Loyola University Chicago Global Centers


Global Awareness. It's an essential part of the Loyola experience and one of the five characteristics of a Jesuit education. From opening the John Felice Rome Center in 1962 to becoming the first American university in Vietnam, we've established a wide global presence.

Our mission is to provide students with transformative education abroad experiences that equip them with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to engage societal problems – locally and globally – and to truly understand differing social and cultural realities. Each Global Center provides students with a unique, global perspective in the classroom, a diverse community of students, faculty, staff, and fully accredited Loyola University Chicago courses.

What are you waiting for? Make the extraordinary a reality at the Loyola University Chicago Global Centers!



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Yes, I recommend this program

It was great.

I absolutely loved being able to spend my freshman year abroad, which is an opportunity not usually granted by most universities. The staff was very helpful and supportive of not only my studies, but of all my learning and growth while I was abroad. It was a different first college experience in comparison to that of other students, but well worth it. I was able to explore Rome and learn the culture and language, as well as travel to other places on the weekends and breaks, giving me the chance to see new places and visit old friends. It was also a good fit for me because everything I needed was available on campus or somewhere close-by, but I could also go into the city if I wanted a different experience. The hustle & bustle of Rome is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I loved the on-site classes offered by the university. I can never eat gelato or a plate of pasta without thinking about my second home, which is what the JFRC became for me. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to explore on your own! Sometimes a solo trip is the best thing that you can do for yourself, especially if there's a specific place you want to go or if it is difficult to coordinate a trip with friends. You can do something as simple as taking a bus downtown, a train to Florence, or create an entire adventure. Just do your research, keep an eye out, and keep your attitude high. It sounds cheesy, but it's truly life-changing because of how much you learn that you can do on your own.
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Yes, I recommend this program

At Home in Rome

This was not my first time overseas, but it was my first time in Italy and in Rome. The food was great, the wine was great as well - and I am (was) not a wine drinker, and the people were very nice. Rome has quite a few things to see and do, and because it is a truly international city, one can find a small touch of home in various places and with certain activities. I found a touch of home at a beach party, an outdoor concert and a night club, as well as a record shop (yes, the place had vinyl records!) On the flip side, Rome is a big city, so there are also big-city problems such as traffic congestion and slow running busses. In spite of those things I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience and treated every day like a new adventure.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I took a bus thinking that I could get off at a specific Metro station. When the bus arrived at the bus stop I got off and made my way to the front of the Metro station only to see that it was closed for repairs. A souvenir shop was only a few feet away so I went window shopping, but eventually found some nice items for my friends. I then took a bus on the same route in order to figure out an alternate plan to get back tot eh JFRC and ended up getting off at a bus stop that was near another souvenir shop, and this one had some gear that I was going to search for the next day. I ended up getting two items since there was a special sale: 2 for 45 euro. The best part was that I remembered the location of the first souvenir shop so two days later I went back to that one and got a couple of caps to coordinate with the new gear.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Grazie Mille, JFRC!

I had an incredible experience studying in Rome for the summer, and I think a large part of that was due to the JFRC community. From the beginning of my exploration of the program to the day of my departure, I was impressed with the faculty and staff. It’s clear that they sincerely care about their students and want to do whatever they can to make each student’s experience one to remember. The campus was beautiful, and it’s location in the charming Balduina neighborhood helped me feel like I was really a part of the Roman culture. The classes that I took brought me out into the city of Rome, and getting to learn about this amazing place with knowledgeable professors allowed me to deepen my appreciation for this place. I loved my time in Rome and at the JFRC!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get to know Rome! Don’t be afraid to go out exploring or spend the weekend in the city!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Joe Lonardi Rome study abroad

I had a great experience. The advisors planned some really awesome trips with the class and took us to some great dinners. I got to see all of Rome thru my theology class. It was beautiful to see all the churches around Rome. I’m so thankful to have met the people I did and see the places I saw. I got to go to Malta, Naples, Venice, Florence, Verona, Pompeii, and of course Roma.

My only objection was with my European masterpieces. Since I was studying abroad, I wanted to see places in Rome. My theology class went above and beyond in achieving that. My Euro-masterpieces class did not leave the room once; making it a lot less inspiring.

