The 2016 Hofstra Romans

By Mitchell Weitzel

Well the time has finally come for us all to pack out bags and say “goodbye” to Italy. Throughout this jam-packed month the Hofstra Romans have been to twelve different Roman cities/towns, toured Vatican City and had a weekend in Ibiza, Spain; and I never want it to end. We climbed to the highest point of Mount Vesuvius, swam through the clearest, most refreshing waters, and tasted some of the best food the country of Italy has to offer. Oh and of course we ate as much gelato as we could possibly get outrhands on. We soaked in countless ancient ruins, explored the amazing cities and islands hidden away in the far corners of Italy, and formed a strong relationship with an amazing organization who is fighting for what I believe to be an extremely righteous cause. Helping Shoot4Change with the work they are doing for the city of L’aquila and with the countless refugees flooding into Europe has both educated me and given me the desire to want to make an impact. I hope that the continuing relationship with S4C will allow me to do that.

I want to give a special shout out to both Professor Morosoff and Professor Hillebrand for all the work they put in to making this month the best it could have possibly been and for teaching us a great deal about how to work with clients out in the real world. To this day, making the decision to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity was one of the best decisions I have made. I have become a part of a family and formed close friendships with ten people who otherwise I may have never gotten to know their names. I have formed a special bond with each and every one of my fellow 2016 Hofstra Romans and I love each and every one of them. I know that once we get back to school we all will have a new group of friends to hang out with, watch movies with, see all around campus, sing countless songs or show tunes with, and laugh at our numerous inside jokes. I cannot wait to see all these amazing people again once we get back to Hofstra.

Ciao, Italy.

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By Amy Wang

This is our last week in Italy. Now I really understand what “time flies” means. I can still remember the first day I arrived in Rome. It was a late night. I had to find my way from the airport to the hostel. I knew nothing about this big city where I was going to spend for the next four weeks. I was worried and nervous until I saw 10 familiar faces at St. Johns University’s map room. Then, our journey began.

How cool is it knowing ten new friends at one time? Being the only graduate student in this trip, I was not sure about getting along with a group of young and energetic undergraduate students. However, I just realized my worry was unnecessary after our first weekend trip. This was my first time sharing a room with the other 5 girls. We did everything together. We would talk and sing all the time (I was always surprised that they had song lists in their mind all the time!) My friend even tried to teach me to swim in the sea. It was one of my best weekends in my life.

Besides the fun part, we worked on a public relations campaign together for our client, Shoot4Change. Due to time constraints and our very limited Italian, our job was never easy. We had to listen to what the client really needed and how much we could do in these short 4 weeks. I have to say, I was really impressed by my schoolmates’ enthusiasm. They had so many great ideas popping out in their heads. They were smart and organized. The most important was that they were never afraid of trying. Not only did this project make me realize how much I have to catch up in my fields. But also I found my life’s passion.

From this trip, I have learned that life does not have to be complicated. You sing when you feel happy. You cry when you get upset. Then, the next day, you smile again. To my dear Hofstra Romans, we will see each other really soon. Ciao, Italy.

Back to Reality

By Chris Munno

July 25, 2016

One full day left on this experience that we call SCO in Rome. It’s hard to believe and very depressing. I can’t believe that in just in three days, I won’t be waking up to my roommates who became good friends of mine on this trip. I won’t be seeing every friend I’ve made over this month’s face every single morning and night for dinner. Where has the time gone? I feel like I’ve been here only a week. This trip was able to let me live my dream of coming and living in Italy, even if it was only for a short while.

We flew from New York to Dublin to Paris and finally to Rome to start the trip. In Rome the most memorable memories from the first week were the Trevi Fountain and the outside of the Pantheon. We met Shoot4Change and started working with them immediately. I can’t forget everyone on every Tuesday at Randy’s apartment for dinner and a movie. Now I’ve been from Rome to Amalfi Coast (Capri, Sorrento, Positano) Vesuvious then Erculano and to Naples (even if it was only a few short hours). Then back to Rome we went exploring the war memorial “wedding cake building,” L’Aquila, and  Cinecittà (as a film student visiting there was completely breath taking). What do you know, the second weekend was vast approaching!

