Postcard from a philosophy student abroad
MaryKate Bruek, a junior majoring in philosophy and anthropology as well as minoring in bioethics, reflects on her experiences studying abroad this semester at the John Felice Rome Center.
As a student abroad in Rome, Italy, I’ve had amazing experiences that have allowed me to grow, both personally and academically. This opportunity has given me the ability to explore the world and its history, from taking a trip to Sicily to traveling across Europe to going on a pilgrimage to nearly every important Roman church in my Catholicism course.
I am currently writing you from Athens, Greece, where I’ve travelled for the weekend. I am going to see the Acropolis and many of the other famous sites, but I’m most excited to see Plato's Academy and the caves where (allegedly) Socrates was held prisoner. It’s really inspiring to be in the place where my course of study began, reflecting on those who most greatly impacted the art and discipline of philosophy. Before traveling abroad I would have never imagined coming here, but studying in Rome has opened up so many doors. Now, here I am, traveling through some of the most historical and influential cities of all time.
One thing that I’ve noticed is the sincere appreciation for philosophy among many Italian people. Each time I introduce myself as a Philosophy major, I’m greeted with "Che Bella!" (how beautiful) or "Bene!" They immediately ask me a series of questions, sparking some of the most memorable conversations I've had. Italian culture seems to really value the humanities and the arts, and I’ve found a new appreciation for the importance of philosophy within our education system and the world at large.
Rome will be very difficult to leave. My time here has been an incredible journey that I will never forget. I have learned more about the world, my professors, my friends, and myself than I could ever have imagined. Being abroad has given me the opportunity to reflect on my education and vocation, allowing me to move forward, confident with my decision to pursue a degree in philosophy. I cannot wait to return to Loyola with the knowledge and experience I have gained from my months abroad, and I know that my education will greatly benefit from it.