All In all I had an amazing time and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Thank you!!
-Joey Lonardi

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advise to a future traveler is to budget your money and get off the beaten path. It is sometimes hard to do that, but when you do you find the best food and most interesting experiences. I dont even speak Italian and that was so much fun.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Program and Amazing Country

Going to Vietnam was amazing and a great experience! All of the staff in the program were very helpful and kind. I felt like I could go to them whenever I had questions about things. I enjoyed having professors that were from a variety of backgrounds so we could get multiple perspectives of Vietnam which I really enjoyed. I also enjoyed having a staff member that lived in the dorm with us. It was helpful since he could easily translate things between us and other local Vietnamese. It was also helpful when we went on trips throughout the program and he could translate and he also helped us with experiencing traditional foods. The trips we took as a program were fun too. I liked learning about different cultures and then traveling to those cultures. The culture in Southeast Asia was so different than culture in the US or even in Europe and that is partly why I chose this program. All the people in Vietnam were so welcoming and nice. Even when we did speak the same language, we made connections with local Vietnamese. I loved getting to know a different part of the world and its culture. Before going to Vietnam I knew almost nothing about that area of the world and while there I learned so much. I also learned things about the US which I wasn’t expecting. I learned about the perspective of America from the Vietnamese and from the other countries I visited. While abroad, I was able to connect with a couple of my classmates from my home college because they are international students from Vietnam. They gave me tips of things to do or places to see and I was able to experience their home country. It really helped my friendships with these Vietnamese students grow. I did not think I would fall in love with the country as much as I did. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I cannot wait to go back to Vietnam some day! For now I hope to inform my friends all about Vietnam and hopefully convince other people to visit the country!

What would you improve about this program?
One area that the program could improve on is communication with people who are coming in from schools other than Loyola. I am not a Loyola student and it made it a little more difficult for some things. I would have liked to have more information about things such as the different online programs used because I was not well informed. It was hard to figure out things such as Sakai and the email since I did not get much information before hand how to work them. I would have also like to have more details about the Loyola program and Vietnam, because the Loyola students seemed more prepared than me for what to expect. Another thing that could be improved was that we had midterms and then we had finals only a couple weeks after the midterms. It would have been better if we had more time between our finals and midterms because the last month or so was stressful for all our classes.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I had been overseas before, but never to Rome. I had already heard so many great things about Italy in general, so I was excited about the opportunity. Plus, several years earlier, I advised my younger cousin that, if a study abroad opportunity came to him, he should take full advantage of it; I had to follow my own advice since the opportunity was right in front of me.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I had already begun my own checklist of things that I knew I would want to have done prior to my departure for the trip. At the same time, I also relied heavily on the university's briefings. There was also an automated checklist which kept me right on track. As a result of that, there were no stones left unturned.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say to treat the entire program as one big adventure. I was in the program for five weeks and I would say that I had a total of five days where there was "nothing to report". Virtually every day something interesting happened that I found noteworthy enough to include in my day planner 'Daily Notes' page - and I don't keep a journal.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Class days run Monday through Thursday, so every weekend is a three-day weekend, which allows for independent travel throughout Italy or elsewhere in Europe. Since everyone takes only two classes, and each class meets twice a week, there is an abundance of time for studying and preparation each day. In my case, one of the two classes met every day, but I was still able to study and prepare because the professor made the class fun and engaging. There is also an abundance of opportunities for group activities through the week and on weekends.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Since I drew on my previous experiences of being overseas, I didn't really have any fears. However, I did have a couple of incidents where things didn't go as I would have liked them to. The way that I overcame the obstacles was to simply remain calm and remember that there would always be someone who was at least willing to try to help. Regardless of what the final outcomes would be, I could still say "I was in Rome for five weeks."

You said that travel broadens the mind and changes one's perspective. How has this trip to Rome affected you?

I really appreciate how the Italians really enjoy each other's company and I saw first-hand that the shops really do close for lunch. I also love the language and how certain words sound when the Italians speak it. I am now determined to master the language and master linguistics so that I could "code switch" to Italian the same way I am able to do with the British accent.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

David Schmidt

Job Title
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.
David Schmidt

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.

Professional Associations

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