No Textbook Matches Seeing Things in Person


Boyd Hayley ’17 –  First, I would like to thank anyone who made this trip possible for me, including my parents and the staff at Wabash College. It was  an amazing trip. Today specifically we started out by going to the column of Trajan and doing some in depth analysis of the different panels as it went up. In class we talked about the location and it was very interesting to see the actual monument and not just see it in a book. Seeing the column of Trajan was important for me because later in the day I presented on the column of Marcus Aurelius which as I learned in my readings has very specific ties to the column of Trajan.

Later in the day we headed up to the campus martius to see the Horologium, ara pacis, and I got to give my presentation on the column of Marcus Aurelius. Actually going to the campus martius was so eye opening because in my classical Roman classes I always end up either writing a paper or giving a presentation on something in the campus martius. To see how all the monuments fit together and the ideas that they bring up is something you can only do in Rome, I don’t think I would understand them as well as I do now if I hadn’t have been able to go on this trip. It was a good first trip outside of the United States and truly an experience I will not soon forget.

 Nolan Fenwick ’17 – On Thursday our group went on top of the Capitoline Hill to go inside and look at the ancient artifacts that were at the Capitoline Museum.  Inside we saw many works of Roman art, including the colossus of Constantine.  The utter size of this monument was truly mesmerizing and thinking about all it would have taken to create such a behemoth is rather awesome.  Across from that were the reliefs from the Hadrianeum, each relief representing a different province that was located within the Roman world.  It was educational to witness how many Romans pictured the different regions of Rome and how they were understood as a culture to the rest of society.

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius stood glinting inside, with just enough gold left on it to show its power.  It was very large and foreboding to be underneath of it.  The statue stood as a symbol of strength and power and it was easy to see why it was seen this way.  The Statue of Commodus portrayed as Hercules was very cool.  It was so well preserved that the marble still shined bright.  The amount of detail that was included was truly staggering.  Afterwards a large portion of us decided to attend the Lazio vs Dnipro soccer match.  It was the first professional soccer match for many of us and was considered to be a cool experience.  The crowd was small though because the Lazio fans are upset with the president of the club and were boycotting attending the match.  All in all it was another very exciting day in Rome.

Onward to Ostia

Blog4Nick Gwinn ’17 – Our trip to Ostia was one of my favorite parts of the trip because the ruins were so open to walk through and explore compared to other places on this trip. The ability for us to explore the ancient port city really put the way cities laid out and how the Romans lived in perspective. Seeing the buildings such as the fullery, the bar and the theater with the portico behind it allowed us to imagine how some of the hang out spots in Rome may have looked like but on a smaller scale. For example, I imagined the theater in Ostia was a lot like the Theater of Pompey because of the permanent stone theater and the portico behind it.

Another thing that I thought was extremely cool was the road to actually get into Ostia was the actual road from Roman times. We saw so many times in Rome that buildings were built on top of each other, but these roads were the real ones and the fact we could still see the wheel ruts from the thousands of carts that carried various materials and supplies was simply fascinating.

Colosseum Lives Up to Expectations

For many students a visit to the Roman Colosseum proved to be a big highlight.

For many students a visit to the Roman Colosseum proved to be a big highlight.

Dylan Mayer ’17 –  After visiting the Forum Romanum, we visited the place that I have dreamed about since I was 6 years old, the Colosseum. Since the moment that I heard Russel Crowe shout his powerful line “Are you not entertained?” I knew that I needed to visit the Colosseum in Rome before I was too old. Even being able to just walk up to it and see how massive it really is places everything you’ve ever seen into perspective. Knowing as you walked into this circular arena that there were people who died here fighting others or even animals created a somber mood in my heart, but it didn’t diminish my excitement one bit.

As I stepped through the entryway out into the open for the first time, I finally saw one of my childhood dreams come true. When you enter the Colosseum, I also was able to see and understand all of the things that we had talked about in class leading up to this trip, such as understanding the layout. In the Colosseum, there are numbered entry arches, which when entered (with a ticket labeled with the number of an arch), would take you to wherever you were supposed to be seated. The higher class or prominence that you were, the closer to the floor you were able to be. While we were there, some of us even stopped at some of the exhibits that they had, which explained how the trap doors worked and explained the different types of battles that took place. Nothing has made me feel as excited as seeing the Colosseum in person.

