Nicole DiCamillo: My Study Abroad Semester in Rome

girl sitting in from of monumental roman architecture

In our “Semester in Rome” series, students in the St. John’s University study abroad program share their life-changing experiences, focusing on how the program has impacted their personal growth and paved the way for a bright and promising future.

About Nicole DiCamillo's journey: 

Nicole DiCamillo is a St. John’s junior working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Art and Design at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She currently studies on the University’s Rome, Italy, campus and is passionate about creating and sharing art with the world on her artist Instagram, @artbynik.

Q: What inspired you to join the study abroad program? 

I have always felt drawn to Italy because of my family’s roots. My grandparents are from a small town south of Rome. They have always been inspirational to me as the kind of person I’d like to become. Through studying abroad, I intend to return to the Queens, NY, campus with countless new perspectives and ideas and an understanding of myself, my family, and the world.

Q: How has studying abroad helped you explore your passion for art? 

As a young artist, I cannot imagine a better place for me to be at this moment than in the Eternal City. Living in Rome has allowed me to witness some of the greatest masterpieces of art and architecture. I have traveled across Italy and some other places in France and Spain in search of these masterful creations that transcend time. Studying the works of those who came before me has provided me with immense motivation for my art going forward.

Q: What is your favorite part of studying in the city of Rome, and why? 

Each day here in Rome has been a journey of exploration and discovery. With all these wonderful experiences comes the desire to understand. My goal is to be fully attentive and observant and to soak in every moment of my limited time here at this moment in my life.

Every day I interact with these magnificent forms of art, even without stepping foot in a museum. When I do get the chance to visit museums, I am completely in awe and filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be in the presence of such mastery. The devotion of these artists— not only to mastering the arts but to the love of God—fills me with inspiration. With all this overwhelming beauty, I could respond with my own creative approach through art making. 

Q: Can you share your favorite nonclassroom experience(s) so far through the program? 

I love to explore the vastness of art and history at my disposal when in Rome. Upon every corner turned, there is something that can be studied and pondered. Some of my favorite days have been spent wandering aimlessly and following the direction of whatever evokes my curiosity. I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to see as much as I can of the city, with the intention of truly soaking in and appreciating every moment that I have here. I greatly appreciate Italian culture and the language, which has fueled my love for Rome even further. 

Q: How do you believe studying abroad has impacted your personal growth and development?

Studying abroad has challenged me in many ways that have helped me grow and transform as an individual. Aspiring to become fluent in Italian someday has challenged me to overcome my fear of failure. The beginning of the semester was difficult for me because of my doubts about my abilities. It has taken time and patience with myself to build the confidence to keep trying, even when I feel like I’m not yet at the level I want to reach. 

Additionally, planning travels to other places in Italy, France, and Spain has challenged me to become more organized, timely, and thoughtful. I strived to be intentional with where I chose to go and spend my time beyond Rome throughout the semester.

Q: Why would you recommend the St. John’s study abroad program to another student?

I would recommend the St. John’s study abroad program to any student searching for a learning opportunity that goes well beyond the classroom. The adventure is a challenge that may provide incredible, eye-opening experiences if one is open to them.

Studying abroad is a great way to get students out of their comfort zone and to become more aware of all that is out there to see in the world. From my experience in Rome, the campus is an excellent location to study abroad. Located in the beautiful district of Prati, many places of interest are within walking distance, serving as a great place to explore the city.

The campus does a great job at organizing events for students to travel to amazing places throughout Italy. I have always felt so grateful to have the opportunity to go on these beautiful trips on the weekends. They also offer a variety of tours and cooking classes throughout the semester that are fun and educational. 

Explore the world with St. John’s University.

Johnnies in Rome pose for a photo with St. John's banner

Imagine immersing yourself in a new and exciting culture, learning a new language, and gaining valuable experience while earning college credits. You can do just that with St. John’s University’s global program! This program is an extraordinary opportunity for you to broaden your horizons and explore the world meaningfully. Participating in this program allows you to experience a completely different way of life, meet new people, and gain a deeper appreciation of cultural diversity.

Learn more about the St. John's study abroad program