Ending (& Beginning) with a Bang

Hey there blog readers!!! My name is Cooper Gollier and I am absolutely THRILLED to say that I am one of the 18 people lucky enough to be going on Cultural Routes 11 this summer. If I’m being honest, blogging is the aspect that enticed me the least about CR seeing as I am a terrible speller (full disclosure, I’ve spell-checked three words thus far… try and guess which ones) and putting my thoughts into eloquent words worthy of a public audience is about the most daunting task imaginable to me. There’s a reason I’m a STEM major. But part of the point of CR is to push us outside of our comfort zones, so here goes nothing!

Today I will be writing to all of you about the last destination of our experience, Rome. A place where the catch phase “when in Rome” will come out of my mouth way too often. I’m sorry in advance. To write my first blog about the last city seems a bit counterintuitive to my analytical brain, but I suppose if you are going to end with a bang, you might as well start with one too.

When I asked past CR members to share their favorite experiences in Rome I heard recollections of beautiful artwork, incredible fountains, and even moving stories of new-found faith in Catholicism. While their favorite activities varied widely from person to person, the one common thread that they all spoke of is the increased depth in friendships that they had developed by this point in the experience. They all deemed the most valuable aspect of Rome not to be the city itself but the people that they got to share it with. When you think about it, the six days we will spend in Rome isn’t that long to get to know someone. But the incredible thing about this city is that we will have already had twenty days to begin to understand the other 17 people that we are travelling with. Not to mention, Rome is the most beautiful backdrop to continue to build on the relationships that the previous cities laid the foundation for. Talk about ending with a bang.

While I can’t wait to see the paintings that I’ve read about in real life, what I am most excited for is to really get to know the people I will be standing alongside as we take in the beauty of Rome. CR 11, I am ecstatic to learn from you and grow with you. I know that each of you has something valuable to bring to the table and I couldn’t imagine a better group to embark on this adventure with. I am not only looking forward to our last six days in Rome, but also to all of our twenty-six days exploring Europe together. And maybe, just maybe, we will have mastered the art of creating a scintillating ending to our blogs by the time we get there.

All my love,


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