Loyola University Chicago  Header Image Loyola University Chicago  Header Image

Loyola University Chicago

Verified
Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago Programs

Italy

The John Felice Rome Center

The John Felice Rome Center in Italy offers an American undergraduate college experience in the heart of Western Europe. Students choose from more than 40 academic courses...

Save Program

Vietnam

The Vietnam Center in Ho Chi Minh City

Feeling adventurous? Study at the Vietnam Center of Loyola University Chicago based in Ho Chi Minh City and discover the immense beauty of Southeast Asia! Choose from...

Save Program

Loyola University Chicago Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    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

Program: The John Felice Rome Center

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    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.

Program: The John Felice Rome Center

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & 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.

Program: The John Felice Rome Center

Overall Rating

3 / 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    1

  • Cultural Immersion

    1

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    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.

Program: The John Felice Rome Center

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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.

Program: The John Felice Rome Center

Show more reviews