Summer Rome Program to be a full semester starting 2022

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Summer Rome 2021 Class in Subiaco. Photo by Dom Maurizio Viviera OSB

Recent changes to the University of Dallas Rome program will extend the summer program at the Eugene Constantin Rome Campus into a full academic semester beginning in 2022.

Although the Rome program cannot claim accolades as old as the antiquity surrounding it, it does maintain its own rich history of a flourishing program that has educated students for over 50 years. 

Traditionally, the sophomore class has availed themselves of a Rome semester, in either the fall or the spring, to sip cappuccinos, enjoy three-day weekends and traverse Europe in search of adventure–with hopefully less turmoil than “The Odyssey”. In addition, the university has conducted high school and college summer Rome programs to enhance the experience and appreciation students have of the Eternal City.

What generally accompanies the beginning of something new is the end of something else. According to Rebecca Davies, the director of the Rome and Summer Programs Office in Irving, the Rome Campus has stopped offering the high school programs. 

Instead, the full academic summer semester is available to undergraduates from UD and other universities. The rearrangement of the Rome program arose due firstly to the limited space during the regular Rome semesters, which restricted the number of sophomores who could participate in the program and necessitated the need for a change to add more capacity to the program. 

Secondly, the difficulties of COVID-19 called for improvements to the original Rome program. Courses are not set for the 2022 program, but facilitators plan to offer four of the five Rome core courses. With these issues in mind, the summer semester marks a new era of the Rome program, officially giving students three opportunities to experience Italy for themselves.

“The summer semester has developed into a program that is fairly close to the fall and spring semesters, though there are still a few things unique to the summer program,” said Dr. Ron Rombs, director of the Summer Rome Program.

 “For one, it’s summer, so the time in Greece, for example, as well as in Campania, is much nicer for swimming and other outdoor activities,” Rombs said. 

Students have the opportunity to luxuriate in the delightful summer weather and become entrenched in Greek culture during an outing to visit two islands on a boating day trip. 

Students also participate in St. Thomas Day, where they travel to the majestic ruins of the castle where Thomas Aquinas was born below the Apennine Mountains. Then, the group proceeds to the fitting place of his death, a stunning 12th century Gothic Cistercian Abbey named Fossanova. 

When walking along the Appia Antica, in the footsteps of Peter and Paul, students can experience the truth of the age-old phrase, “all roads lead to Rome,” for themselves. At the conclusion of such a historic day, travelers can see the masterpiece of the Catacombs of San Callisto and an optional mass. 

Lastly is an event Rombs believes distinguishes the summer semester from other academic semesters. While the fall and spring semesters have men’s and women’s retreats, the summer semester will offer a pilgrimage to the site of Padre Pio’s burial in San Giovanni in Rotondo, Italy. Afterward, participants can unwind on the beach in Puglia, putting a wonderful end to an extraordinary experience. 

Anyone who wants to experience the incredible summer semester for themselves is in luck. There will be a virtual meeting in late fall for interested students. But no wait is necessary as applications for 2022 are now available online at studyaway.udallas.edu. 

The deadline for priority applications is January 15. As with the fall and spring semesters, scholarships are also available for the summer semester. 

The eternal city is waiting with open arms for everyone who finds its deep tradition alluring.

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