Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Mason, Class of 2012

I still remember my first trip to Rome. I was a junior in high school on a quick family vacation and I completely fell in love. It became clear to me that one day I had to live there. I had no clue how, or when, but it was right then and there that I decided I would be back.

To my luck, I found John Cabot University when I was applying to colleges a year later. A JCU admissions representative was at the college fair at my high school in Moscow, and as soon as I started talking to her, I realized that John Cabot was the path I could take to make my dream of living in Rome a reality.

My time in Rome ended up being better than I could have ever imagined. I wrote the following poem in an attempt to capture my experience and relationship with not only friends and the JCU community, but also with the city itself.


Stand on the bridge—STOP. Listen.
Sounds, Sirens, Swears.
This chaos—is it noise? No, it is our serenade.
Rome sings to us, calls to us:

“Here’s to this family we have created.
Here’s to new beginnings.”

Thoughts overwhelm. Feelings overcome.
Who are we? Where are we going?
What will we become?

Rome-home. She holds us together.
She is our mother, our lover.
All-knowing, she protects us—a witness to our rise and fall.
She will always be—and so, too, will we.

This city (this life)—it is beautiful.
Take it all in, but not for granted.
Upon her legacy, we leave our mark:

“Here’s to this family we have created.
Here’s to new beginnings.”

Forge a lasting image,
The world as we see it, through the keyhole.
A new door opens…

Rome. Sweet, sweet Rome.
Renew our hope, take us home.


Nicole Mason (Shearer)
Class of 2012
International Affairs Major
Grew up in The United States, France, Germany, The Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria

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