Studying at John Cabot University is an extremely rewarding experience. You will feel lucky every day waking up in the heart of Rome, but it will fly by. Before you know it you will be crossing the stage in your cap and gown, diploma in hand.
When I think back to that day in May 2015, it is all a blur to me. But at the same time, I remember it like it was yesterday. The JCU commencement ceremony was the perfect way to end my three years in Rome. It was exciting, bittersweet, and beautiful, and I couldn’t have asked for a better send-off as I entered the “real world” with my friends, peers, and classmates.
Here are just a few of the reasons I cherish my commencement experience:
1. The Sophisticated Atmosphere
At John Cabot an event is never just an event. What I mean by that is that when you attend a JCU ceremony or celebration, it goes far beyond a “regular” college experience. Instead of a graduation ceremony in a gymnasium, auditorium, or stadium, you will wave goodbye to your undergraduate years in a 17th-century villa. As you get dressed and prepare for the ceremony you will be surrounded by chandeliers, luxurious columns and marble floors, and stunning works of art. You will enjoy an Italian-style aperitivo, and you will have the chance to grab a glass of prosecco with your favorite professors while celebrating with family and friends. I absolutely loved the sophisticated and classy atmosphere of every JCU event I ever attended, particularly my commencement ceremony.
Most people dream of a vacation in Rome. Luckily for your friends and family, coming to your graduation is the perfect excuse to make that dream come true. I remember how excited I was to have my parents and grandpa in “my” city. Not only did they get to see the beauty of Rome, but they got to walk the streets I walked every day, explore Trastevere, and get to know the JCU campuses. On top of all of that, they were able to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and setting of the Villa Aurelia where graduation took place. It was also amazing having my sister, Nicole, visit during that time. She also graduated at that very same spot in 2012, so attending my graduation was like a déjà vu for her. In her own way she got to relive her amazing time in Rome, reminiscing on her JCU days and commencement, but this time she got to bring her husband along with her.
3. The Beautiful Setting
Not only is the atmosphere unique, but the setting itself is also one to remember. I still recall walking up the hill from my Trastevere apartment to get to the villa on that warm May afternoon. As I arrived, I had a moment where I thought to myself, “Is this really my life?” After we rehearsed the ceremony, we all sat together in the gardens while the staff were still setting up the tables and chairs. When I look back at pictures I can’t help but notice the perfectly landscaped flowers and trees in the gardens. But most of all, I will never forget the view overlooking the rooftops of the Eternal City: my city.
If I could go back and do it all again, I would.
Alexa Vujaklija (Shearer)
Class of 2015
Grew up in the United States, Germany, the Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria