The arrival of the Spromers

Anna Fayard and Madelyn Koepke walking in the vineyard of the Due Santi campus in Rome. Photo courtesy of Emily Strom.

The excitement in the air was evident as the 71 members of the University of Dallas’ Spring Rome 2022 class disembarked airport buses on Saturday, Jan. 15, and set foot on the Due Santi campus for the first time.

Sophomore English student Madelyn Koepke said: ‘That first day is almost a fever dream [because] it’s something you’ve imagined for so long.

The first week in Rome was one of the busiest of the semester. The day after their arrival, all the students woke up at 4:45 a.m. to attend Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Other highlights of the first week include a walking tour of Rome, a treasure hunt, a trip to the nearby Castelli hills, and an evening of wine tasting accompanied by a five-course meal.

The wine tasting evening was an opportunity for campus-wide fellowship. After the meal, there was dancing and some teachers even joined in.

Koepke summed up the evening by saying, “How often do you do the Macarena with your history teacher?”

Since students travel extensively throughout the semester, they naturally have less time available to do their work. Professors realize this, so they work together to ensure that all due dates are spread out when possible. Students travel both with UD and alone throughout the semester, which limits the time available to spend on schoolwork.

A big part of this adjustment process is learning how to make the most of your time. Anna Fayard, a second-year English student, said: “There’s not a lot of free time. You really have to manage your time, but even when you manage your time, you’re probably not going to get it all done. And you just have to be okay with that and prioritize what’s most important.

The Spromers have started their third week of classes and have just returned to campus after their first-class trip to the Umbria region, 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 places they wish to visit. Planned destinations include Dublin, Paris, Sicily, Barcelona and Vienna.

Rome program director Dr. Peter Hatlie said the semester has started well. “With classes and educational excursions in full swing, our spring students have quickly adopted the Due Santi campus as their home,” he said.

At this time, the COVID-19 situation in Europe has not hampered regular university programming and Hatlie said students will be able to travel throughout Europe with minimal restrictions, including travel from class in Umbria, northern Italy and Greece.

Hatlie said: “COVID cases are currently on the decline in Europe which should allow our rich program of activities to move forward uninterrupted.”

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