Jessica Martinez - 2014 Program Participant

Historical building in Rome, Italy

Living in history

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I have always had the desire to go abroad, specifically to Rome, Italy. I had done independent research on the study abroad programs offered in Rome and I could not have been more excited after reading what the programs had to offer. I did not have anything tying me down at my university because, as a first-semester senior, all of my required classes were taken care of. The timing was perfect for the rut I was in at school not really helping me to decide what my life after graduation would look like.

Why did you choose to study abroad through Loyola University in Rome?

I chose the Loyola Chicago's program at the John Felice Rome Center because of the essence of community exuded by the brochures and the website. The descriptions of the classes and the atmosphere it offered were enough to draw me in. That's really it. The program called to me.

What was your favorite part about Rome?

I loved that we were able to get a taste of residential Rome. Even though it was inconvenient having to be far away from the hustle and bustle of the city, we were able to get closer together because of our close quarters.

What made your coursework unique?

Professors made an extraordinary effort to get to know and interact with the students.

In what ways did local staff support your throughout your program? 

They would ask me how I was doing every day and actually stop to listen. They held events to assist us with our transitions and helped us to see everything that Rome had to offer that we normally wouldn't think about.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I had been more willing to step out of my comfort zone. I focused too much on the school aspect of studying abroad instead of going into the city more and actively learning.

River view of Rome, Italy

My favorite view of Rome

Describe what a typical day was like for you as a student in Rome.

I would wake up and go to class. Lunch was served for everyone in Mensa, a great space to socialize. Then I'd go to class in the afternoon and dinner afterwards. Occasionally, I'd go into the city for dinner but I liked to take advantage of the free meal we were given.

What did you enjoy doing on your freetime most?

I loved going to see St. Peter's Basilica or the Colosseum and just sitting in front of the monuments. I could spend hours just looking at them because they were two places in Rome that kept me grounded and made me remember that I really was experiencing Rome. I really had made it to what I consider one of the most amazing cities in the world.

What type of accommodation did you have in Rome?

We lived in dorms; each room had two people. I liked that it gave me people to be around every day but also allowed me to be alone when I needed it.

How has studying abroad in Rome impacted the way you see the world? What about the way you live your life?

I look at the things I do every day differently. Being abroad made me think about the purpose behind everything I do and to only do things that bring joy into my life. Now, I look back on my semester in Rome and try to live in much the same way as I did there. I have consciously begun to slow down and take advantage of the relationships I have with people instead of rushing through life without a second glance. I am more mindful of the privileges I have been given.