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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Ransom

Student interview - A JFRC Resident Assistent

By Morgan Ransom - Opinion Editor

Thank you for coming and sitting down with me to chat a little bit. So go ahead and introduce yourself, your year, major, and how long you're staying all that.

Absolutely! Well, thank you for having me Morgan. My name is Joe Hammond. I am a junior. I'm at Loyola University Chicago, been here since mid-September. I want to say… the 16th is when I got here, and I'll be here until the first week of December and then I will and we'll head on back. It's been crazy so far. I mean, I love every minute of it.

What has your experience in Rome been like this far?

So, it's funny that you mentioned this because my mom actually went to the JFRC way back when she was in college. And so, growing up, she always told us about what Rome was like and how the way of life was how people were there.

So, I kind of had this image, this picture of what it was like, and you know, a lot of the stuff that she said was pretty accurate. But, it's just kind of like, more modernized than what she said. But it's been awesome. I loved, you know, just getting a new experience of the world because I was like a lot of us. We've all just been living in the same town for all of our lives. It's nice just to see a different way of life. To expand your horizons on the world. Just take it all in, and enjoy as much as you can.

Oh, I agree. So I know this semester is almost over, but how has your transition been back into in person classes? Because before this, we were in COVID. And instead of going to Chicago, we decided, yeah, sure. Let's go across the country to study abroad. Still in a pandemic. So, has that transition been for you, to explore a new country?

So, it's such a burden because I want to go out and to see as much as I can. But I gotta remember that I'm a student. And, yeah, that’s the way I was looking at it

When I was thinking about going abroad, I always wanted to, but, with COVID and everything... It really made me think, this is something that I really want to do but... the way I viewed this was, You know, we did have the last year kind of taking away from us.

We had that in-person contact taken away, but I wanted to go to a different country and just enjoy that as much as I can, you know? Like, yeah, the last year was totally unfortunate, and none of us were really planning on that happening. But, as a reward for going through that, was Italy. So that's, that's been super. That's been amazing. in-person of classes. It's nice… Getting back in the swing of things of how classes should be. You know, online classes... are online classes (Laughs).

But it's, it's been nice. Just being able to do things like to talk with your professor, because an email is just... it's not the same. It's just having a face to face conversation with someone. But… we only have two weeks left.We’ve got a little bit more time to travel. So I'm gonna have to travel a little bit but definitely study for finals.

Where are you going for Thanksgiving?

For Thanksgiving, me and a few people were going to Amsterdam so that all that'll be super fun. Very, very excited for that. I've heard it's totally beautiful. So I'm very excited to see that. It'll be really exciting.

So where have you traveled this semester? Which one has been your favorite?

So, I went on a weekend trip to Naples with a few friends early... I want to say first month of school, and that was fun.

I heard about the little fiasco.

(Laughs) Yeah, there was a little bit, but it was still good, just get out of Rome and just kind of go explore different cities. So we went to Naples, and then I want to say the mid semester break, I went on the JFRC student trip to Florence and Bologna. I have to say that trip has been my favorite. Mainly because Florence was such a beautiful city, and it was very similar to Rome, but it was very different and I just we all like it's so weird...

We all stay here in Rome, and we get used to it. And then, we go to another city, and it's the same thing, but it's just a new way of life. I just thought of Florence, I just really liked the art. It was just really amazing to see everything that they had. Yeah, it was really beautiful.

And you can't get over Dante's.

You can't, I will always miss Dante’s. (Laughs) It's so good. It's such a phenomenal restaurant.

So you’re an RA?

I am.

How has it been so far?

It's been good so far, you know, definitely very different from what it would be like in Chicago. And I remember my freshman year, what my RA was telling me and just how he dealt with things. I mean, obviously, things are very different over here. But... balancing everything. I think as a student, a tourist and as a student worker, tourist comes last. As much as I hate to say it, it comes last.

Obviously like school’s number one but, then as, as an RA, my second priority has to be like, caring for others around me.Whether it be helping them with their homework. Helping them and just making them feel like they can always come and talk to me about literally anything. That's what I'm here for.

You've been a very accessible alien as your resident. I'm glad to have you as my RA. And I feel like everybody on campus could definitely agree about that.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

So, what advice would you give to any incoming JFRC students?

I would recommend seeing as much as you can. Soak up the opportunity, because it's definitely something that you will never forget. You have this. We kind of had this perception of what Rome and Italy is like but it's not until we go over here and immerse ourselves in the culture and the way of life that it really gives us a greater appreciation for this country, and both for what we have back home. I just want to say, don't have any second thoughts. Just do something you want to do. While you're here, just go for it.

Just dive right in.

That's all you gotta do.

Joe Hammond, c. 2021

Interview by Morgan Ransom

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