I graduated from John Cabot over three years ago and still to this day I find myself missing Rome. After talking with several fellow graduates, whatever phase of life we are in now, one thing we can all agree on is that we miss Rome.
Living in Trastevere, attending John Cabot University, and calling Rome “home” gave us all so much. It enhanced every aspect of our lives: we grew academically, personally, and creatively. We were inspired to go forward and carry this experience with us. In other words, while JCU enhanced every aspect of our lives, it also spoiled us, because nothing will ever compare to the pure bliss of living in Rome and being a part of such a wonderful international community.
When I’m feeling especially nostalgic, I often daydream of going back to Rome, and I wonder what it would be like if I were there right now. Sometimes I eat my favorite pasta dish, or I listen to Italian music, or I watch movies and documentaries about Rome. But I’ve found that the most rewarding thing to do when I miss Rome is to get together with fellow JCU alumni!
This past week a fellow graduate, Dareen Al-Rashid, from Saudi Arabia, was in Belgrade where I live, visiting some of her Serbian friends. My husband and I spent the whole day with her, catching up and showing her around the city. We decided that it would be fun to have a little impromptu JCU reunion right here in Belgrade with some of the alumni in town. There were only five of us, but as we chatted and reconnected with each other we realized that we represented four different graduating classes of JCU: 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016.
We all represented different phases of our beloved university. Some of us knew each other better than others, some of us didn’t even overlap at JCU, but had still met various times. Some of us saw each other every day in Rome, and some of us didn’t interact much with each other. But none of that mattered. What mattered is that we all shared one thing in common: our time in Rome will always be special to each one of us, individually, and together as a whole.
We have all grown. We have moved on. We are all either invested in our careers, or trying to figure out our next big step. But one things unites us: we can sit at a table together, after two, three, or four years of not seeing each other… and we have something to talk about. We reminisce, joke, laugh, and discuss matters we all understand so well. We enjoy the nuances of a life and a shared past that so few can truly understand. We can catch each other up on our lives, and then we can all say goodbye. And in four years it will be exactly the same.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria