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The John Felice Rome Center

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Grazie Roma

Grazie, Roma.

(This letter was written during the close of the semester.)

The common experience students have when studying abroad at the John Felice Rome Center is understood to be ‘profound’ and ‘transformative’. Many students describe a positive change so permanent that it will be with them for the rest of their life. Where does this change come from and how does it seem to affect every single person who comes here?

There are a lot of reasons actually.

It’s in the people we've met, some of whom we will never see again, yet who will continue to affect us long after we have forgotten their faces. It’s in the routine things and the unexpected things: the regularity of communal dorm life (Mensa meals), combined with the amazing weekend adventures throughout Europe. It’s in the almost huge difference between who we were when we arrived here and who we will be when we leave. And, of course, its Rome itself.
More so than anything else, the importance of our study abroad experience becomes known to us the first time we look around Rome, see something which was originally so foreign, and perceive it as safe and familiar, as home. Whether it’s looking out our window into the courtyard or a walk past the Pantheon, once Rome becomes like home, it permanently secures an important spot in our lives and our character.
When we leave Rome we are leaving the environment which gave us all this time and freedom to better understand who we are about to become as adults. Leavings all this is scary and it gives me– and what many people I have talked with– a bittersweet feeling. When we leave, we will miss the people who have shaped us, but we will also miss the person we are right now– at this moment, we are still in Rome. In my opinion, the bittersweet feeling we all get from leaving has a name. Cheesy as it may sound, it’s called being present in your life. Having this feeling means were alive and can feel the pain of loving something and having to abandon it. The beauty that comes with this bittersweetness is far more powerful and more important to experience than the actual ‘bitter’ feeling. Let’s count ourselves lucky. This bittersweet feeling is rare.

And, so it is for this feeling, and the joy and beauty that necessarily go along with the ability to feel anything as bittersweet, I would like to thank the JFRC. I thank the SLA’s for their continuous support. I thank the faculty for their dedication to creating a positive environment. I thank the teachers for their respect in balancing schoolwork with our other plans here (aka, thanks for not ridiculous amounts of homework). I thank my peers for their openness to each other and to this experience. I really thank all the people who have worked so hard to let me have this experience in the first place (parents, friends, advisors back home). But most of all, I thank Rome itself, with it’s weird disco’s, funky culture, and beautiful legacy. A legacy we now all part of.

Molto Grazie,
Cameron

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Rome Away from Home

Two years later and I still consider Rome a home away from home. My time at the John Felice Rome Center left me with close friends, memories, and a community I hope to some day return to. During the six months I spent in Rome, I was able to be a part of the JFRC community, while experiencing the local Roman community, through my time spent teaching English at a local school, tutoring, babysitting, and eventually with my host family. I will never forget the incredible experience I had and I am forever grateful to the Rome Center. I absolutely encourage anyone who has the slightest curiosity about Italy, or the world, to attend the JFRC.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

BEST TIME EVER

title says it all. Best experience of my life hands down. I ate mozzarella balls twice a day everyday for 4 months and drank wine in class, what could be better? The Greece trip was also amazing, even though I almost got kicked out the faculty was surprisingly lenient on the level of drinking that was allowed considering the wine never stopped flowing. Italian teacher was grumpy but who can blame her, no one studied and no one took the (arguably most important class) very seriously.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Greatest 5 months of my life

Coming to JFRC was easily the best decision of my life. I met kids from a ton of other universities that I now consider to be my best friends. We have all traveled to Chicago on multiple occasions this year to reunite. There is no better place in the world to spend a semester than at JFRC.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best experience of my life

I had been waiting years to study abroad. Although Rome was not my first choice, I soon realized it was perfect for me. Situated just on the outskirts of the enormous and historic city, the JFRC has everything you could want. The opportunities are endless to immerse yourself in an excitingly rich and beautiful culture. The staff at JFRC blew me away with the organization, events, and support they offered. They often provided answers to questions I didn't even know I had yet. I never had a boring moment. All my free time was consumed with exciting trips downtown to explore the countless museums, piazzas, and restaurants. Lastly, the JFRC really does provide a close knit community that you really can't fine anywhere else. My classmates, teachers, and Student Life Advisers became like family. I felt so welcomed and at home at the JFRC I could do anything and everything with my study abroad experience. It was the single best 3 months of my life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Widening my Horizons

