Hello! I’m a first-year freshman and a Communication Arts major in St. John’s University’s College of Professional Studies. I’m from Philadelphia, PA and I love life in the Big Apple. I’m an average college student with big dreams for my future. I love to meet people, spend time with family and friends, and hang out with my suite mates Most of all, I love to travel which is why I chose to study abroad as a freshman in Rome, Italy. I am beyond excited to share my journey with you, before, during, and after my trip! Ciao!
Day 11 Rome
January 14, 2013
So today was our travel day. Our flight was basically the same as it was when we came to Italy. Our flight from Rome took us to Dulles Airport in DC(which I found out id technically in Virginia). Most of my classmates live in New York so they flew from Dulles back to LaGuardia Airport but since I live in Philadelphia and another girl lives in Texas we were supposed to fly directly from DC to our home states. Only it didn’t work out that way. Our flight from Rome left about an hour late. This was bad considering each of our connecting flights including the one to New York had only a 2 hour layover. I have to say that was the longest flight I’ve ever taken…literally. The flight back was a couple hours longer than the one to Italy because on the way back home the plane is flying against the wind. I watched 4 whole movies! I watched Trouble With the Curve, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Taken 2, and The Words. They were each really good movies. I slept a little bit afterwards too.
Once we finally got to Dulles Airport we only had about 30 minutes to spare before we all missed our flights. Unfortunately for me my flight was the first one, before the flight to LaGuardia and Texas so i had to move the fastest! I forgot all about going through customs and waiting to get our luggage. That took nearly 30 minutes so of course I missed my flight!! I was so upset. Everyone else had more time before their flight boarded so they just made it! I was in Virginia all alone, my luggage was on its way to Philadelphia, I was hungry, and tired ( especially since coming from Italy by body thought it was 11PM and not 5PM). I went to the customer service counter and they gave me a ticket for the next flight, free of charge, The only problem…it was for 8AM the next morning! I immediately called my mother to express my dismay. I felt so stuck. There was no way I was in the mood to spend a night in the airport.
Luckily I have an uncle who lives in DC. We made some arrangements and he drove about an hour or so to pick me up. I was so relieved to finally be with family and in a familiar place. Once we got to his house he bought me a ticket for Amtrak the next morning. My cousin gave me some pajamas while a washed the clothes that I was wearing so that I would smell good the next morning. I slept very good that night.
The next day, Tuesday, January 15 I caught my train to Philadelphia. When I arrived my father picked me up from 30th Street Station and drove me to the Philadelphia International Airport to pick up my luggage. I’ve never been so happy at the sight of my suite case in my life!
Of course that wasn’t the end of my ordeal. The top strap of my suite case was broken. I’m so happy I was was flying international because if I wasn’t the airport would not have offered to repair it for me. All I had to do was take it home, empty it, bring it back, and it would be mailed to me once it is repaired.
I’m not going to lie to you, my day 11 was terrible. First it was rainy in Italy, then the flight felt like murder, I missed my connecting flight, and my luggage was broken. But it topped off the best learning experience I’ve ever had. If a missed flight and damaged luggage was the worst thing that happened to me while going abroad for the first time in my life…I’ll take it.
P.S. I appreciate you all following me throughout this wonderful journey. I hope you enjoyed my pictures and anecdotes as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. Thank you!
Day 10 Rome
January 13, 2013
THE LAST DAY!!!! Today was my last full day in Rome. I have to say it was bittersweet. I miss home and the states very much but of course once I leave it’s no coming back… at least not for a while. I spent the first half of the day shopping (trying to spend my last euros) with my roommate. I’ve bought so much stuff I hope to God I don’t go over the 50 pound limit for my luggage!
I’m not sure if I told you before but we did have one small project to do while we were here. We had to make a book. I know it sounds tedious but it was simple. Professor Smith gave us a small writing assignment on the flight to Italy. What we had to do was write about our expectations of Italy. I explained that my expectations consisted of what I have seen through the media. The media gives me the impression that Rome, Italy in general is a very old city with no technological advancement. This is only somewhat true. Italy is just as up to date as the U.S. Take the electronic doors in our dorm building for example. That 1-page paper was included in our book. Another one of the papers was about another topic that we chose during the first class. I chose to focus on the culture of Italy. Others chose to focus on artwork, religion, or Florence. After we were finished with all of our papers we bonded the pages together, made covers for our books and decorated them. This is what we did for our last day or the second half of our last day. We topped the day off playing Jeopardy. We split the class into 5 different teams. (2 people per team) Honestly my team had the lowest score but we tried our best!
