This is what makes us Girls

I can’t believe we only have four days left. There are so many words I could use to describe the Joseph S. Bruno Abroad in Italy program (JSB)… amazing, fun, challenging, and inspiring, just to name a few… but what really stands out to me about this whole experience is the group of girls that I have been fortunate enough to spend these 12 weeks with.

When we arrived in Ariccia, more than half of us didn’t know each other. I only knew two of the students before joining this program. I remember being warned that being part of JSB would be an intense bonding experience, but nothing could prepare me for the joy I experienced watching old friendships become stronger and the creation of new friendships.

You see, as the GTA of this program, I’ve held the unique position of being both an observer and a participant. As an observer, I was able to witness so many moments that still put a smile on my face. I saw women who called themselves strangers only weeks before hold each other while one of them cried over the loss of a close friend. I saw them celebrate an engagement, birthdays, and job/internship attainment. I heard them talk to each other over the phone when they weren’t traveling together. I saw them form inside jokes and create odd nicknames for each other. In short, I saw relationships form and strengthen to a point where I’m certain they will withstand the test of time. I feel incredibly lucky to have been granted the opportunity to have witnessed and participated in this experience with this group of women. I hope that they cherish the memories they made while studying abroad – I know I will be reliving these last 12 weeks for years to come.

As I write, I can’t help but remember our first days in Italy – we first enjoyed the sights and tours as individuals, but we gradually began to enjoy everything in groups.

Us girls on our first tour of Ariccia. After this, I often couldn’t take a candid group pic without catching at a hug, laughter, or hand holding.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of my Chigi Princesses!

*Christiana Datubo-Brown*


Coming to an End…

Best memory in Italy was getting engaged to my best friend since the sixth grade, Russell Tumblin.

Best memory in Italy was getting engaged to my best friend since the sixth grade, Russell Tumblin.

Italy has been everything that I have dreamt about, and so much more.  This country has so much to offer its people and its visitors.  Everywhere we have been has been beautiful.  Each little town has its own thing that is unique to it.  Whether it is a certain food, drink, profession, etc., each town has their own.  I have thoroughly enjoyed living in the town of Ariccia.  The students are away from the touristic lifestyle that you will find in the bigger cities, and this has made it easier to become absorbed in the true Italian culture and lifestyle.

This country has opened many of our eyes and minds to different ideals, ways of living, and ways of understanding what is going on around us.  The lectures have also helped in opening us up to another culture different from our own.  I hope that when we come home we will hold on to many of the things that we have learned while being in Italy.  I hope that we have all learned to appreciate the Italian culture, and the many others that we might have crossed paths with while we have been here.

This trip has impacted every single one of us while being here and I know that everyone of us has enjoyed the many adventures along the way.  I know that some may have liked it more than others, but I know that we have learned to appreciate the country of Italy and its people.  However, I know that probably everyone is ready to go home and see their families and their friends.  I hope that I will get to come back to Italy quite often because a lot of wonderful experiences have happened to me while I have been here, and I would love to create many more.


Ashton Cooper

View of Rome from the Roman Forum

View of Rome from the Roman Forum


INDS atop Hadrian’s Villa; from left-right: Carly Hamlett, Ashton Cooper, and Jessica Been


Group shot at the water organ fountain at the Villa d’Este

‘Roman’ Around Vatican City

Here is a picture of the Last Supper painting in the Vatican Museum.

Photo of the Last Supper tapestry in the Vatican Museum.

Well, spring break has come to an end. We’re back and ready to take on the last 5 weeks and finish out strong as we have lots coming up and to look towards. This week we are headed to Rome twice; once to visit the Vatican and to learn about the Mediterranean diet, which I have been waiting all semester for! Yesterday (Tuesday), we went to Vatican City for the second time as a group and one of our professors, Emilio Del Gesso, led our tour through the Vatican Museum which ultimately ended at the Sistine Chapel. On Monday, Emilio gave a lecture to familiarize us with what we were going to see at the museum and the Sistine Chapel so we could better appreciate what we were witnessing. We saw so many paintings, tapestries and statues. My favorite work of art was this massive tapestry  of the Last Supper. Jesus and the 12 apostles were about 3 times the size of me and I couldn’t help but stare and take it all in.  Finally, we reached the Sistine Chapel and it was magical. Growing up Catholic, I have been learning about this place my entire life and finally I was standing right in the middle, gazing upon the ceiling looking at each of Michelangelo’s paintings, from the first painting of lightness versus darkness and then leading up to Noah and the great flood. I’m not going to lie though. It did hurt my neck a bit as I couldn’t stop but kept trying to look farther back at the next scene.

Catherine Marshall Corsi