DeSales Hosts New Summer Program in Rome
On a rooftop overlooking the sprawling city of Rome, 16 students gazed at the stunning vista while conversing with several Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
The reception, held at the Generalate of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, (commonly known as Via Dandolo), was just one of many activities participants enjoyed this summer during the first Rome Summer Program in DeSales history to be hosted solely by the school and offer humanities courses.
“The Oblate reception was one of my favorite events of the trip,” said Mary Lawrence ’23, a clinical psychology major minoring in business. “When I was talking with the Oblates, they were all genuine and wanted to make sure they wished me the best in all my life had to bring.”
Morgan Landau ’24, an early childhood education major, shared similar sentiments.
“It was one of the most memorable experiences from the trip, because it brought the Catholic and Salesian values that I love about the DeSales community with me 4,000 miles away.”
From attending Mass at the Vatican to hiking Mount Vesuvius and visiting historic landmarks, such as the famed Colosseum and Pompeii, students were fully immersed in the vivacious culture of the city while fulfilling curriculum requirements through two classes: Roman art and architecture, taught by Mary Beth Looney, adjunct instructor, and crime and punishment in ancient Rome, taught by Jennifer Moore, J.D., professor and chair of the criminal justice major.
Often, the classes were held out in the field rather than in a traditional classroom.
“Anyone can take an art history class and look at a picture in a book,” said Moore, director of the program. “Here you were seeing it with your own eyes. That ability to learn on-site and experience everything firsthand, students enjoyed that and saw parts of the city they wouldn’t normally see on their own.”
Because the program was held during the summer, it gave students who cannot study abroad during the fall or spring semesters the opportunity to do so. Not only did these students fulfill core requirements—they honed their independence.
Participants lived in apartments in the same neighborhood as Via Dandolo and were responsible for everything from taking public transportation to classes to managing their budget and how they spent their free time.
“Professor Moore would always remind us, ‘Questa è Roma,’ meaning this is Rome and things in Rome run differently from day to day,” said Landau. “This trip allowed me to realize that sometimes things don’t go as planned and that you need to just go with the flow. It changed my perspective on the way I live my life.”
For Lawrence, the experience changed her perspective while bringing her closer to her family. “My extended family is from Italy, so I was able to connect with my heritage. The culture there was vibrant and full of life; it provided a warm feeling that I brought back and have been trying to integrate into my life in the states.”
Moore says that due to the strong demand for the program, it will run again in summer 2023.
“During the six weeks we were in Rome together, I could already see the transformation in the students,” she said. “Rome is the eternal city, and she has a way of becoming part of you.”