Jordan Smith ’17 – Today we looked at all the buildings we read about in class. The thing that was surprising to me was how close and on top of each other, all the buildings were. When I pictured the forum of Augustus and the forum of Divine Caesar they were not cramped with all these other buildings. It was cool to actually see what we study come to life. I am also impressed with how well the buildings have age over the thousands of years.

One of the things I enjoy most about the city is all the different food options you have. I have yet to find a meal I did not like. Everything here is very good. The people are also very friendly to us, for the most part anyway. We do have people look at us weird because we are tourist and have no idea how everything works. But we figure it out and have a lot of fun exploring how different the culture is compared to the United States. I have picked up some Italian along the way. I learned no more than to say hello, goodbye, and thank you. But it is more than what I started with.

This experience has been great so far. I learned the locations of these ancient buildings on paper, but to see it in real life is phenomenal. I am excited to give my presentation in Ostia and go to my first ever soccer game later on in the week. This opportunity has been nothing but great. I am glad I took this course mostly because I get to experience a part of the world I never thought I could. I look forward to the rest of the world.

After Delay, First Full Day in Rome

Peter (Tiahong Xu) ’17 – Since there was a heavy snow in Chicago, our flight to Philadelphia was delayed for more than 2 hours. So, we did not catch up the next flight to Rome. Accordingly, Roman forum became our Tuesday’s schedule.

Walking between the arch of Septimius Serverus and the arch of Titus, I felt like the time machine brought me to the Rome of two thousand years ago. The Forum is surrounded by several important government buildings as well as important monuments. One of the most well-preserved building is Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Emperor Antoninus Pious started this building’s construction firstly in order to decease and deify his wife, Faustina the Elder. Emperor Antoninus’ successor, Marcus Aurelius then rededicated this temple jointly to them after the deification of Antoninus Pius.

Walking upwards, we came to the highest point of Palatine Hill. Overlooking the Roman Forum, I felt like those ruins still shocked me. On the other side of the Roman Forum, it came the most well-known Roman world construction: Colosseum. Only if you look at it physically can you feel its magnificence. When we looked at it closely, we can clearly see the Roman number on each entrance. That’s pretty similar to our sports event seating. One entrance is entitled as “VI”; the next one is “VII”; even the one after the next one is not clear enough to see, but we know it’s “VIII”.

Junior Boyd Haley at Rome's most-famous site.

Junior Boyd Haley at Rome’s most-famous site.

Micheal Miller ’18 –  The first full day of our trip to Rome went very well. We started out in the Forum Romanum. Throughout this semester every person in our class has presented on at least one monument in the Forum. Being able to see and be within a few yards of these monuments and even being able to touch some of them really puts what we have learned into perspective. Being able to walk on the very stones that Republican Era Romans walked on is humbling and breathtaking all at the same time.

Within the Forum was the place where the Vestal Virgins stayed. At first, I wasn’t particularly excited to see this or walk though it but, once we got in and walked around the courtyard, I was overwhelmed by how peaceful and beautiful the sculptures and pools were. This was not a feeling or an atmosphere that can be obtained by pictures alone, in order to truly appreciate these sites one must walk through and take the time to take it all in.

One of the last places we visited today was the Colosseum. This was a place that I have dreamed about visiting since middle school and to finally be able to walk around and see it first hand was a great experience. Walking through the halls was a similar atmosphere to that of a typical professional sports stadium which really helps understand and almost relive the atmosphere right before the games started with people filing into their designated seats. I would like to thank Wabash College and everyone who donated money, or time, into making this tip available to students. This is a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

Missing Flight Provided Surprising Opportunity


Students and Professor Harnett made the best of a missed flight to Rome by exploring Philadelphia.

Andrew Jackson ’18 – Everything seemed to go as planned as everyone loaded into the two vans early in the morning, so we could drive up to O’Hare for our flight to Philadelphia, then fly to Rome from there. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different idea. Of course, it decided to snow a TON up in Chicago the day we were supposed to fly out. The snow caused a 3.5-hour flight delay from Chicago to Philadelphia, causing us to miss our connecting flight to Rome. Though this delay put a damper on things, the encouraging and fun spirit and attitude among the Wabash men and professors made things much better than what they could have been.

