy is not big on stores like “Super Wal-Mart”,  so by the time you’ve bought everything you need you probably stopped into at least 3 stores. Our first stop was at the cartoleria, where we bought school supplies for the semester. It’s hard to compare a cartoleria to stores in the States, but a translation is be “a stationary store”. We managed to find all the folders and notebooks we needed, but those too are a little different than anything I’ve used before.

To look for pillows and towels we went into OVS, a store our SLAs (Student Life Assistants) compared to Target–which is an accurate comparison. I found the towels I needed, but we weren’t so lucky with the pillows. Through a back door you can exit OVS and walk straight into Simply, the grocery store in our neighborhood. I’m usually not a fan of doing groceries, but this time around I didn’t mind at all. I found it really interesting to see what was sold in an Italian grocery store compared to at home. I was surprised to see how many brands were familiar to me, only with Italian words on the packaging.

Just outside of OVS, there were a few street vendors set-up selling all sorts of accessories. My friends, Jordan and Jaime, had their sights set on the felt hats we’d seen plenty of Italians wearing already. So in true Italian fashion, Jordan bargained with the man selling the hats and talked him down to 20 euros for both–originally they would’ve paid over 30. Not too bad for our first Italian-style errand run.

A few other things we’ve been adapting to are the way Italians form “lines”. In general they go more for a large mob or crowd that eventually filters its way through the door or the check-out. This can be a bit stressful at times, but if you balance being aggressive enough to get through and patient enough to wait awhile, you’ll do just fine. Patience is key in general here because it seems that Italians run on their own clocks. Waiting in line for awhile doesn’t bother them, and its not uncommon for them to show up a bit late for anything. One part of this culture I haven’t had to build up patience for is the way meals are eaten and truly enjoyed. I’ve had the chance to eat at a restaurant a couple of times already, and each time our meal has lasted about 2 hours–something I’m definitely a fan of.

I think I’m starting to make a pretty decent Italian–well, I’m doing the best I can. Ciao!

Weekend Numero Uno in the Eternal City

Weekend Numero Uno in the Eternal City

With orientation still underway, the JFRC staff had us in good hands during our first Roman weekend. Massive meals, a visit to the Colosseum, and a day in Lazio’s countryside made the perfect end to week number one, and perfect start to our first week of classes.

Friday night we had the opportunity to partake in a group dinner at a local restaurant of the Balduina neighborhood (the neighborhood that houses our campus). For 25 euros we were served a 4 course meal that lasted nearly 3 hours. As enjoyable as it was, eating itself turned out to be quite exhausting—but completely worth it. In an attempt to walk off our feast, we headed for an overlook of the city. Rome is breathtaking at all times of day, but catching my first glimpse of the Vatican lit up at night was my favorite skyline feature.

On Saturday morning we had our first chance to explore the city center in the daylight with a trip to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Before we headed out, a JFRC professor gave us a lecture about the history of these two magnificent Roman ruins. My knowledge of the Roman Forum was especially lacking, so the lecture was appreciated. Touring the Colosseum was the first time it hit me that I’m in Rome. I loved trying to imagine what this massive amphitheater would have looked like in its most glorious days—covered in marble, filled with a cheering crowd, and gladiators battling lions in the arena.

The Roman Forum was the perfect place to explore ancient Roman ruins. It’s incredible to imagine what a powerful hub the area used to be. The Forum was filled with palaces, arches, a basilica, churches, gardens, and other government buildings that are now crumbling, yet still magnificent. We were there until closing and weren’t able to see the whole thing, but I hope in my time here I’ll get a chance to return and continue exploring.

Sunday morning all 235 JFRC students piled into 4 charter buses that would take us through the Lazio countryside to visit two 16th century villas. Our tour of the Villa Lante focused on its extravagant gardens and fountains. The water all flowed from a nearby natural spring and was able to move throughout the entirety of the garden without any electricity or pumps.

Our next outing was lunch at Parco dei Cimini, which included 3 courses. But perhaps more impressive than our meal were the animals that greeted and entertained us during our lunch. The path into the restaurant was lined with two hawks and two owls—two of which later joined us inside, accompanied by an animal handler of course. Halfway through lunch that same animal handler rode up on a donkey, which a few students then proceeded to ride, because when in Rome! Right?

Villa Farnese was our last stop. The inside of this massive building was covered in beautiful frescos that were all tailored to the (future) Pope Paul III who built it. My favorite room was painted with maps of the world. Of course they were a bit off from how we know the earth to look now—the biggest issue being the lack of Australia, which at the time had not yet been discovered.

Our weekend of further immersion in Italian culture has given me a glimpse at just how spectacular this semester will be.

The Journey to Roma

The Journey to Roma

This trip has certainly been a long time coming.  I’ve been dreaming of the day I would have the opportunity to study abroad in college for what seems like forever. And Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center was a huge factor in my choice to come here. But now my dreams are a reality and I get to post this…from Rome.

Loyola could not make it any easier for us to come abroad—especially to Rome. I’m quite literally attending Loyola University Chicago, just in Italy. The University has helped us with each step of the study abroad process. They provided an option to apply for our study visas on campus, a group flight rate—which included a shuttle to campus upon arrival, and even scholarship opportunities.

The physical journey here was not quite as pleasant as enrollment. Mine started with a missing passport scare—thankfully recovered with help from my roommates and uncle, then a quick flight from Moline (the airport closest to my hometown) to O’Hare, followed by a 2 hour layover, then the hop, skip, and jump over the pond to Frankfurt, Germany. Unfortunately, my flight was not as delightful as hopping, skipping, or jumping is normally. I was definitely lacking on the sleeping, but had the chance to catch up on some movies and reading.

