One of my favorite things about John Cabot University is the international community you take with you. When I graduated and went off into the world, I had no idea that so many alumni friendships would follow. I knew I would keep in touch with my close friends and roommates, but I wasn’t aware of the global connections that would be made. I now understand that attending JCU means being a part of a worldwide network: it means that no matter how far you go, your world will quickly become much smaller.
JCU students are global citizens. This means that when they leave Trastevere to enter the “real world,” they most likely will continue to travel. Even if they move back to their home countries or cities, they tend to keep an international lifestyle.
In fact, it doesn’t matter what city I find myself in: I am always bound to run into a fellow JCU graduate. But JCU alumni don’t just regularly run into each other. We call each other up when we’re in town, meet for coffee, and even help each other out with personal and professional projects.
From Roommate to Best Man
One unique example of a JCU friendship that has stood the test of time is that of my husband, Lazar, and his friend Filip. They met in Rome, and started spending time together along with some of the other Serbian students at John Cabot. Eventually they became roommates when they we were working as Resident Assistants together in the Viale di Trastevere Apartments. Fast forward a couple of years, and there Filip was, attending our wedding in Florida as Lazar’s best man.
It was great to have him–along with several other close friends from John Cabot–play a meaningful role on the most important day of our lives. At the time, Filip was still living in Rome and working at JCU as the Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life. As a wedding gift, he decided to surprise us with a trip to Rome a few months after the wedding. The first trip that Lazar and I got to take as a married couple was back to the very city where we met; the city that changed everything. We enjoyed our time strolling the streets of Trastevere, hanging out in the Gianicolo Residence with Filip, and truly reliving the “glory days” of the most unforgettable years of our lives.
But our friendship with Filip didn’t stay in Rome. Within the next few months, he decided to move back to his hometown of Novi Sad, only a one-hour drive from Belgrade. That means we got to take another fun little trip last year: this time, to a quaint Serbian city. We spent a nice summer day there, walking around and enjoying the outdoor cafes.
A couple of months ago, Filip accepted a job in Belgrade, entering a new chapter of his life. And what started years ago as two roommates in Rome became an international, lifetime friendship. Lazar and I meet Filip every Saturday morning for coffee. We talk about our week, discuss everyday nuances of life in Serbia, walk around the city, reminisce about old friends, and discuss future plans and ideas. Every time we meet, we remember the many Saturdays–just like these–spent sitting in the sun sharing coffee at Café Settimiano, right next to John Cabot University. We proudly continue the tradition started so many years ago, and hope that our fellow JCU alumni around the world are doing the very same thing in their own cities.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria