Rome, being the final city on our journey, holds a lot of sentimental value for me. It’s the city where we devoured the final lessons Europe had to offer and left our friends for the few short months until summer. After nearly a month of living and learning with the most inspiring individuals I have ever met, Rome felt like the perfect end to an amazing experience. How we tackled the city really was the embodiment of the all in mantra in my opinion. The whole group had to have been exhausted both physically and mentally by the time we got to Rome, and yet we pushed through that potential barrier and left it in the dust. We honed in on the lessons we were being presented and worked harder than ever to focus on the opportunity in front of us. We reunited with our groups from Berlin as almost a new group of people. We went from near strangers to best friends and it all culminated in Rome. With that said, here’s a little bit about Rome itself.
The physical city of Rome is a “lasagna” because of its many layers of history as our tour guide in the city kept saying. At first glance, you only see the most modern city with cars and technology and modern infrastructure. As you dig deeper though, a new image arises. Rome has layers and layers of history that have been built right on top of one another. This is incredibly apparent in the Roman forum where you can actually explore the ruins of the lower levels. Additionally, there are physical signs of the layers on the columns and buildings where it is clear that different generations of people have lived. We also got to experience this “lasagna” in the Basilica di San Clemente al Laterano, a basilica built on top of ruins dating back to Biblical times. Seeing these ruins up close and personal was a surreal experience. Fully comprehending the sheer time scale of the history of Rome is almost impossible for me, but being in the place where so many significant events took place definitely adds a new understanding.
The concept of Rome having hidden layers is similar to CR as a whole in a way. Upon first glance to most, CR is just a trip to Europe that a bunch of college kids and their chaperones take every year. Upon closer inspection and hearing Dr. P and the students who have experienced CR in the past talk about it though, you gain the sense that CR is something more than merely a trip. Everyone talks so passionately about the immense impact it has had on them as a person and the multitude of lessons they took away from the experience. The final layer of the CR lasagna is actually experiencing it for yourself. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my days.