Lucie Buisson, Contributing Writer
Catholic, Core, Community, Rome. These are the four main reasons people choose the University of Dallas over other schools. What isn’t there to like about that? The strong faith of UDers is a beautiful thing to witness. The Core provides a solid grounding in the entire Western tradition. The small, tight-knit community here is full of love and kindness. And what doesn’t sound amazing about spending a semester in Rome?
I’ve been told that the Rome semester is amazing, and I eagerly look forward to going this spring. Unfortunately, the Rome semester does have one drawback, the impact of which I didn’t realize until the spring semester of my freshman year. Currently there are 111 students from my class studying in Rome. That leaves a fairly large hole in our community. Although I’m happy for them and take enormous delight in seeing how much fun they’re having whenever pictures show up on Facebook, I’m going to miss them. I suspect I am not the only one who feels the same. Therefore, I have been figuring out ways we can adjust to their absence in a Godly way.
Although I write this primarily with the sophomore “Spromers” and “Nomers” in mind, most of this advice should be just as applicable for any friends, whether they’re in Rome, at home or elsewhere, whom you won’t have the opportunity to see during the course of the semester.
Pray for their safety and well-being and ask God to bless their semester.
Send them Rome mail! Let’s make sure that the fall Romers get lots of letters! Few things are quite as delightful in Irving as receiving mail – how much more exciting it must be to receive mail from home when in Rome!
Send them email! It’s not quite as exciting as receiving a hand-written letter, but a long, thought-out email from a faraway friend is always touching. This also has the advantage of being faster than snail mail, and in the long run will probably be more useful for staying in touch with the fall Romers
If you’ve been abroad before, either for your own Rome semester or for other travels, you might offer them ideas on places they should try to see or mistakes they should avoid. I am sure such advice will not be unwelcome.
Plan to catch up with them over Christmas break, and follow through on those plans. I’ve found that breaks from school always seem to be far longer than one could possibly need … and then toward the end I realize I don’t have time to do half the things I had intended to accomplish over the entire break. Be sure to prioritize the people you care about and make time for them.
If you get jealous of the fall Romers’ experiences, remember that we do exciting things here as well! The Irving campus, though it lacks the majesty and history of Rome, is a wonderful place. We have Charity Week, the Revenge Your Roommate Dance, Oktoberfest, Winter Cotillion, Swing Club and many other activities to look forward to this semester! Whether you’ve already gone to Rome, are impatient to go, or don’t plan on going at all, you will have many opportunities for fun here. I am sure our friends abroad will want to hear all about KAOS and professorial jailbreaks.
Above all, we must be happy for our friends in Rome. If they truly are our friends, then we will want what is best for them, even if that means we will be parted from them for a while. We will miss our fall Romers very much, but let us rejoice, knowing that they will have an amazing semester in the Eternal City!