Gillian Reinhard ’20
As referenced in a recent email to the community by President Berger-Sweeney, the Trinity Rome campus, a unique study abroad experience amongst the college’s study away opportunities, will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. The program first began as a summer session in 1970 open to students from Trinity as well as other schools. This was an exciting era at Trinity, as the college had recently approved coeducation in 1969. The first cohort of students to travel to Rome was a co-ed one. The program was founded by Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages and Literature Michael R. Campo ’48 and remains one of Trinity’s most popular study away programs.
Since then, the Rome campus has remained one of the hallmarks of a Trinity education. Today, upwards of fifty students attend the program each semester, with at least one member of the Trinity faculty traveling to Rome to teach each academic year. “I loved my time with the Trinity in Rome program,” commented student and Tripod editor Hunter Savery ’20, who travelled to Rome in the fall of 2018. “It was a transformative, unique experience in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
A key component of the Trinity in Rome program, as explained by Director of the Trinity College Rome Campus Stephen Marth, is its academic accessibility. While the Rome program offers strong course offerings in classics, art history, and Italian studies, the study away program sees students each semester fulfilling class requirements within majors such as economics, political science, and psychology, among others. “Each class is built around an Italian or European studies component,” Marth explained. “There are courses offered that might not be available in Hartford and include a local aspect to what students are learning.” For example, a political science class might specifically address the European Union or Italian government.
Trinity has maintained its Rome campus in the same location on the Aventine Hill since its inception. The program has a close relationship with the local convent, where students have the opportunity to live in the guest house maintained by the convent nuns. “Aventine is a special location,” said Marth. “It is in the middle of the city, but in a calm and beautiful neighborhood. Students are also exposed to the peace and tranquility of the convent.”
While a student in Rome, Savery lived in a local hotel, the alternative option to living in the convent guest house. He spoke fondly of his close relationship with Franca, a woman who worked at the front desk who would chat with him in broken English and Italian and provide candy and support throughout his semester abroad. However, academics played a vital part to the experience as well. “I was able to study Italian with one of the best professors I have had in college. I learned it a second language rather than a foreign language,” Savery commented. On a typical day, he would walk to his favorite espresso bar at the foot of the Aventine Hill, a perfect opportunity for him to practice speaking Italian. In addition to language, he also took a course in ancient art, which included a visit to the ruins of Pompeii in southern Italy, child psychology, urban and global Rome as well as a course on the European Union, which was particularly interesting as the course took place in the midst of the continuing Brexit crisis.
To commemorate fifty successful years in Rome, the program will have celebrations as the year 2020 approaches. As the college is celebrating so many significant milestones for the community, the Tripod will continue to cover these events in the coming months.