A Bittersweet Reunion

The Joseph S. Bruno Program has offered me more opportunities than I had ever imagined it would in a matter of a few short weeks. What seemed an eternity away when we first arrived has flown by and I cannot believe our time here is closing fast! It seems as if we just arrived a few short weeks ago and now we are preparing to wrap up our semester in the beautiful country of Italy.

Our group the first week at the Palace with some professors

Our group with some professors the first week at the Palace

As I ponder over what my fondest memories from the trip are, I can’t help but think about the wonderful people I have had the blessing and opportunity to become close to over the past twelve weeks. Our group of eighteen has bonded in ways I would have never though imaginable in our short time together. We have become one big family and not being with this incredible group everyday is going to be weird! While most of us have only known each other for a short time, I can tell we will be lifelong friends.

Enjoying new friendship

Enjoying new friendships

It is such a bittersweet moment because I know we are all anxious and ready to get home to our friends and families, but at the same time realize that there is so much about Italy that we have fallen in love with and will miss dearly. I can honestly say I will miss this place and hope this isn’t the last I will see of this country.

A few of us girls enjoying an Aperitivo

A few of us girls enjoying an aperitivo – an Italian specialty

I spent the whole first half of the trip ready to go home and be with my family again and now I am spending the whole second half in regret that I have to leave so soon. This experience has definitely been life changing for me and I recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the opportunity. It has helped me grow both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to get back to see how it will impact my future decisions.

Trip to Consultario during our Practicum week

Trip to Consultario during our Practicum week

As our time here draws nearer everyday, my goal is to cram as much bonding time in as possible and cherish every moment I have left in this beautiful place with these amazing people!


~ Emily Milford ~

School by Day….Opera by Night

Never would I ever have believed all of the things this program has allowed us to experience. Today, we went to a local school to talk and interact with kids of different ages. Walking up to the school, we were a little skeptical as to how this would work (partly because we didn’t know how well they spoke English and partly because the hike to the school is treacherous) and if this would even be fun. It turned out to be the best experience! They speak English so well and they were so fun! The kids made me want to learn another language as fluently as they knew other languages. Talking to kids, not that far from our age about what they like and how they live, was such a more interactive way to learn about culture than sitting in a classroom.

Visiting the local school

Visiting the local school

We also knew coming to Italy meant that we would see an opera. Who goes to New York City and doesn’t see a Broadway show? That is how important operas are in Italy. Finding out that the whole opera would be in complete Italian was a bit daunting because how were we supposed to sit through a three hour opera that we cannot even follow? So, what better way to understand an opera than to act it out ourselves? We all had a role in the opera and acted it out. It was so funny and such a fun way to let loose with each other and understand the opera. It helped so much once we were at the opera to have a good grasp as to what was going on. The opera itself was so entertaining and did not disappoint!
Group picture before the opera

Group picture before the opera

These past 7 weeks have been the craziest, most fun, most tiring, and most rewarding weeks of my entire life. I have learned so much not only about the Italian culture and history, but about myself as well. This has, no doubt, been one of the best decisions of my life.


Jessica Mizell

No Longer Worried


The first picture the whole JSB group took together on the grand tour of Rome.

By: Ali McIlhenny

Before we arrived in Ariccia, we had to write about a few things we were worried about for our Journal assignment. As I sat at my desk in my room thinking about what these next three months entailed, floods of worries began to enter my mind. I worried about the amount of money I was about to spend, the community in Auburn that I was leaving and the community I was about to enter. But most of all, I worried about missing out on being a part of the everyday lives of my friends and family.

Most of those worries slipped away the moment that I got here and began living the fast paced life of a study abroad student. What replaced those worries were learning opportunities and excitement for new adventures. I still get a little sick to my stomach when I have to buy a plane ticket or pay for overly priced meals, but I am learning so much about the value of money.  Money is not meant to sit in our bank account never to be used. Quality spending has become one of the biggest lessons I have learned. My community worries went away when I started to get to know and grow with the other 17 students here. We could not have been blessed with a more wonderful group. I love each and every one of these people and they have become my community. Living and sharing just about everything with them has taught me about humility, selflessness and unconditional love. These past five weeks have been a time of growth and I am so grateful for that. I am filled with unending excitement that I get to spend six more weeks traveling with people whom I can only become fonder of.

I am not exactly sure as a communications major what I want to do one day as a profession, but I know that I want to love people well. My worries have turned into learned lessons and opportunities for growth. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I am always going to be thankful that I did it.

A Marble Mortar Into the Heart of JSB Italy Students

Grandeur can often be unsettling when one does not take a moment to experience it from without. For the better part of the day, we entered and exited buildings whose majesty and age were unparalleled in my eyes. Our guide and instructor did a wonderful job encapsulating the essence of the architects’ thought processes and the job they fulfilled for generations of posterity. There was, for most sights, a blueprint for the scale, ornate nature, and composition. These attributes bombarded me and cast all my precepts awry when the Victor Emanuel Monument came into focus.

Such a sight was a sumptuous delight, yet I must confess a tad bit audacious at first. The gravity of what this monument signified was lost upon me at first. Mrs. Ruth told us this monument honored the man who unified Italy. My first impression was this surely was an important event, but such a marble monolith seemed overblown. I attempted to take myself out of the equation. This region enjoyed bouts of stability, but for around two millennia it was enmeshed in a cycle of factions and emperors jockeying for control. There was an increase in appreciation for the marble celebration I was looking at. I began to get the impression this structure was comparable to my study abroad experience.

Before I came to Italy, everyone I knew asked me why I felt the urge to study abroad. They postulated their own reasons. I asked myself as well. Sights like this monument exemplify the fervor and benefit of this study abroad program in Italy. These masterful monuments renew the challenge inward. I was forced to view this sight with my soul and not my eyes. Sweat and blisters happen. Getting lost happens. This magical gaze redefines human capability. One can puzzle his mind about the merit of such a structure, yet I feel a much more worthwhile endeavor would be to marvel at the sheer energy it perpetuates. I know this program is worth more than I will ever know because every day it challenges my assumptions about what I thought was possible. I know in my educational pursuits if I struggle to find contemporary motivators that I can but gaze centuries or even eras into the past to grasp for the grand resolve of the human condition. Sometimes greatness warrants no further explanation other than awe.




A Massive Marble Climax

A Massive Marble Climax