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)