When our crowd of “JFoRCers” landed in Frankfurt we all drowsily made our way to the gate and tried to stay awake for the next few hours until our next flight would leave for Rome. After a slight delay we boarded our short flight headed for Italy. I foolishly missed out on that napping opportunity and opted to read. And of course catch my first glimpses of the Eternal City from above.

Upon arrival to Rome, a friend and I had to take a cab to campus because we did not book the shuttle with the group. Which really wasn’t so bad after all, it turned into a bit of an adventure. Two other Loyola students ended up splitting the van-style cab with us. Driving in Rome for the first time was pretty intimidating. But I’m sure the crowded streets and aggressive drivers would make anyone uneasy. I was a little more worried when our cab driver parked in front of the “Hotel Massimissi”, not the JFRC campus. Apparently she had written down the wrong address. We weren’t too far from where we were supposed to be, so after another zip around the neighborhood we officially arrived to the JFRC.

We didn’t have a chance to rest easy though, our evening was packed with meetings, a walking tour of the neighborhood, speakers, dinner in Mensa—our dining hall, and plenty of important information that would’ve been much easier to grasp if we hadn’t been so jetlagged. Let me tell you, going to bed at 8:30 that night was perfecto. And I hope the rest of my semester is perfecto, too.

ROME-ing for the Spring of 2015

ROME-ing for the Spring of 2015

Go forth and set the world on fire” –St. Ignatius of Loyola

As I prepare for a semester abroad at the John Felice Rome Center in–you guessed it– Rome, Italy, St. Ignatius’ words have been on my mind. I think the most important word in this quote is simply “Go”. And thanks to the opportunity Loyola has given me, that’s exactly what I get to do.

I’ve been fortunate enough to take a few short trips to Europe before. Each time falling more in love with the cultures, peoples, and overall European atmosphere. Needless to say, studying abroad has always been a dream of mine and Loyola could not have made the transition from Chicago to Rome any easier. Essentially, I’m going to LUC in Rome–no worries about credits transferring, professors not speaking English, or not seeing familiar faces.

I’m already looking forward to taking afternoon passeggiatas (walks) through our neighborhood, eating authentic pasta dishes, exploring Rome’s historic center, playing in our on-campus calcio (soccer) league, meeting locals, and traveling across the country and the continent. I want to make the most of my Roman experience by immersing myself in the culture. I’ll have to get a little outside my comfort zone and jump in to explore the richness of the Italian culture.

After our study abroad group meeting on Friday afternoon it hit me that this is actually real. In a month and a half I will be flying out of the country to embark on one of the most incredible journeys of my life. At this point I’m feeling a little terrified and a lot excited. I still have a plenty to do before my plane takes off. Next semester, I could very well be writing blog posts in a coffee bar near a piazza instead of my residence hall–I don’t think I’ll mind the change of scenery.


Beginning The Study Abroad Process

Beginning The Study Abroad Process

One of the great things about Loyola is that they really encourage their students to study abroad. And many students do!

Loyola makes it really easy to study abroad by providing a ton of information on their website and offering a lot of different study abroad options. We even have a campus in Rome, Italy and a program in Beijing, China! Students can go to these international campuses and pay roughly the same tuition and take classes that will count toward their graduating requirements with no hassle of getting course approvals from department heads.

As a student, you can study abroad for a year, a semester, 6 weeks in the summer and some programs even have 2 week programs in the summer or over winter break. If you are an education major, you even have the opportunity to do your student teaching in Rome! How cool would that be? Student teachers teach at an international school so no Italian is required and they live on Loyola’s campus.

I am taking advantage of the summer programs and hoping to study in Ghana this upcoming summer. Loyola does not have a campus in Ghana but I am able to apply through a program called USAC. Loyola also offers students opportunities through the Institute for the International Educator of Students program or IES and the School for International Training or SIT. I encourage you guys to click on these links and look at the dozens and dozens of countries and cities world-wide that Loyola students are offered the opportunity to study in.

I have just begun the process of applying for study abroad but so far it has been super easy! Loyola has a database that has a list of the pre-approved courses in Ghana and all of the course I am interested in are already approved! My adviser told me that if a course happened to not already be approved, it is pretty easy to get most courses approved. I would just need to fill out a request form and bring it to the head of the appropriate department.

Loyola’s website has walked me through the necessary steps for applying to the study abroad program and it has not been confusing like I feared it might be. I will keep all of you updated when I find out more about my study abroad progress and in the meantime check out all of the cool countries you could go to if you wanted!

Traveling & Study Abroad

Traveling & Study Abroad

So for the past month, I have spent A LOT of time on the road and living out of a suitcase for fall travel, recruitment to various high schools and college fairs around Indiana & Illinois. This has led to quite a bit of reminiscing over my study abroad experience while I was a junior at Loyola University Chicago.

The summer before junior year, I traveled to Rome for a 2 week international 3 credit hour marketing course with a small group of students and one of my favorite professors, Stacy Neier. During our short-time abroad, we traveled throughout Rome, Florence, Lake Como, Milan and then we ended our trip in Paris. I started going through my photos from the trip and decided that the old saying is true, “a picture is worth a thousand words” so instead of writing about my experience, I’ve decided to share some of my photos!



-Lake Como-



Overall, it was an absolutely phenomenal experience, I’d definitely recommend that you consider making study abroad a part of your college experience. Loyola offers over 100 study abroad programs in over 55 countries, so you can definitely find the right location for you!