Once we finished we all grabbed a bite to eat from across the street and came back to our rooms. The rest of our night consisted of packing because we had to bring our luggage to a room on the first floor so that there would be nothing extra to do in the morning before we leave especially since we need to leave at 7:30AM to make our flight. I’m gonna savor this last night.
Day 9 Rome
January 12, 2013
It’s hard to believe that our trip has gone by so fast! Even though I miss home… I know how much I’m going to miss this experience and “living” with this particular group of people. I hope this weekend goes by as slowly as possible. Anyway today was another free day. That means we could do whatever we wanted all day! I decided to go shopping of course. One of my classmates went with me and we shopped all day! Fortunately we made it back in time for our Farewell Dinner. (The restaurant is closed on Sunday so our dinner was a day earlier. It was a 4 course meal that included an appetizer, a meat dish, a pasta dish, and dessert. Our appetizer was not shared like in the states. We had our own dish with eggplant, zucchini, and other foods that I don’t remember. Admittedly it didn’t look too great but I did like it so I’m glad I tried it! The lasagna was great! I liked it so much better than the one I had before. The meat dish was veal with prosciutto and a side of potatoes. I’ve never had veal before but I did like it. But my favorite part if the veal was the prosciutto on top of it. I loved it. For dessert we were given tirimisu…. not my favorite but it was good nonetheless.
After dinner we all sat at the table a bit longer and talked to Professor Smith and Jessica. At that moment I saw how comedic of a group we are. I’m going to miss this group so much.
Well tomorrow is day 10…the last day. Nooooo!!!! Talk to you tomorrow!
Day 8 Rome
January 11, 2013
Today is Friday, January 11. My 8th day in Rome. My classmates and I literally did nothing all day! We had a brief class at 10AM and after that we went back to our rooms to do, well…nothing. My roommate, Grace and I slept until 6PM! I had no idea we were so tired! It turns out that our other classmates didn’t sleep as long as us and went to a tattoo parlor! I really wanted to go and witness a tattooing! Haha! Anyway we missed it but I saw the result. The tattoo was something that my classmate had wanted for a long time so don’t worry! There were was no spur of the moment tattooing going on!!
For dinner I had another ragu rice ball! I’m in love with them. Who would have thought of all foods I’d fall in love with it’d be something so simple. Oh well! For the rest of the night we hung out in one classmate’s dorm room. We listened to music, ate dinner, and laughed all night! Now it’s pretty late (actually it’s very early in the AM) so I’m going to bed!
Day 7 Rome
January 10, 2013
I woke up this morning and I was completely tired of Italian food. My stomach felt weird. My body felt sluggish and the thought of another pastry made me nauseous. Today was our class trip to Florence and we had to leave at 6:30AM to catch a train to Florence. At the train station everyone ended up buying scones, cakes, and other breakfast pastries and I couldn’t take it! Literally all I wanted was American food! I didn’t want pizza, gelato, pasta, or anything. With that said I ran to the first McDonald’s I found. They’r options were VERY limited, unlike in America. It was breakfast time and there were only 4 options which you could add a hash brown and small orange juice to. I bought a McMuffin with sausage, egg, and cheese. It tasted a bit different (of course since we’re in Italy) but it was close enough!!!
The train ride was about 2 hours long and the ride was so smooth I hardly noticed that we were moving! I loved it. We got off the train when we arrived and some of us went to the ATM others went to eat. I wanted to use on of the bathrooms but would you believe that you had to pat 1 euro to use the bathroom!? That’s when I went to McDonald’s (where it was free)We waited about 30 minutes for our tour guide to arrive. Once he did we were on our way. We saw various different buildings and statues which was torture considering it was rainy and cold but we got through it!
Once the tour was over we were given about 4 hours of free time. The first thing my roommate and 2 of our friends did was find food. We went to a restaurant and everyone ordered Italian food…except for me! I ordered french fries. They tasted just like home and I was in heaven. We spent the next 3 hours shopping. There was leather everywhere! The streets literally smelled like leather (Florence is known for their leather goods). I bought more souviniers for myself and my family. I had a great time. I finished off my shopping with a waffle and nutella chocolate sandwich which is essentially 2 sugar waffles with nutella in the middle. It was… WONDERFUL.