Living at the JFRC really gave me an opportunity to travel the world and broaden my horizons to new places and experiences. Experiencing different cultures in different countries each weekend really allowed me to embrace diversity through art, cuisine, and language. I would not trade my experience at the Rome Center for anything in the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Roaming through Rome

I was so excited when I got accepted into the John Felice Rome Center because I had heard such wonderful things about it. This place filled with its wonderful students, faculty, and staff exceeded all of my expectations. I met such amazing people that I never would've had the opportunity to otherwise and got to experience Rome and the rest of Europe. They have amazing study trips that opened my eyes to new cultures in a stress-free way of traveling that I really enjoyed and loved taking part in. The sense of community is something I have never experienced anywhere else and everyone really looks out for each other. I would encourage anyone to study here and really take advantage of all the opportunities it offers.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Adventures Abroad

The JFRC was the perfect place for my roommate and I to have our best college adventure together. Exploring all of what Italy had to offer was phenomenal and made even better by the people we met through the school and on our own. We had easy access to all of Europe, and it was amazing to have Rome become our home. We were encouraged to leave our hesitations behind and learn about our world in a fun and safe way. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that houses some of my best memories! I cannot wait to return to Rome once again and revisit the school that introduced me to the miraculous city!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Best Decision I Have Made So Far

I always wanted to go abroad during my college years and I knew that I wanted to go to Rome. When it came down to deciding what program to choose, JFoRCe stood out to me because of the class descriptions, but more so because of the way that the community aspect of the campus was emphasized. Going there was not disappointing in any way, other than its seclusion from the heart of the city. The campus atmosphere with my peers was more fun than I could have asked for and the SLAs fed off of our energy and gave it to us when we needed it. Their planning of the study trips and our ability to travel to other countries was also a perk of this program.

I thought I knew what I was getting into by preparing to go abroad. But Rome gave me so much more than I ever could have asked for. Don't question the decision. It's more than worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

The Best There Is

The JFRC really gives you all you need to not only complete academic requirements, but they make the experience if studying in another country the best. The trips they plan have the perfect mixture of fun and learning. Even when you are staying on campus, you still feel like you are in Rome with just the right amount of American culture mixed in to make you feel as comfortable as possible. The Student Living Assistants are all incredible. They plan the study trips with the administration and are a very valuable resource when you need help with anything. The SLA's are also there as another friend experiencing the journey with you. I promise that there won't be a single dry eye when everyone leaves the JFRC for the last time. It's a journey you do not want to miss but once you experience, you will miss it forever.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Time of my life

The John Felice Rome Center allowed me to have the most incredible experiences abroad I could have ever imagined. The professors are supportive and living in Rome for 4 months opened my eyes to an entirely new culture. It was by far the best experience of my undergraduate career.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible Study Abroad Experience

Spending a semester at the JFRC was definitely one of the best decisions I made as a college student. I wouldn't trade my time there for anything. The staff were so helpful and the faculty members endlessly interesting. I really enjoyed my classes and even worked on campus to earn extra money for my travels. The class scheduling is also set up to encourage more weekend travel. which I loved.

The dorm-style accommodations have their benefits and drawbacks. I met so many students from Loyola and other schools and it was easy to make friends and find travel buddies. It was also nice living in a neighborhood outside the touristy parts of the city. However, it's less immersive than some other study abroad experiences I've heard about. It's still easy to experience the culture and meet locals, but you have to make the effort to get off campus and socialize beyond the JFRC group.

I would absolutely recommend the JFRC to anyone considering a study abroad program.

P.S. If you do go, you must play calcio!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Still so grateful for my year at the Rome Center!