We were in Florence one and a half days and three nights. From exploring all around the city, to walking to the top of Piazza di Michelangelo, learning about wine, and last but not least for Florence we all went to a karaoke bar. We spent one day in Venice, where we wandered and got ourselves lost, ate take-out pasta, and even had a Murano glass blowing demonstration. The last day of the weekend quickly approached and we had a wine tour through Tuscany where the food and wine were both to die for. Back to Rome again!

A Dream Come True

By: Christopher Esposito

As I sit in my computer room in my basement to write this, I can only think of how it feels like I never even left. One month in Italy went by faster than I could have ever imagined. The strangers that I saw for the first time as I approached JFK to check my luggage on July 1st became some of my best friends that I toured another country with. I wouldn’t have wanted any other people to have done this trip with. I would like to thank my parents for allowing me to have such a beautiful experience. They could have used the money for the course and expenses on themselves, but chose to give me a once in a lifetime experience. I could not thank them enough.

From the 22 plus hours spent slugging around airports in New York, Dublin, France, and Rome, to watching Angels and Demons for our last “Tuesday At Randy’s” every moment of this trip has been a blessing. Randy and Professor Morosoff were two of the best professors to lead this trip. I hope Professor Morosoff enjoyed his first trip to Italy with what I hope will be one of the best SCO in Rome groups to ever step foot in Italy!

I could probably go on and on with this blog post and honestly do not want to end it. For our “Last Supper” each member of the trip went around and gave a speech. I was lucky enough to anchor the group with my speech. For the readers that didn’t hear my speech in person, I gave thanks to everyone on this trip. Italy is a beautiful place and this was a beautiful trip. I love you all and until next time, Ciao.

The Last Week of Adventure

By: Lauren Acone

Our time in the eternal city is coming to an end. I have had probably the best month of my life with people I once viewed as strangers, and now are some of my closest friends. We have done so many amazing things together and experienced so much. This last week we have explored so many places I never thought I would see. We went to the Colosseum, one of the most amazing pieces of architecture ever! It was like a dream to walk inside of it. We 13730908_10209815087631181_4340481106261970919_o.jpgalso got to experience many churches, like San Clemente, a beautiful 1,000 year old church on top of the ruins of an older church which was on top of an even older one. It was so crazy to see 2,000 years of history under our feet. We even got to see the original water pipes of the roman empire that were underground. My mind is still processing the scenery.

We not only got to explore amazing things in Rome, but also outside of the city boarders. We went to Monte Porzio Catone, a beautiful little town in the Roman countryside. We went to an olive vineyard that used to be a Roman’s house. There was so much history in this one house it was hard to take in everything. There were ancient ruins in the garden, roman tunnels under the house, and WWII stories about how the Nazi’s used the house as a fortress. It was amazing to hear everything that happened to the one piece of land over the past couple  thousand years.

We also went to Frascati, a suburb of Rome. The town was on the top of a hill and overlooked the mountains and the city. The view of the setting sun was gorgeous from the lookout point we stopped at, even though it was cloudy the day we went. You could see the setting sun glowing over the city of Rome and to the mountains and the ocean past the city boarders. The town itself was very quaint, but filled with people taking their evening stroll or getting cafe before dinner. It was exactly what I thought an Italian town would look like. There we went to La Vecchia Frasca, an amazing restaurant where I ate tripe and rabbit for the first time. The other food we had was amazing, with some of the best antipasti I have ever had, and it was fun to taste something I have never tried before.

Overall this trip has been amazing. I do not want to leave not only Rome but the new friends I have made in my time here. It is crazy how close you can get to people that were strangers when we left on the plane only three weeks ago. This really was a life-changing experience for me and I would not change it for the world. I have loved my time here and I am sad to see it fly by so quickly, but I am so thankful for all the adventures I have gone on this past month. It’s been real Rome.

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The most accurate depiction of the Hofstra Romans 2016

Hofstra Romans visis Roman Ruins

By: Sara Whitman

Tuesday was another fairly relaxing day. We put in a great amount of work for Shoot4Change and then had a few hours on our own. A few of us planned our adventures for the upcoming weekend and worked out the details for travel.

