Over spring break, a group of upper school Latin students traveled to Rome, Italy. More than a simple bonding trip, the ten-day visit aimed to enhance the study of Latin in both language and culture while pushing the students out of their comfort zones.
The travel-study was loaded with activities, many of which included the observation and examination of classic Roman architecture.
“My favorite part of the trip personally was when we went to Pompeii, because it was really cool to be in the old city,” Fifth Former Ben McComb said. “Another cool part was when we went to St. Peter’s [Basilica], and we went all the way up to the top of the dome.”
Visiting the historical structures gave the students a greater appreciation of just how magnificent ancient architecture can be.
“We visited a lot of really famous and really impressive monuments. Out of all of them, the one that stood out to me the most was the Pantheon,” Fifth Former Nolan McCloskey said. “It’s a massive structure, and it really makes every other building around it, even modern buildings, pale in comparison. It’s majestic and huge, and it was a great sight to see.”
As the group quickly learned, the statues were not there for spectacle alone, with each one containing a rich history and complexity.
“We also saw the statue of the boxer, which we had seen in class previously. It’s one of the first examples of Hellenistic art, and it’s really quite a masterpiece, so getting to see that up close was amazing,” McCloskey said. “I think that going to see all these amazing statues and monuments really helps to give you a sense of the time period, and what things would have been like, that you can’t get just by looking at a photograph.”
Another academic activity during the travel-study was one familiar to Latin students: translating.
“It was interesting to translate Latin that was actually there in the places. On the obelisks and other statues there were inscriptions that we got to translate, which was pretty interesting.”
Translating Latin in Rome itself provided a fresh variation on Latin class routines, and the students were able to appreciate the value of learning on-site.
“We were able to translate inscriptions that remained on the monuments or had been put next to the monuments, and that helped link these amazing structures and statues to all the historical moments that we’ve been learning about in class, in a way that’s impossible by just pulling it up on a Google Doc,” McCloskey said.
“Everybody got really into all the historical aspects of what we were doing”Nolan mccloskey ’24
Students returned home feeling fulfilled with the program and that the trip was worth the investment.
“It was a great time. Academically you learn a lot, but you also get to do it with your friends, which makes it more fun,” McComb said. “You get to see some pretty cool stuff while learning at the same time.”
It was a memorable ten days for the group, and many are hoping to see more school travel opportunities in the future, which may help to ignite some of the passion that drives an academic environment.
“I was surprised by how much all the students enjoyed the trip,” McCloskey said. “Everybody got really into all the historical aspects of what we were doing, and it really was a valuable educational experience for all of us.”