Attended the Rome Center 33 years ago. Went for a semester and stayed for two! Still am in touch with my Rome Center amici! From the amazing trips I took to learning the language and meeting amazing forever friends. I could go on and on. My daughter is at the Rome Center this semester. We're on our way to meet her at the end of her semester and spend a week in Roma together. Can't wait to visit the Rome Center. Wish I could go back and do it again!
Sign up and go...you won't regret it! :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

One Year at the JFRC

Studying abroad at the John Felice Rome Center was hands down the best decision I made during my undergraduate career at Loyola Chicago.

Loyola Chicago staff made the process to study abroad at the Rome Center incredibly easy! I received additional scholarships to help with the cost, which made all the difference because I was there for an entire academic year. (If you can be there for a year... I HIGHLY recommend!)

The Rome Center has the most amazing faculty and staff! The courses are phenomenal and the professors are brilliant - I took two on site courses and learned so much about Rome that I know I wouldn't have, had I not been in those courses.

The campus is the perfect size, therefore the dorms are as social as you want them to be. It is really easy to make friends because the first few days everyone is getting to know one another and the staff has neighborhood dinners and other activities planned.

Overall, this program is great!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Year of My Life

Studying abroad at the JFRC was the best experience of my college career. It changed who I am as a person and helped shape my future goals. I lived at the JFRC my entire sophomore year and I recommend staying as along as possible to anyone looking to go abroad.

The staff is so friendly and helpful, and I made the best group of friends. The dorms are very social, so it is easy to meet people and make friends from all over the world. Living in Italy is the most incredible opportunity and I cannot wait until the day I can return. Classes were relatively easy, and only held Monday-Thursday, so we had 3-day weekends every weekend which gave us the chance to travel and see much of Italy/Europe!

The JFRC is an incredible institution and would I hands down recommend studying abroad there to anyone!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Experience of a life time - Loyola Rome - John Fel

I spent two semesters at the Loyola University of Chicago's John Felice Rome Center - 40 years ago. It still is one of the best experiences of my life. I became an explorer and traveled to 5 continents and almost 40 countries - and many of them challenging such as recent trips to Bangaladesh, Sierra Leone and Nicaragua.

Through the Loyola Rome experience I built life long friendships - and now through Facebook, those I have not seen in many years are reconnecting.

Last year the University bought the campus and it has just launched a major capital campaign to improve the campus and the programs.

In terms of current experiences with Loyola, the children of several friends went in the last year or two - and loved it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Loved it!

I had a great time! I would recommend taking the Topography of Rome course if you are interested in a great overview of ancient culture -- and to make sure to take Italian with Professor Cristiani!

It's very easy to make friends (because you're living so close together) so if you come alone, or in a smaller group, you won't be that way for long.

I thought the SLA's were a great resource because they were accessible and easy to relate to. They answered all the questions that came up for me, so I never really had to go to higher administration for anything.

Yes, the campus in far from the center of town, but be sure to take advantage of living in an authentic Italian neighborhood!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

JFORCE

Overall, my experience at the John Felice Rome Center was incredible. The opportunity to live and study in one of the greatest cities in the world of today and the world of the past was the opportunity of a lifetime. The JFRC did so much to facilitate an incredibly positive experience in bella Roma, but there was one element of the Loyola Rome campus that I would change if I could. I, as well as many others, found that the types of rules and the excessive nature in which they were enforced almost encouraged a negative atmosphere and relationship between the students and certain members of the administration. Focusing so intently on the following of certain rules then enforcing their punitive consequences, led to many JForcers developing negative feelings and assuming an "us against them" mentality. The main example that comes to mind is when a student arrived back to the campus at 10:05pm from a school sanctioned event, namely Calcio, without his ID (5 minutes past curfew -- when ID's are required to be shown upon reentry) and was written up and fined 25 euros. Many thought this was excessive and unnecessary, myself included.

Overall, however, this was the ONLY negative element from the entirety of my study abroad experience at the JFRC. The students and professors who filled those halls, I found, were filled with compassion and zeal, which makes the most out of that once in a lifetime opportunity.