On the way back to campus we slept and we rested for another in our rooms before going out to dinner. Guess what I ordered? I ordered french fries and pineapples. Yes, a weird combination but I haven’t eaten ANYTHING healthy since I’ve gotten here. I wanted fruit badly and I loved it. Others ordered rice balls, pasta, and seafood dishes. They even topped their meals off with tirimisu. I was very content with my fries and fruit.
That was my day! And I’m ridiculously sleepy so Goodnight! I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Day 6 Rome
January 9, 2013
Today is Wednesday and every Wednesday the Pope holds an event called the Papal Audience. This is a formal meeting held by the Pope who comes out and holds a group prayer session. It’s not like mass but more so like a meeting with those who wish to worship God with him. There were people from all over the world and the place was packed. Luckily we left about 2 hours before it started and were able to get seats that were significantly closer to the stage. It seemed a bit like a concert. When he came out on stage cameras began flickering and there was clapping and cheering from the audience. It was definitely a different experience for me, positive, but different.
Again, like most of this week, we skipped breakfast so we went out to eat afterwards. Most of the group went to a restaurant with Professor Smith and Jessica however me and another girl from the program (the one I got hustled with yesterday) decided to find a restaurant that accepted our meal vouchers. Next door to the restaurant they went to we found a Chinese food restaurant. Curious to find out what Chinese food tasted like in Italy, we ate there. They accepted our meal vouchers too! I ordered sweet and sour chicken. Honestly I like the way it is made in the states. Here it’s soft, not crunchy. That was an unpleasant surprise for me. But I ate it all because it is frowned upon to finish your plate in this country. Obviously this is not the case in the states.
After lunch we went back to campus to meet up with the group again. Professor Smith wanted to show us different churches in the city and I must say that they were very beautiful. After looking at 2 churches we had time to ourselves. Four girls from the program and I decided to go back to campus to take naps. On the way back we stopped to get pastries and hot chocolate. One of them bought banana hot chocolate and someone else bought milk hot chocolate. From their facial expressions when they took the first sip, I’d say they were pleased with their choices. I bought a pastry and 2 other girls bought chocolate in the shape of cigars. I also stopped in a nearby store to buy something that I’ve been wanting to buy the whole time we’ve been here…an Italia sports jacket!! I bought a pink one with the word Italia in gold… I think I want another one =/.
Anyway after nap time we all went across the street to the street to the same place we bought food at yesterday. Actually before we went there we stopped at the gelato shop next door to it. I got a cone with half crema flavored gelato and the other half was canole filling flavored. I have to say it was preeetty good. I had dinner after dessert and I tried something new. I tried a ragu rice ball. It was a breaded ball of rice with meat, cheese, and peas on the inside. I’m definitely gonna get that again tomorrow!
Tomorrow we have a train ride to Florence. I’ll be sure to tell you how that goes. Good night.
Day 5 Rome
January 8, 2013
Today, day 5 we went on a tour of the Borghese Gallery. This is an art gallery that is housed in what used to be the Villa Borghese Pinciana. It houses a significant part of the Borghese family collection of paintings, sculptures and antiques. The collection was started by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V. After a 30 minute walk from campus we arrived at the gallery and met up with our tour guide. She walked us through the building and explained both the history of both the artist and the piece. That took bout 90 minutes. We hadn’t eaten breakfast so we were happy to leave and search for food.
On the way back me and another girl in the program got held up by a few tourists who wanted us to take their picture in front of a statue. That took a few minutes and by the time we finished our group was gone. This was okay considering we knew our way back but we unfortunately got hustled into buying roses on the way back. Something I have learned is to never let any vendors or “sales people” put anything in your hands. This is how they sell you their merchandise. The man offered to give us each friendship bracelets that he was selling while making friendly conversation with us. He eventually ended up handing us some of his roses too. When we tried to walk away he asked for a small amount of money. I gave him 2 euros. My friend gave him 6 euros assuming that he would give her some change back. He didn’t. He just walked away. She followed him to ask fro her money back in exchange for the roses that he “gave” to us but he wouldn’t have that! Instead he gave her 1 euro back and walked away…We had officially been hustled. We then decided to just walk away and get some breakfast/lunch. On the way back, since our class had left, we decided to do a bit of shopping at a boutique called Iron G. I bought a leather bag that I had immediately fallen in love with and and a pretty cool looking iPhone case. We then stopped at a street vendor and bought some earrings.
