Study in Rome this summer
By Kristen Torres | Student reporter
Hugo Sevilla Gomez, S.J., already has an impressive resume: priest, theologian, philosopher, and educator. But that hasn’t stopped him from going back to school and pursing yet another degree.
Gomez is a student in the School of Education’s EdD program in Administration and Supervision. Through the school, he’s spent the past two summers studying in Rome.
Gomez, who hopes to teach low-income students after earning his graduate degree, enrolled in the program for the first time in 2014.
“I believe experiential learning is not only in service, but in experiences with others,” he said. “Rome was so important for education in western civilization, so I thought, as an educator, that would be a real opportunity to transform my own life.”
After studying in Rome in the summer of 2014, Gomez was invited back in 2015 to be a teaching assistant.
“The first year I went, I made sure to finish all of my readings for the two weeks before I left,” Gomez said. “I was so excited about visiting Rome, I wanted most of my time to be spent doing things and visiting historical sites.”
The School of Education’s two-week summer program in Rome offers three graduate-level classes, all with a strong focus on social justice. Participating students stay at the John Felice Rome center.
“I urge students to imagine themselves sitting on the Colosseum on fallen pillars and learning about educational systems that have been replicated since antiquity–students actually learn in the city itself,” said John P. Dugan, PhD, associate professor in the School of Education. “The program takes traditional classroom objectives and couples it with an opportunity to deeply know Rome.”
The program requires students to be in class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, leaving the weekend in between free for travel and personal excursion. Students who complete the program gain three graduate credit hours.
Leaving his hometown in Colombia to pursue a doctoral degree in Chicago, Gomez experienced a sense of vulnerability that was foreign to him.
“We don’t talk about race groups back home like we do in America. Coming here was my first experience of belonging to a minority group,” Gomez said. “I loved being with my classmates in a different environment, where we all felt vulnerable and fragile—we were all struggling with the new environment. We faced the culture together and it really brought us together.”
The experience Gomez gained in Rome was invaluable to his studies, and he urges eligible graduate students to take advantage of the program.
“If we want to enact leadership in people, we need to help them experience different cultures, languages and traditions,” Gomez said. “We can’t teach diversity when we are living in a very homogenous population.”
Get more details about studying in Rome—including application information—at the summer program website.