GO ABROAD. GO JFRC.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Roman Adventure

The semester I spent in Rome was by far the best semester I have had. All the faculty are amazing and willing to help with so much more than just academics. The campus in a very safe neighborhood. There was so much offered there in terms of trips and chances to do some amazing things. The study trips offered are amazing experiences that are hard to pass up. They are well planned and are amazing opportunities. The campus itself has nice amenities. The city either a short bus or subway ride away which is really convient. The rooms on campus aren't anything special but really I didn't spend that much time in mine because I was out and about. This school has too many oppertunies to pass up and will definitely help you experience Rome and Europe in an amazing way and will give you a wonderful semster abroad.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Study Abroad Program Centered on Community and Travel

I loved my semester at JFRC! I did not know anyone before going there because I don't go to the host institution, Loyola Chicago, but the way JFRC is set up makes it so easy to make new friends for life. I loved the beautiful JFRC campus, which is about 20 minutes away from Vatican City, but in the middle of a very nice Roman neighborhood, Balduina. You do have to take a bus into Rome, but there are several different bus stops right near campus. Being in the neighborhood made it easy to meet Italians, as I babysat for an Italian family twice a week during my semester. Dorm living is convenient, and makes it so easy to become close to other people in the program. Everything is held in one main building: dorm rooms, classrooms, dining hall, library, cafe, gym, chapel, and offices. Even a few professors live on campus! There is a variety of classes available, and I even took one that counted for my major back home, as well as an on-site Roman Art class and other electives. The community is fantastic at JFRC, and you leave knowing every person in your program. I've kept up with and even visited my friends across the country since my semester ended.

The university also puts on a lot of different programs throughout the semester, like going to a Papal Audience together, going to Mass in the Vatican Grottos, or even going to an AS Roma soccer game together. One major part of the program is "calcio" (soccer) every Wednesday night. Everyone signs up to be on a calcio team, and they play each other every week on a soccer field in the neighborhood and have a championship at the end of the semester. They even have t shirts and a weekly calcio newsletter!

Another unique feature of the program is the study trips JFRC offers. These are optional trips throughout the semester, either weekend or week-long, that JFRC completely organizes and facilitates. There are so many to choose from, ranging from a week in Greece studying the ancients, to a weekend in Orvieto learning how to cook authentic Italian food. In addition to these trips, there is a mandatory orientation trip at the beginning of the semester with the entire class to a smaller city or province in Italy. This is included in your tuition cost, and you get to do a wine tasting, have your first travel experience, and experience authentic Italian culture together with your class.

During the semester, you get three day weekends to travel. In addition, you get a week long fall/spring break, and one longer weekend (Thanksgiving or Easter break). This means you could travel every weekend if you want to, or stay in Rome to experience everything the city has to offer.

Overall, JFRC is amazing and you'll be wishing you never have to leave!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    7

American university in Rome

I really enjoyed my time in Rome because I have never been in Europe. Everything was new and exciting. But I understand why some people, including myself sometimes, had difficulties immersing into the culture. It is difficult when you're living on an American campus surrounded by other American students. Most of your time is spent interacting with American students. The campus was also a bit far outside the city, which made travel inconvenient. There were many Jesuit courses offer (Philosophy and Theology), which was easily transferable to my Jesuit home institution. I really liked the on-site course I took. It helped me explore the city more. Overall, I enjoyed my time abroad with the John Felice Rome Center. I would recommend it to other American students who want a tight-knit community with other American students exploring a new country.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Campus Secluded

Loved it, but the public transportation was extremely unreliable. The campus was far enough away that PT was essential. Wish I would have stayed with a host family to get more culture.