After deciding we had done enough damage, we decided to go back to our rooms to see if our class had returned. They came after about 20 minutes. Fortunately they had stopped at the local supermarket and bought plenty of snacks and Fanta soda for all of us to share. We brought each of our mattresses into one room and played guessing games while giggling from our sugar rush.
Later on at 6:30PM we met up with Jessica and Professor Smith to go to the famous Trevi Fountain. This fountain is a place where hundreds of people visit each day to throw coins over their shoulder and make a wish. Even though I would like to, I’m assuming I can’t tell you what I wished for because it may not come true…Sorry!
After taking plenty of pictures we walked to the Spanish steps and and tried to guess how many steps were there total. I’m pretty sure we were all gone. After that we left Jessica and the Professor in search of the nearest subway. That took about 30 minutes but we made it back safely! Exhausted from the day we decided against going out to sit and eats so we stopped at a pizzeria across the street from campus get takeout. I decided to buy Fanta soda and plain pizza. I was very happy with my choice.
Let’s see what tomorrow awaits…
Day 4 Rome
January 7, 2013
We visited Pompeii today!. Pompeii is a Roman town near Naples. The town was destroyed and almost completely covered by ash when the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. We boarded a coach bus at 7:30 AM for a 3-hour ride. We stopped an hour and a half into the ride for breakfast and snack. Then we boarded the bus again. As you can imagine, we slept the whole time. When we finally arrived around 11AM. Our tour guide was there waiting for us when we arrived and we hit the ground running.
The first that was explained to us was that we would see a lot of dogs because it is the only place in the city where they are safe to run around without being taken to the pound. After that. we started the tour. The guide was very informative. Turns out the Pompeiians were very advanced for their time. They had sewage systems, and fast food places/. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
We had lunch across the street from the site together. We had the option of spaghetti, plain pizza, or calamari.
The calamari is a lot different from how it is in the states considering it isn’t crispy. It’s soft and served with shrimp…the WHOLE shrimp, eyes, legs, and all. I was so startled when I saw them staring at me from my plate! I immediately gave them to one of my friends to eat so that they wouldn’t go to waste.
We boarded the bus shortly after and slept all the way through the trip…except for the select few people who wanted to play games. When we got back we all decided to go out to dinner. We went to the same place as last night and the waiter was so happy to see us again. We bought dessert at the gelato shop across the street afterward. The shop owner was happy to finally speak English. He was an older gentleman that had nothing but jokes and smiles for us. He gave us as many samples of the flavors as we wanted…they even had a Viagra flavored gelato! It was blue just like the pill! It didn’t taste like any flavor I’ve ever had but it was very tasty. I ended up getting the Snickers flavor.
Sleepy and full we ended up getting back to our rooms around 11PM. I’m ready for tomorrow!!!
Day 3 Rome
January 6, 2013
Today we visited the Coliseum and the Forum! The day started out with a 15 minute class where we talked about the day’s plans. Afterwards we took a quick walk to an area that had stores/shops and cafes where we were able to slit up. I got excited every time I saw stores from the states such as H&M, Sephora, Gap, Lacoste, and Levi’s. We left a couple hours later to depart for out tour of the Forum and the Coliseum.
The metro (which is their subway) is what we used to get to the Coliseum. I was very surprised by some of the similarities between the NY subways and the Italian metro. I was also shocked to so so much graffiti all over the cars! I guess kids will be kids no matter what country they’re in. Something that I noticed was that every sign was in both Italian and English….very helpful. When we finally arrived we met up with the same tour guide we had yesterday. We saw the forum first and the Coliseum last. There were vendors and tourists everywhere. It was so lively, everyone was so happy and smiling. It was a very pleasant visit.
We were very hungry afterwards so we all decided to go to lunch together at a nearby pizza restaurant. I tried a new pasta which consisted of noodles and spicy tomato sauce (which actually wasn’t very spicy). We had a fun time at lunch with Professor Smith and Jessica. We even decided to get gelato afterward. It was so good!
