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A journey from the Hilltop: Saint Anselm students arrive in Orvieto, Italy

Crier\Jessica Vaillancourt

Students Jessica Vaillancourt, Marissa DeAngelis, Mae Hunt, Thomas Case, Maria Benitz, Matthew McKeon, Nicole DeRoche, Joe Geraghty, Aileen Callahan, and JT Nichols visit Tarquinia, Italy.

Jessica Vaillancourt, Crier Staff

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Launched as a brand new program in the spring semester of 2016, Saint Anselm College students are now able to live and study abroad for three months in the small city of Orvieto, Italy.

Almost doubling in size since its launch, the group of Saint Anselm students in Orvieto has grown from an original 11 to a current 21. Although it is just beginning its second semester as a program, Saint Anselm’s ties to the ancient city of Orvieto have created a long-standing solid foundation that only exists to enhance the positive and rewarding aspects of choosing Orvieto as a study abroad destination.

Dr. David George of the Classics Department has been connected to the small hilltop city of Orvieto for the past 15 years through his work on archeological excavation projects in Orvieto. His experiences here have created a rich understanding of the culture and allowed for the development of meaningful connections with locals. As a result of his ties to Orvieto, Dr. George, along with Professor Linda Rulman of the Classics Department, have founded this newly offered study abroad program and its facilitators, assisting students in the planning process, class offerings, city tours, and weekly day trips to other cities in the region.

Unbelievably rich in history and cultural tradition, the city of Orvieto is a living, breathing manifestation of a college course in Pre-Roman and Medieval history. All the small streets are made of cobblestone, cafes and pizzerias can be found on any and every block, and an ancient Etruscan necropolis lies just a short distance from the hilltop. Orvieto is conveniently located within two hours of both Florence and Rome, and although its size is much smaller than either, there is far from a lack of things to see and do.

We have all officially reached the one-week milestone here in Italy, and the experience thus far has been nothing short of spectacular. Upon arrival, we went on a walking tour of the city led by Claudio Bizzarri, an Orvieto local and archeologist, which was followed up by a wonderful welcome dinner. Our first weekend was dedicated to unpacking, settling in, and exploring our new life here. Classes began on Monday, and Wednesday and Friday were spent visiting important historical sites in both Orvieto and the coastal town of Tarquinia.

Crier\Jessica Vaillancourt
A view of Orvieto Cathedral.

While we have only been in Orvieto for a week, the charm and beauty of the Italian culture and countryside (and food!) has made the transition from Saint Anselm Hilltop to Orvieto Hilltop so much more smooth and exciting. Currently enrolled student Nicole DeRoche ’18 describes this transition: “Even though I’ve only been here for a short period of time, being in a different country fully immersed in their culture has already given me a new outlook on life, and I know this is an experience I won’t soon forget!” Mae Hunt ’18 says her favorite parts of the program so far have been “exploring the town, visiting Tarquinia, and climbing to the top of the clock tower” and points out, “It has been so great being here with such an intimate group, because everyone is able to get to know each other quickly.”

From one hilltop to another: Arrivederci and buona giornata!

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The student news site of Saint Anselm College
A journey from the Hilltop: Saint Anselm students arrive in Orvieto, Italy