She is currently preparing for the LSAT with hopes to attend Law School. Constance writes about her semester with the JCU at Vatican City in the the 2012 Fall Program…
The year 2012 was a huge milestone
in my life. I graduated from the John Carroll University’s Boler School of Business with a BSBA in Business Management and a concentration in Human Resources, accepted a job with a company called TTi which moved me to Nashville, TN, and during the winter months began preparing for the LSAT and applying to law schools. At this point, you’re probably confused as to why I even mentioned this or you may be thinking I am completely conceited about my accomplishments. The fact of the matter is that I would not be where I am today if I didn’t follow through with the decision you may be debating on making. Studying Abroad for a semester with the JCU at Vatican City Program made me the adventurous and well rounded person I am today. I learned so much about myself and the world around me and I encourage you to do the same.
Even if I tried, I don’t think I could go a day without being reminded of my journey due to the fact that my apartment has a wide array of art work and framed photos that capture the most wonderful four months of my life.
It all began on August 23rd, 2010 when I boarded a plane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to embark on a semester abroad with the JCU at Vatican City Study Abroad Program—a program sponsored by The Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Program in Rome, Italy. I would be the first in my family to study a full semester abroad in another continent. Considering I chose to attend John Carroll, which was only a short 30 minute car ride from my home, this 6 hour time difference would surely be pressing on my family and friends. I was only nervous about how I would keep in touch with them. All arrangements and accommodations made by the program director, Dr. Casciani, exceeded my expectations. As far as my parents were concerned, they were not worried the slightest and knew I would be in good hands. The apartment in which I lived was five times the size of my college dorm room and only a 3 minute walk to Saint Peter’s Basilica. The building was conveniently equipped with wireless internet to contact home via email and Skype. I soon realized this apartment complex, also known as Borgo Pio would become my home away from home.
Since I was majoring in business people called me crazy for even considering studying abroad. I found that saving my liberal arts core classes for my semester abroad was an excellent choice. Being able to study art history, literature, language, philosophy, and religion studies in the Eternal City made me appreciate it so much more. How many people can say they studied the works of Michelangelo while standing in front of his famous sculpture The David? I was able to immerse myself in Italian culture, food, religion, language, and traditions on a whole new level outside of a text book. I could honestly go on and on for days about all the places I have been and all of the things I’ve seen, but I know we don’t have time for that.
If I could leave you with just one thought before you make your final decision I would like to tell you the most valuable lesson I learned during those four months. The most significant moment that our group shared was during the very first week in Rome. I admit that it was quite early in the trip to be engaging in philosophical thoughts, but this very moment occurred in the chapel in the Saint Ignatius’ Rooms and it moved me to tears. Dr. Casciani sat us all down and told us to close our eyes because she wanted to explain what to expect from these four months of our college curriculum. As a proud Italian-born citizen she mentioned to experience all Italy has to offer before booking every European adventure our bank account would allow. She mentioned we were very blessed to have given ourselves this opportunity and then told us to open our eyes. Everyone looked around and we had a quiet moment to reflect on what she had just said. I looked directly at Dr. Casciani and the proud grin on her face reassured me. She then explained that being away from home is difficult, but it would allow us to grow and learn beyond the walls of a John Carroll classroom.
She then shared that her home was destroyed in Castelnuovo,in the province of L’Aquila the previous year from a devastating Earthquake. Not too long after she lost her mother within the same year. Sitting here in this room was a woman that experienced a life changing year, yet still managed to plan what would be the best four months of our lives. I then realized these people were my family and this city was my home for the next four months. Among the group of students were five seminarians that lead us in a prayer. We were already being “men and women for others” on a separate continent and I’ve never felt more proud to be a John Carroll student and knew I had chosen the right program. Dr. Casciani then explained to us that everyone takes for granted home and the loving families we leave behind when we agree to study abroad. As long as I live I will never forget the four wisest words that ended her speech. She said to us that…“distance makes perspective clearer” (Dr. Santa Casciani, 2010). These four little words kept me inspired throughout my entire four months living in Rome, Italy. I wrote one of my best papers on the perspective of art, experienced a new perspective on both diversity and poverty in a foreign country, and most importantly gained a new perspective on appreciating my family, faculty, and peers back home. I am proud at how far I’ve come two years later and believe that distance made my perspective on life clearer. I’m encouraging you to study abroad and experience it yourself. Don’t hesitate any longer to make your own memories and submit your application today.