Yesterday was actually a holiday called the Epiphany. On this holiday everyone goes to mass and celebrates afterward. There was a festival nearby that Jessica and Professor Smith took some of us to. There were vendors, food, and people everywhere! It was such a fun time. We had dinner across the street from the festival and made an Italian friend (our waiter). He told us he was so excited to practice his English with us. There I tried lasagna. Italian lasagna does not use ricotta cheese like in the U.S. Instead they uses a type f sauce. It was still very good though. For dessert we tried chocolate soufle, tirimisu, and I had my favorite…a canole! I finally found a place that makes them which was hard because contrary to popular belief it is not a very popular pastry here even though it was first made here. Ironic, huh?
Day 2 Rome
January 5, 2013
Today was exhausting but I definitely learned a lot. We had class from 9AM until about 10AM on the first floor of the campus building. During this class we talked about “surviving” in Italy. All this was, was a quick class where our professor taught us different important terms in Italian, such as thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, how much does that cost, may I, and where is the bathroom… After this we took a walk around Rome, we visited multiple churches and there was a festival going on where I was able to try chambella con nutella, which is a huge donut type pastry with Nutella spread all over the top of it. A couple hours later we were given some free time before our tour of the Vatican. During this time I tried my first baguette. It’s a sandwich and mine had salami and mozzarella cheese. It was very good.
About 3 hours later we met back in the welcome room to leave for our tour of the Vatican. We walked there and had a tour guide waiting for us once we got there. We saw t. Peter’s Basilica, the outside of the private apartment of the Pope, and the Sistine Chapel. The chapel was beautiful but unfortunately cameras were not permitted so I have no pictures of Michael Angelo’s works of art all over the chapel. We stopped in a cafe in the Vatican museum and I tried a creamy cake that was topped with pine nuts. It was great, very rich, but still great.
After the tour we were permitted to leave the museum and spend our time the way we wanted, Some of us decided to find some dinner and others decided to look around the museum a bit more. We spent about an hour trying to track down one particular restaurant that accepted our meal vouchers. Finally we just decided to eat at a different place. Fortunately they accepted our meal vouchers. We each ordered different pasta dishes. One of us had ravioli, another spaghetti, and I had one particular pasta dishes that had 4 cheeses. That was a good dinner. We were so stuffed afterward.
After dinner we found our way back to campus and hung out in our rooms. We planned to go out and explore more of the beautiful city but we each fell asleep. I guess we were more tired than we thought. Anyway, that is how we spent our second full day in Rome. Tomorrow we visit the Forum and the Coliseum. I’ll be sure to update you on that trip as soon as possible.
Day 1 Rome
January 4, 2013
Today is January 4, 2013, our first day in Italy. Our flight was a bit late arriving but claiming our luggage and boarding the bus that took us to campus was painless especially with the help of our chaperones, Professor Adam Smith and Jessica Stevens, the Office of Global Studies Assistant Director of Academics,we arrived on campus we sat in the welcome center while the Rome campus assistant director, Domenico Ferraro, distributed our room keys which don’t look like keys at all. After this we were given our room assignments and given time to unpack and get situated before our orientation. During this time some of us decided to venture out in search for an ATM to get euros and find food. We ended up stopping at UniCreditBanca di Roma and then a local pizza restaurant. The people were very nice and surprisingly began speaking to us in English. The cook even came out to the dining area to greet us. We each ordered our own personal pizzas and a couple bottles of mineral water. We had quite a nice lunch.
Afterwards we went back to campus and took short naps while we awaited 3PM for our orientation. At this orientation we were given 18 meal vouchers, each for both breakfast and lunch or the next 9 days. We were also given a 7-day metro card which will get us to and from each historical place we visit.
A quick tour of the surrounding neighborhood followed the orientation. During this tour we decided to walk to the Vatican City (a 20 minute walk from the campus). There we saw a beautiful Nativity scene and saw the Vatican, the largest church in the world. We were allowed to split up into groups as long as we were back in the main lobby of the campus by 6:45PM to leave for our Welcome Dinner. The group I was with decided to go to the nearby holiday market. It was set up like a flea market and there were plenty of vendors with inexpensive jewelry, scarves,postcards, figurines, shirts, and other possible souvenirs. Most of the vendors spoke English and were very friendly. They were also quick to bargain to accept lower prices for their goods. Finally we left without putting too much of a dent into our spending money.
