Travel abroad with Xavier’s Center for International Education

By Brian Micucci, Guest Writer

For junior history major Helen Lilek, her favorite part of her study abroad trip last summer was seeing the Roman Colosseum.

Xavier offers many different study abroad opportunities for students to participate in. Lilek attended the Xavier in Rome program last summer. 

Xavier in Rome has been offered since 1997. The trip usually averages 36 students for a five-week immersion program in the summer.

“I’m an Italian minor. It was super fun to be immersed in the culture,” Lilek said.

As a part of the trip, Lilek received credit for ITAL 256, an immersive Italian language and culture course, and a physics class about the science of art and architecture.

She recalled an experience in which her class talked about the Colosseum in a lecture and then saw it in person the next day. Along with the Colosseum, they saw the Roman Forum, Herculaneum, Michelangelo’s “David” and St. Peter’s Basilica. The group also visited Pompeii, Florence and Venice. Lilek discussed the new friendships she made along the way and how she learned a lot about Italy throughout the entire experience. Her advice to potential study abroad candidates is to do it, even if you have the smallest opportunity.

Senior exercise science major Paige Wilson was also on the Rome trip as part of the art program. She cited Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” at the Uffizi Gallery as highlights of the trip. 

Wilson advised that someone wanting to study abroad should say yes to everything.

“Maximize your time. Don’t spend time just sitting around; seek things out, and do things that are fun,” Wilson said.

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Xavier offers international education opportunities, like Xavier in Rome, semesters in Peru and many others.

Bemni Amsalu, the international program advisor at the Center for International Education, noted that there are programs in more than 80 countries. 

Amsalu said students can participate in the spring, summer, fall and winter semesters. She added that there are two types of study abroad opportunities: ones led by Xavier faculty and ones led by one of Xavier’s partner programs. Both of these opportunities are open to all Xavier students.

“Don’t write off study abroad just because of your major or because you think that maybe the semester format or traditional format of study abroad won’t work for you. There’s a lot of variety in the types of places you can go,” Amsalu added.

When asked if there was a program or trip that stood out to her, Amsalu brought up Xavier’s partner program with the University of Minnesota Studies in International Development, which goes to Senegal, Thailand, and then various Latin American countries. 

For the first half of the semester, students can learn about local socioeconomic issues and culture. During the second half, students complete an internship in a local community. 

Though Lilek and Wilson traveled to Europe, the Center for International Education also offers trips to Peru, Namibia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Australia and other locations. Students seeking a semester or summer abroad should email or to learn more.

Additional students’ perspectives on the study abroad experience can be found via Instagram @XUInternational.