Christendom’s junior semester in Rome program is earning acclaim for helping students grow both spiritually and to the whole of their being, according to recent stories published by Our Sunday Visitor. From studying right inside the Vatican walls to encountering the saints throughout the city of Rome, Christendom’s Rome program is giving students the opportunity to earn academic credit while expanding their participation in the global Church, an experience that is nothing short of “transforming.”
Begun in the fall of 2002, Christendom’s Rome program is one of the best-rated study-abroad programs of its kind in the United States, with many students calling it one of their main reasons for attending Christendom.
The chance to study Christendom’s challenging liberal arts while integrating it with what they are learning from their Italian surroundings is an incredibly unique experience that encourages students to “read from the book of the world that lies outside the classroom,” according to Mark Wunsch, director of Christendom’s academics in Rome and the academic dean for the college’s Front Royal, Va. campus.
“Our program has the unique academic goal of helping our students integrate what they are learning in the classroom with what they are learning from their surroundings,” says Wunsch. “Our courses are taught by expert professors who are profoundly familiar with Rome, and they often deliver lectures on site or give assignments that force our students to venture out into various parts of the city. This education acts as a launching pad for students to become informed discoverers instead of ignorant tourists as they encounter the wonders of the Eternal City.”
Students spend their semester studying in the Instituto Maria SS Bambina, situated directly next to St. Peter’s Square. When they are not in the classroom, Christendom students can be found learning from professors in the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, or even in the Roman necropolis. These on-site learning experiences give students the chance to encounter the saints in their travels, an experience that changed senior Amy Marter for the rest of her life.
“I walked the streets of the Roman necropolis leading to tomb of the first pope and knelt in awe when I caught sight of the bones of St. Peter. I heard Pope Francis pronounce the words of consecration, and gazed upon Eucharistic miracles — blood stains on an altar cloth and consecrated hosts intact for nearly 300 years. I kissed the ground of the Circus Maximus where countless martyrs shed their blood for Christ and touched my rosary to the tombs of the saints,” says Marter.
“[These experiences] changed my outlook for the rest of the semester — and my relationship with the saints for the rest of my life. I never felt lost as I wandered the streets of Rome, because each church offered me the opportunity not only to encounter Christ in the Eucharist but also to meet a new friend in the Communion of Saints,” says Marter.
From learning in Rome’s great historical landmarks to living in a quintessential Italian neighborhood in the Residence Balduina, students grow in ways that make them better leaders upon leaving the Eternal City and Christendom College. Armed with an expanded world-view and the best in liberal arts education, those who go on the junior semester in Rome program call it one of the best experiences of their lives, citing the culture, classes, and friendships formed as unforgettable.
To find out more about Christendom’s junior semester in Rome program, including academic credit and pricing, please visit christendom.edu/academics/semester-in-rome/.