The excitement in the air was evident as the 71 members of the University of Dallas 2022 spring Rome class got off the buses from the airport on Saturday, Jan. 15, and set foot on the Due Santi campus for the first time.
Madelyn Koepke, a sophomore English major, said, “That first day is almost a fever dream [because] it’s something that you’ve imagined for so long.”
The first week in Rome was one of the busiest ones of the semester. The day after arrival, all students woke up at 4:45 a.m. to attend Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Other highlights of the first week included a walking tour of Rome, a scavenger hunt, an excursion to the nearby Castelli hills and an evening of wine tasting accompanied by a five-course meal.
The night of the wine tasting provided an opportunity for campus-wide fellowship. After the meal, there was some dancing, and some of the professors even joined in.
Koepke summed up the evening, saying, “How often do you get to do the Macarena with your history professor?”
Since students go on many trips throughout the semester, they naturally have less time available to get work done. The professors realize this, so they work together to make sure all the due dates are spread out when possible. Students travel both with UD and on their own throughout the semester, limiting the amount of time available to spend on school work.
A major part of that adjustment process is learning how to make the best use of your time. Anna Fayard, a sophomore English major, said: “There’s not a lot of free time. You really have to time manage, but even when you time manage, you’re probably still not going to get everything done. And you just kind of have to be okay with that and prioritize whatever is most important.”
The Spromers have started their third week of classes and just returned to campus from their first class trip to the region of Umbria, visiting Subiaco, Assisi and Orvieto. Over the next two weeks, students will experience their first long weekends, an opportunity for them to decide for themselves which locations they want to visit. Planned destinations include Dublin, Paris, Sicily, Barcelona and Vienna.
Dr. Peter Hatlie, director of the Rome Program, said that the semester is off to a good start. “With classes and educational excursions in full swing, our spring students have been quick to adopt the Due Santi campus as their home-away-from-home,” he said.
As of now, the COVID-19 situation in Europe has not hindered the university’s regularly scheduled programming and Hatlie said that students will be able to travel throughout Europe with minimal restrictions, including the class trips to Umbria, northern Italy and Greece.
Hatlie said, “COVID cases are on the way down in Europe presently, which should allow our rich program of activities to move ahead without disruption.”