NORTH CANTON, Ohio: December 11, 2013–– Pope Francis accepted a handmade, heart shaped card from Walsh University students studying in Rome on Wednesday, December 11, 2013; the same day he was named as Time magazine’s ‘man of the year’.
The students and Walsh University faculty and staff were in attendance in the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. “We got there very, very early at six a.m. in order to get a good spot where we knew the motorcade would pass by. The Pope stopped in front of us and one of his guards saw our sign, he asked if we wanted to give it to the Pope, and we did,” said Director of Student Life, Rome Campus, Michael Cinson. The Pope read the card and kept it. The card was signed with well wishes on the front by all the students in the Rome study program and had a letter on the back asking him to join the students for dinner at their residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Castle Gandolfo is also the home of the Pope’s summer residence.
Walsh University students Giovanna Rion (of Dover, Ohio) and Kathleen Wagner (of Akron, Ohio) designed the card. The student group left for study abroad in Rome on October 25, 2013 and will return on December 20, 2013. As part of Walsh University’s Global Learning program six student trips to Rome are scheduled yearly. These ‘Rome Experience’ trips support the Walsh University commitment to educating its students to become leaders in service to others with a global perspective.
The once-in-a-lifetime Walsh Rome Experience turns Rome, the Eternal City, into a literal classroom for the study of Italian language history, art, culture, literature and archaeology. Classes are held on the Walsh Campus in Castel Gondalfo each morning. Each afternoon different experiences in Rome become the students’ textbook. For example, students study Cicero's speeches from the very Rostrum from which the great orator addressed the crowds, the history of Christianity in the shadows of Saint Peter's Basilica, and art by walking the streets of Renaissance Rome or by filling up water-bottles from one of Bernini's magnificent Baroque fountains.
In addition students enjoy weekend excursions to Italy's other great cities to enjoy Renaissance paintings in Florence, relaxing on the beaches of Naples, exploring the ruins of ancient Pompeii, or floating in a gondola through the canals of Venice. Other study abroad experiences available to Walsh University students include Uganda, Tanzania, England, and South Korea.
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