How Holy Cross Made My Maymester

While going on a vacation to Rome is an amazing trip, going with Holy Cross on Maymester has provided opportunities I would have never gotten any other time. 

 I am one to have major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and our professors made sure we covered everything from ancient sites to museums to traveling exhibits. At the end of the trip I felt I had done everything Rome offered, and the program was able to take away the stress of figuring out tickets and timing. 

More than just covering everything, I felt each site we visited was explored in depth. We learned about the site a little in class and would read about it, but Professor Seider and Professor Martin would take us in small groups through the site and teach us right there. Having Roman history taught right at the place where it happened gave our lessons a greater impact and helped me to understand why each site was important. I feel that I could not have learned this way back in a classroom, and that the best way to truly learn Roman history is being in Rome.

Me, Cassandra, Bridget, Smarika in Venice

Beyond just a history class we also learned a little bit of conversational Italian, and by the end of the first week we could order gelato in Italian. Our Italian teacher also had us at her house for an Italian cooking class. Learning on Maymester is more than just academics, it’s about having engaging experiences. Holy Cross makes sure that each student gets to have this, and also gives free time to go out on our own too.

On our visit to Hadrian’s Villa we were greeted by a Holy Cross alum who was working there as an archaeologist. She was so proud to have other Holy Cross students visit, so she took us to an active archaeology site where we watched as other archaeologists worked to uncover never before seen rooms. It was incredible to watch them work, and she explained the work they did there, what they were currently discovering, and how she got to the job she is in today.

My roommates and I (Trishala, Minke, Bridget, Me, Smarika, Cassandra)

Before going on this trip I knew no one else, but my five roommates and I were all in the same position. All coming from Holy Cross made getting to know each other easy, and we would often talk about our favorite classes, the best dorms, or shared experiences there. We got so close to each other in such a short time, having backpacked across Italy and explored Rome together. The small community of Holy Cross made this possible, and I am so happy I will see them again in the fall.

Finally, Professor Martin and Professor Seider were the perfect leaders for this trip. Together, their extensive knowledge on the sites we visited and Rome combined with their understandable explanatory style in class made learning Roman history easy. We felt comfortable to ask them any questions about the sites we visited and they answered right away or got back to us after investigating the answer. They spent the time to really get to know each of us and cared about how we were doing, and gave great suggestions on other places to visit. Professor Martin was quick to point out interesting facts that expanded upon what we were seeing, and Professor Seider led us on side trips if we were up for the extra adventure. They were an amazing duo we all were privileged to get to know and have taught us this course, and I would definitely recommend taking Maymester with them.

This has been a life changing trip, and my education and worldview has been completely transformed. If you ever have the opportunity to go on Maymester to Rome– go for it! I promise it will be one of the best experiences at Holy Cross.


Saint Peter’s Basilica at sunset
Villa d’Este


Church of Gesu Ceiling
All of us Maymester students at dinner (Photo creds to Tolu)

Why I Chose Maymester and Why You Should Too

Hello everyone, greetings from Worcester! Less than month left until I leave for Rome, and I wanted to share about how I got involved in the Maymester program.

First off, what is Maymester?

It is one of the study abroad options Holy Cross offers each year for students, where for about a month in May you study in a foreign country. There is a variety of different places from England to India so there is always somewhere new to travel. Or if you are looking to return somewhere you get the bonus experience of taking a summer class taught by professors from Holy Cross. You live with a group of other Holy Cross students too so you can still get that sense of being in a group while traveling independently.

Why I chose Maymester in Rome

Early when I first was looking at colleges I was thinking of what kind of opportunities each could connect me with. I’ve always been interested in adventures in foreign countries, but I did not think I would be able to study abroad my Freshman year. Holy Cross is the only school I looked at that offers a summer study abroad to all class years so I was thrilled when I learned I could participate.

There are so many program options to choose from, and I chose Rome In History and Imagination. As a Biology major on the pre-med track I know I have tons of science courses to look forward to, but I felt I wanted to do some exploration in history in a country I’ve never been before. And what better way to learn Roman history and art while being exactly where it happened? We’ll learn about the Colosseum or St. Peter’s Basilica or any one of the sites while we are standing in the middle of it all. That is an experience every student should have.

So why else should you participate in Maymester?

With busy class and sports schedules, a lot of students worry that they won’t have time to study abroad for a whole semester or year. Holy Cross gives the chance to study abroad during the summer and fulfill a class requirement so you gain a memorable experience while lightening the class work.

Also, these Maymester programs are taught in English so you can study abroad without knowing the native language, unlike the semester or year programs.

The best part is that you have the chance to fully immerse yourself in a culture for a whole month without feeling like you are too far from home because you have the support of other Holy Cross students and professors.

So if you love to travel, want to experience another culture, love history (or the arts or social justice or any of the classes offered), then Maymester is the perfect opportunity for you.


For now I’m finishing up the spring semester, but in the meantime I look forward to eating a lot of delicious gelato!