We arrived back at the campus lobby just in time to leave for dinner which was at a restaurant named Pizzeria San Marco, where each of us, includingProfessor Smith and Jessica Stevens, ordered our own personal pizzas and mineral and sparkling water. We all sodas afterward. A fun fact is, the Fanta orange soda in Italy takes quite a bit different from the kind we drink in the U.S. The color is even different. It’s light orange as opposed to the bright orange color that we’re used to. It’s due to the difference in the amount of sugar used to make it. Italy uses less sugar…
After dinner we walked to a nearby shop for gelatos, the perfect dessert to match a perfect dinner and a perfect day. I can’t wait for what’s i store for tomorrow when we tour the Vatican more thoroughly.
Off to Rome!
January 3, 2013
Well we’re off to Rome, Italy for 10 days as apart of DNY. We will be boarding momentarily. More photos to come!
Pre-departure orientation for Rome
December 9, 2012
On Wednesday, November 28 my Discover New York class served as a pre-departure orientation for Rome. I learned so much. We were told that we should pack lightly. The weather will be beautiful, 50 degrees the lowest. Italians dress in layers because the weather goes from one extreme to the next. Good to know! Comfortable shoes are a must! They don’t have smooth streets and sidewalks like us! It is recommended that we roll our clothes up when we pack them so that they fit in our luggage. When asked about ho much clothes to pack, the orientation leader suggested that we lay out all of the clothes we plan on packing on our bag, and put back half. She said that really helps.
Unfortunately for us females we were warned not to bring our hair appliances (blow dryers, straighteners, curlers) because the voltage is so high there. Our appliances will over heat. (We don’t want to burn our hair out.) We will also want to put our cell phones on airplane for the remainder of the trip as we want to avoid charges for roaming. We will be able to rent phones that get free incoming calls from the United States. These phones are free of charge.
When we get there we will have another orientation where they tell us how to check into our rooms and get adjusted. That night we will have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant called San Marco. That will be our first taste of authentic Italian food! The next day we will have a class from 9 – 10:30AM. Afterwards we will get a tour of the Vatican! The orientation leader has gone to Italy with the program before and informed us that we may not meet the Pope but St. John’s University usually gets good seats and he acknowledges our presence. The following day, Sunday we will get a tour of the Coliseum. The next day, Pompeii. The activities are endless. We will even get to do community service at a soup kitchen ad attend the biggest flea market in the city.
OH MY GOSH! I’m soooo excited. I’ll be sure to update you with pictures, videos, and posts as soon as I get more information.
December 9, 2012
I finally got my passport! I officially applied for it on Tuesday, November 20. It was about $130 without expedited shipping. I was told that I should have it in 4-6 weeks. Guess what came in the mail 11 days later?! On Saturday, December 1 I received my passport in the mail! It’s official! My trip is finally paid for, my required forms are filled out, and I have my passport waiting for me when I get home for wither for vacation.
Winter Carnival 2012
December 09, 2012
The St. John’s University Winter Carnival 2012 was so great! It started on Thursday November 27 with holiday cupcake making in the DAC living room. On Friday there were plenty of holiday treats at the Sodano Coffeehouse in DAC. It was perfect for sweets lovers! Saturday, December 1, you were able to decorate your own mason jars and fill them up with cookie dough. You could even roast your own marshmallows and make s’mores. On Sunday, movie lovers were able to bring popcorn and blankets to the DAC lounge to watch the ABC Family “25 Days of Christmas” movie series.
The fun continued on Monday, those who know how to ice skate went to an event hosted by the Student Government Inc. at Bryant Park in Manhattan. The event was called “Ice Skating in Bryant Park.” It was free of charge but had a limit of 100 spots were available. Fist come first serve! Tuesday was the “A Central Park Christmas” event. Like at Central Park, horse carriage rides were available to the students. There were 2 carriages and students were taken on a ride around the Great lawn after waiting in line with hot chocolate, holiday cookies, and Christmas carolers. I even spotted 3 Toy Soldiers while I was waiting in line!
Wednesday was the Festival of Lights. It was hosted in the Taffner Field House and there were plenty of people waiting outside in line. The Festival of Lights is an event that celebrates the many religious traditions and events that take place all over the world. The festival included performances, a dinner, and prayer.