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Ashley and I outside of the Coliseum. (Photo: Nick Boffardi)

We met our professors and Melissa Connolly at 4:30 to depart for our excursion of the day: a ruins tour! I was so excited to get to go back to the Coliseum, the Forum and Pantheon and learn about ancient Rome. The first stop was the Coliseum, which was even more extraordinary than I remembered it. We spent well over an hour learning about the culture of ancient Romans and their entertainment. I was surprised to learn that there were only about 15 to 20 gladiator battles in the Coliseum per year, which were all financed by rich people. I was absolutely astonished by the massive size and grandeur that was once the go-to arena for entertainment. The engineering and money that went into erecting such a structure is astounding.

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Inside of the Coliseum (Photo: Nick Boffardi)

Unfortunately, we were unable to actually go into the ruins of the Roman Forum because it closed by the time we were done with the Coliseum. I just think it is amazing that the ruins of once vital government buildings were excavated and now can be learned from and observed by the whole world.

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Ruins of the Roman Forum (Photo: Nick Boffardi)

We ran into one more problem—the Pantheon, an ancient temple dedicated to the Pagan gods, was closed. The Pantheon is said to be the best preservation of ancient Roman architecture known to man, as the inside of it is still completely intact with all its marble. Luckily it is free to enter, so we plan to visit it at a later time.

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Entrance to the Coliseum (Photo: Nick Boffardi)

To make up for our missing of two thirds of our tour, we headed over to Torre Argentina, the ancient ruins where Caesar was murdered. However, this is not the most interesting thing about the place. The best thing, in my cat-loving opinion, is that it is a sanctuary for homeless cats. I remember going here last time I was in Italy, and I even told my classmates about it, but I had no idea I would get to go back. I got to pet stray cats in ancient Roman ruins; could life get any better? It was a nice surprise and definitely lightened my mood.

After our ruins tour, we had reservations at Interno 92. Unfortunately, Mrs. Connolly had to leave Rome early to take care of some exciting news: Hofstra University will be holding the first presidential debate this coming September, making it Hofstra’s third presidential debate in a row! Professor Hillebrand mentioned that we would be eating raw meat, which I was totally excited about. It’s basically like sashimi, but from a cow, right? We started off with an array of appetizers: porchetta, roast beef with pineapple and balsamic and beef prepared with two different dressings. It was absolutely delectable. We each were able to order our own course and I ended up ordering steak with caramelized pears and a balsamic cream sauce, cooked rear. The sweet taste of the pears was paired beautifully with the sweet, but acidic taste of the balsamic. The steak was cooked to perfection, and the whole meal was absolutely mouth-watering. It was hands down one of the best steaks I have ever consumed. We finished dinner with fresh and juicy watermelon and a rich chocolate mousse. I think I was in food heaven Tuesday night.

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Steak and caramelized pears from Interno 92

After dinner, we headed back to St. John’s. I worked on our weekend plans with some people and others worked on homework. It is always nice coming back after a tiring day to relax and spend time with my new family.

A Hofstra Roman goes to Paris

by Ashley Iadanza

This past weekend was definitely in the top three best weekends of my life. The other two involve watching my younger sister winning her National Championship, and the weekend I spent in Amsterdam. This past weekend, as you could probably tell by the title, I got to go to Paris. I met up with a friend there and he showed me as much as he possibly could in the two days we had to spend with each other. We mainly passed by places, like the Louvre, the Notre Dame, etc. But my favorite part of the trip was when we went inside the Opera House. Yes, the very Opera House that The Phantom of the Opera is based off of. It was absolutely magnificent, and the actually house (where the audience sits) is so small in comparison to how extravagant the rest of the theater. We also went into the museum, Musee de l’Orangerie to look at Monet’s Water Lilies.

At the end of the day, I saw the landmark that I’ve been waiting to see since I was a child. I had been seeing the Eiffel Tower all day in the distance, but it wasn’t until the end of the day where I got to be right in front of it. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was absolutely gorgeous and I was in love. I changed as a person in that very moment, it was that magical of an experience.

On our last day we took it easy walking around and running into le Tour de France and passing by the Arc de Triumphe. I was so sad to be going back to Rome but I missed my fellow Romans a lot. Thursday saying goodbye and having actual distance from them is going to be rough. But I’m going to be enjoying my last couple of days with them.