JCU Wasn’t Built in a Day

When I first heard about John Cabot University ten years ago, I was immediately intrigued. I was a freshman in high school, and my older sister had just applied as a degree-seeking student. To receive an American bachelor’s degree, while living and studying in Rome, sounded like such a great opportunity to me. It almost felt too good to be true. I couldn’t wait to hear all about my sister’s wonderful adventures and what the university was really like.

First Impressions

Once she enrolled and moved to Rome, she told me all about the two campuses that made up JCU at the time, Guarini and Tiber, and what it was like to live in the only residence–the Viale di Trastevere apartments. A few months later, I got to see JCU for myself. While traveling to France with my family, we had a long layover in Rome, so we took a bus into the city to have lunch with my sister. She walked us around Trastevere, showed us her apartment, and gave us a little taste of what her daily life looked like.

A couple of years later, I went back to Rome–this time for more than a few hours. One of my best friends and I decided to visit on our spring break. We stayed with my sister in her off-campus apartment and got to live like college students for the week. It felt so cool to live like a local instead of being just a tourist in one of the most famous and beautiful cities in the world. In a way, we really felt like we got to experience an insider’s view of this wonderful city.

A Growing Campus

But… what stuck out to me the most on that trip was how much JCU had grown in such a short amount of time. We had lunch in the newly opened Tiber Cafe, and we heard about the brand new Gianicolo Residence that would soon be housing students. And just by meeting some of my sister’s friends, I got to see how the student body was growing, and how many nationalities were represented.

John Cabot University

It was only a year later that I, myself, applied to study at John Cabot University. And when I showed up at the front door of the Gianicolo Residence in Fall 2012, I already felt at home. It was such a unique experience to watch this university flourish and grow into an even better place. Before my very eyes, I saw the campus expand and the buildings develop, not to mention the unique community of students from all over the world who had come together. I felt like I had a backstage pass into my school’s history before my first day had even started.


Years after graduating, moving across the world, and getting married, I couldn’t be prouder to be a JCU Alumna. It is a thriving, multicultural university that is growing more and more every year. Today, I can go back and visit not only two but three campus buildings: Tiber, Guarini, and Critelli. In just a few years I have seen the development of a brand new library, office spaces, residences, off campus housing, labs and studios, and more. I cant wait to see what my beloved university will conquer in the next few years. As they say…Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Communications major
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria

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