Thursday was the last day of the 2012 Winter Carnival and it ended with a bang! Santa’s Workshop took place at 11AM until 3PM. It took place at the Sodano Coffeehouse. There, students decorated their own Christmas stockings and Santa hats. (I’m so disappointed that I missed it.) Mass took place at the St. Thomas Moore Church at 7PM. Mass ended at 8PM at right afterwards the tree lighting ceremony took place on the Great Lawn. The church choir sang a few Christmas songs and afterwards there was a countdown to the tree lighting. By the time we got to the number 1 the beautiful tree was lit and fireworks went off for the remaining 15 minutes. To top off the night/ week there was a dessert party held at Marillac Terrace from 9PM-12AM. Let’s just say I ate plenty of cookies, pie, and sheet cake.
This was by far the best and most pre-Christmas celebrating I’ve ever done! St. John’s University certainly outdid themselves!
Today, I received my Worldwide Wednesdays newsletter from the Office of Global Studies. Worldwide Wednesdays is the title of the weekly newsletter that goes out to all those participating in the Global Passport Program. In it you’ll find information about flights, explanations of different aspects of the trip. Things that we don’t know about the trip/ program that are crucial. The newsletter is beyond helpful.
In this issue of the newsletter the role of the CISI Health Insurance was explained. The CISI Health Insurance is already covered in the Global Past Program fee. What the health insurance does is ensure that we, “have coverage for physical and mental health issues that may arisewhile abroad.”
Also included in the email was information about the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation. In this meeting, flight information (including departure times and costs) and other important details about the trip will be discussed. The official meeting is on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 from 6:00PM – 8:00PM. Unfortunately, that is the day before Thanksgiving Break and I won’t be able to make it. Thank goodness I was able to reschedule mine. As of now, my Pre-Daparture Orientation is on November, 29, 2012 during university’s common hour ( which is 1:50- 3:15 PM).
Taking this next step has made me even more excited about this trip. I’m realizing that I am ACTUALLY going to Rome in a couple of short months. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel once I finally board the plane. Oh, Boy!
November 17, 2012
So it’s almost official. My flight to and from Rome is booked and paid for. The roundtrip total was $1,195. I can’t believe the program was able to get us such a great price on our flights. (We are all on the same flight by the way.)
According to the itinerary our flight leaves from LaGuardia Airport at 10AM on January 3, 2013. There is a layover in Washington DC and from there we board our flight to Rome at 4:55PM. We should arrive at Rome Fiumicino Airport at 7:45AM the next morning.
As for our trip back I am planning to fly from Italy back to Washington, DC with my class. The only difference is that I will then take a flight back to Philadelphia International Airport. It makes more sense for me to do that instead of flying back to New York since I live in Philadelphia. Fortunately this slight change didn’t cost me any extra money.
I asked the travel agent about baggage and how much we would be charged for our bags. It turns out since it’s an international flight, not domestic. We are allowed 1 free bag. I was so relieved to hear that!
With each step I take toward this strip I become more excited. I still have quite a few things to do though. I have to finish an online orientation by December, attend a pre-departure orientation November 28th and… apply for my passport. Don’t worry I’ll have it in time for the trip. Nothing will stop me from going on this trip! Ciao!
Brooklyn – Believe the Hype!
October 24, 2012
Yesterday, Tuesday, October 23 I went with 4 other Discover New York students and 2 Peer Leaders to Front Street Pizza. The event was called Sunset and a Slice.
We boarded the free STJ shuttle bus and headed to Kew Gardens to catch the subway. We boarded the E-train and got off at Lexington and 55th Street. After that we boarded the 6-train to its last stop which was the Brooklyn Bridge. The sunset was gone but the view was still gorgeous. The sky was darkening but the lights from the buildings made it so pretty.
The bridge seemed to be endless but once we finally got off we walked to Front Street Pizza. The people were so nice and had no problem accommodating us. We had tons of appetizers (way too many for 7 people) and the 2 pizzas we ordered were huge. Afterwards we ordered a dessert sampler that included New York cheesecake, German chocolate cake, lemon meringue, a peanut butter and chocolate dessert and another type of cake. They served us hot chocolate and coffee to wash it down.
Stuffed and satisfied, we then walked to the F-train back to Kew Gardens and the Q46 bus back to the school. Sunset and a Slice was a huge success.