Students explore Italy during May Term

May Term 2014

George Williams College students had the unique opportunity to discover architecture and art of Italy’s most famous sites through May Term, one of many travel experiences offered to both GWC and Aurora University students.

The class visited Italy for three weeks where they explored Rome, Tuscany, Florence and the region of Umbria, while studying related literature and history through GWC’s Arts, Literature and Inquiry course. Taught by Dr. Meredith Harvey, the course investigated Medieval, Renaissance, Romanticism and Modernism movements, as well as early civilizations of the Romans and Greeks.

Students explored famous sites including the Vatican, the Colosseum, Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signori, Galleria Nazionale dell 'Umbria, Pompeii Theater and the Italian Rivera while experiencing hands-on activities including cooking classes, scavenger hunts and art experiences, bringing culture to life on location.

“I really enjoyed listening and learning about the Colosseum in Rome,” expressed AU criminal justice major Lindsay Anderson. “I also enjoyed visiting Pompeii and seeing how our culture has maintained the same characteristics and daily routines that were used in A.D. 79.”

Throughout the journey the group met with cultural experts who offered detailed tours and knowledge of historical sites. Artist Rosella Vasta spoke to the students about the significance of the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi and the art of painter Giotto. Students also met with Cristiano Fidani in Perugia’s seismic observatory to view an early seismograph created in 1751.

Traveling to Italy was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allowed me to study while being submerged in the culture,” said GWC social work major Cathy Scott. “Conversing with the locals provided more information than any textbook could offer.

Through May Term students are able to gain an understanding of the ways in which art and literature have personal, social, and cultural meanings to individual and collective identities.

“I could not be more pleased with the incredible experience I had in Italy,” said AU biology major Heather Young. “Being there was so surreal. I was in awe of how incredibly detailed all of art was, especially the Sistine Chapel. Learning the history behind the art really made me appreciate the pieces even more.”

For more information on May Term, visit