When in Rome


Jessica Iannace, Contributing Writer

Many Pace University students choose to study abroad within their four years at Pace, but what does a study abroad course truly look like? Sophomores Natasha Fallen and Meaghan Rodrigues, along with fifteen other students, traveled to Rome for three exciting weeks this summer with Philosophy professor Dr. Lawrence Hundersmarck. 

Rome: The Eternal City is one of the most popular travel abroad courses offered at Pace. The opportunity to explore this ancient city with a rich history and culture has been offered for fifteen years now. Study abroad courses give students the chance to learn through experience. It is one thing to hear about Rome and the many sights it has to offer, but to immerse yourself in the culture provides a different learning experience that cannot be achieved in a classroom. Dr. Hundersmarck also carries a vast amount of knowledge about this city, and he passes this knowledge on to curious students. 

“I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed the fact that I was able to see the beautiful architecture and learning the wonderfully rich history behind each sculpture, obelisk and building,” Rodrigues said.

The itinerary put together by Dr. Hundersmarck was packed with trips to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum and more. A favorite for students is trying new foods that they may not get to enjoy in America, including the very popular gelato. A memorable event for the students was seeing Pope Francis on their last full day in Rome. 

“The rush of waking up early, getting in line, and running to get the best seats was unmatched,” Fallen said. “He rode past us on his Popemobile literally less than 10 feet from us and it was one of the coolest things I’ve done.” 

The students who attend reside at St. John’s University Rome campus, located near Vatican City. 

The major difference between SJU Rome and Pace is that in Alumni Hall we have private bathrooms whereas SJU has communal,” Fallen said. “It was so different for me to have to brush my teeth next to strangers, however it allowed for us to meet new people and know what they came to Rome for.”

Though the trip was very thoroughly planned out, some days were left for the students to explore the city on their own time. For both Fallen and Rodrigues, the days that were scheduled in advance were preferred due to the journey being so well organized that her and her friends had trouble finding things to do on their free days. 

For many students, including Fallen, this study abroad trip was their first time exploring a foreign country. It is a chance to grow as a person and step out of your comfort zone. 

 “From this experience, I learned to be more open minded and spontaneous,” Fallen said. “I’ve always been a picky eater and liked to have things scheduled, however I was able to try a lot more food in Rome and planned a spontaneous trip to Florence on one of my free days with my best friends.” 

Though Rodrigues had been out of the country before, this was a very new experience that allowed her to immerse herself in a culture different than her own. 

“I opened myself and made myself try new things that I normally wouldn’t do,” Rodrigues said. “One phrase I always said to myself on this trip was “When in Rome!”

Studying abroad is an experience that not every student who attends Pace will have, but if it is an option, Fallen concurs that it is worthwhile. 

“I 100% would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have a memorable college experience and just a great trip to Rome,” Fallen said. “You become an expert of the streets and riding the metro, PLUS you can get gelato every day for just 2 euros. You also just get to meet a bunch of awesome people.”