Overall Rating

4/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    3

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health and Safety

    4

  • Social Life

    2

Consider choosing another program

Rome is a beautiful place, and will always have my heart! I am in love with the country and am moving back in a few months--just can't get enough of the people, the food, the culture and the arts and architecture!! If you are looking to study abroad and live like a native, this program is not for you. The location of the housing is outside the city, pretty much in the middle of nowhere making easy access to the city not an option. On a good day (when buses are on time, which is rare) it usually takes about an hour on the bus, unless you want to spend about 20 euro (round trip) for a taxi. You sleep, study and eat all in the same building and don't be surprised if there are days where you don't even go outside. The direct outside neighborhood is pretty dull and the walk to the grocery store is about 30 minutes. Most people end up buying food there because they don't serve breakfast and the food they serve lunch and dinner is almost inedible. People regularly get sick eating it. They serve pasta twice a day, every day, although the type of pasta will change. All that aside, the worst part about the program are the resident advisors, or SLAs as they are called. It seems like they enjoy trying to make your life more miserable. Example includes writing you up for talking to loud in your room after 10pm when quiet hours start, and whatever other things they can think of. This place feels like you are stuck in the twilight zone. SLAs are definitely the type of person in life you would want to avoid due to their negative attitude. They go out of their way to be rude, unhelpful and uncaring. I really hope this has changed since last year and if so, the program would be dramatically better for it. Other things include no wifi in your room, only in common areas. In order to have fun in this program, you pretty much just need to find a few good friends in the program, which won't be hard because the students are great, and plan trips for every weekend. One positive thing about the program are the teachers! Ultimately, I advise selecting a program that is actually located IN Rome and you will have the time of your life!

Overall Rating

3/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    1

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    5

Rome is a wonderful place...

...but the John Felice Rome Center is not.

I arrived at the campus with hope in my heart and very excited for what I was sure would be the best semester of my college experience.

Instead, if I could go back, I would never have set foot inside that place.

I went to Rome with the intent to learn the Italian language, meet locals and truly immerse myself. I managed to do those things, but it was a difficult process made worse by the program. In fact, I was only able to accomplish those things by sheer dumb luck - I made a friend in a bar one night who started bringing me on outings when she realised what a terrible time I was having. I say this to make it clear that the city of Rome is a truly fantastic City. The people are friendly and happy, the food delicious, and not to mention it's sheer beauty. However, this review is not about Rome. It is about the study abroad program I was on.

I will start by saying four out of my five of my professors were great. I learned a lot. But the problem lies with the administration, the SLAs, and in fact the other students. The administration is absolutely clueless. They run a business, not a university. There is absolutely no evidence that they have the best interests of the students at heart. This is clear from their hands off approach - never once did I see a member of the administration when it wasn't about money. They also create and enforce archaic rules; such as quiet hours that are reminiscent of martial law, parental controls on the Internet (good luck online shopping for a bathing suit), and more.

The SLAs, a fancy term for RA, are also a huge problem at the school. They do not seem to be chosen for any other reason than their ability to suck up to the administration. Their interactions with students are usually judgmental and unhelpful. In fact, many of them go out of their way to find students breaking the rules. Rather than being there to help the students in their journey, they instantly make themselves the enemy. Furthermore, they can be downright mean and condescending in the way they speak to students - people who are not much younger than they are.

Earlier, I mentioned that the other students were a problem. It is far better to stay that it is the students in relation to the school. The school promotes a dorm mentality - I witnessed students years older than me regress to freshmen. They consistently got black out drunk even on week nights. They went to american bars and clubs. They ate at only popular tourist restaurants. None spoke better italian when they left. Few made friends in the city. Many of male student body had a competition to see how many of the girls they could sleep with. Why is this the schools fault? Because, wittingly or not, they promote this behaviour. The campus is far removed from the city, and never once did the school have any sort of event or program to get students out there. Never once were students encouraged to fall into the Roman lifestyle. Instead, they were encouraged to participate in JFRC only events, promoting a very insulated culture.

The John Felice Rome Center is the worst decision I have ever made.

Do not misunderstand me: Rome is the greatest city in the world. But if I had wanted to spend a semester surrounded by Americans with endless restrictions on me, I'd have stayed in America.

Overall Rating

3/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    1

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    2

  • Social Life

    4

Not for me

While some may have enjoyed LUC Rome center it was not for me. The program was poorly organized and the Student Life Advisors were often rude and did not have a great deal of information. It was difficult to truly be immersed in the country when a vast majority of the students were American. Also the school was not greatly concerned with our safety. If you're the type of person who likes things that aren't very organized then you'll love this program. If your are a highly organized person such as myself then you will not enjoy this program.