Staff Spotlight: David Schmidt

Assistant Director of Admission, John Felice Rome Center Recruiter


David studied abroad in Madrid as an undergraduate and taught English in Bavaria for a year after graduating. He's a firm believer in trying anything once.

What is your favorite travel memory?

While studying abroad in Spain, I went camping with a friend in a rural part of Galicia, on Spain's Atlantic coast. We had planned to bring what we could and rent the rest on-site, but failed to notice that the official camping season had concluded the weekend before we got to the site, and the campground was closed.

While we had plenty to eat, we didn't have tents or sleeping bags and so slept in all of our clothes under the stars in a sheep pasture down the road from the campsite. The farmer (whose permission we had to sleep on his land) brought us coffee the next morning and laughed with (at?) us.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

The emphasis on social justice at Loyola, and in particular at the JFRC, guides so much of what students can do while in Rome. It's so heartening to work with students who prioritize volunteering in our local community and in greater Rome alongside the education, great meals, travel, and sightseeing that is inherent in any program abroad.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One student told me about her time spent volunteering at an urban farm in Rome where one of our faculty members is launching a small-scale agricultural program. She was the only non-Italian working at the farm, and so got the chance to work on her language skills and gain experience as an entrepreneur and urban ecologist. Not a bad way to spend your weekends!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I'd love to do one of our Summer Fusion programs. It's a chance to do some pretty excellent hands-on learning alongside faculty who know their subject matter front and back. Plus, they let students see Rome and other parts of Italy-- allowing for a broader context and the adventures that come with hitting the road with your classmates and professors.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We don't easily fit one category. Our students live on campus, but take advantage of opportunities to volunteer and intern with organizations in Rome and the Vatican to get a local experience in Rome. We're also in a neighborhood, so it feels less like being on vacation and more like living like a local abroad.

Our staff and faculty in Rome do such a tremendous job of helping students navigate the difficulties and cultural differences that they may encounter. I feel confident telling students that they'll be supported while abroad.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We have at our core as an institution that the aim of education is to serve the greater good. The JFRC provides an experience - through classes, internships, co-curricular experiences, and community - that lets students see the world through a new lens, and appreciate the growth that can come with that. With that guiding principle, we can always improve while simultaneously knowing how to provide students with that experience.

An organization that defines its purpose clearly and keeps that at the forefront of its goals and development can be successful.