Instead of sulking about missing our connecting flight, we scheduled a flight for the following day’s evening and took advantage of that day to go to the city of Philadelphia. We turned the day of Philadelphia into one of adventure. We saw the Liberty Bell and the colonial buildings from that era in Philadelphia. Following our flashback in time, the majority of us went to Jim’s Steaks to have our very first genuine Philly cheesesteak! Yum! To conclude our trip, we got to witness runners in the marathon, which place in the city as we walked to the Rocky Steps. Though it may not have been the ideal situation to be in Philadelphia over Rome, we made the most of it. As I’m sitting on the plane and looking out of the window, I can’t help but smile and get excited as we finally begin our last stretch to Rome. WAF!

 Zac Maciejewski ’17 – So, the trip got off to a rocky start.  Instead of writing this blog from Rome, like I was supposed to, I am writing from the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia.  Winter decided to unleash its pent-up wrath on Chicago at the worst possible time.  A predicted 4:30 pm arrival to Philadelphia from O’hare turned into an 8:40 pm landing.  Needless to say we missed our connection to Rome and were forced to stay the night in Philadelphia (much thanks to Ms. Teague for finding a hotel for us and for everyone else who has made this trip possible!!).  But instead of letting the disappointing turn of events drag us down, we made the most of it.  We saw the liberty bell, city hall, and independence hall.  We saw neo-colonial architecture and some beautiful Greek and Roman architecture.  But most importantly, we did not forget the cheesesteak.

After talking with numerous locals, the consensus was that Jim’s, an establishment that has been clogging arteries since 1937, offered the best sandwich in the city.  Squeezed between a sketchy smoke-shop and an exotic clothing bodega, the fine people of Jim’s roast hundreds of pounds beef per day. Eating the behemoth of a sandwich was impossible without gobs of cheese and beef juice oozing out of the open-faced Italian roll that could barely stand up to the task of holding the sandwich together.

It certainly stinks that we missed a day in Rome.  But like all Wabash men we found a way to make the best of our situation.  After a long day in the city, we are officially sitting in our terminal waiting for Rome!

Interacting With Students Enriched Experience

Mark Myers ’16 – Our week at Phillips Academy was exciting. Both of us had the chance to experience a new environment and Phillips is unique in its setup. Phillips used to have an honors floor, a boys floor, and a girls floor; however, they now just do gender separated classes with the exception of the honor classes which include both genders. I  was with two freshman classes, one male and one female, and two sophomore honor classes. Needless to say, there were many personalities among the four classes. The best part of my experience was being able to develop personal relationships with the students like I had been there all year.
Austin was in a biology classroom with an AP course, two honors courses and a regular biology course.  I took over the AP course for the week and was able to take what I had learned in invertebrate biology this year at Wabash and pass on some information to the students.  To do this I was even able to take the students outside to collect specimens and observe them in the classroom.  The students really enjoyed this experience and it was equally enjoyable for myself.
Part of the reason for coming to Chicago is to experience the urban setting and new cultures. By staying in the hostel where there are numerous people staying from all over the world we were able to make experience different cultural perspectives firsthand. One night, we had the pleasure to meet people from Germany, D.C., and China. We played ping pong with them and just sat around talking. It was awesome to not only experience the culture in our schools, but to be able to come back to the hostel and experience this even more was amazing.
Our time in Chicago was developmental and fun. We both learned many things that we know will help us become better teachers, and more importantly, help us become better people with the great guidance both host teachers provided us.

Chicago Experience Builds Teacher Confidence

Nick Wheeler ‘ 16 – During my short time in Chicago and at Kenwood Academy I have had some unique learning experiences that would be hard to come by anywhere else. This trip has given me a confidence that I never thought was obtainable. Being able to get on a bus or a train and not be absolutely terrified is an amazing feeling. It has also been a fun experience to work my way through the city and build a sense of comfort where I know where I am going and exactly how to get there.

WheelerAnother mind-boggling experience that anyone who knows me well will never believe is that I have tried food from a few different cultures and actually enjoyed it. I have taken a few leaps of faith this week and tried Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Puerto Rican food. Although it has only been a week, this trip has begun to open me up to many new cultures and the urban way of life.

My time in the classroom has also been a fun learning experience. I have learned different ways of communicating, reaching students, and how important these interactions really are to their lives and learning experience. My favorite part about my time at Kenwood Academy has been watching the students interact with each other and with their teachers. It is so clear when a teacher genuinely cares for a student and that care is then reciprocated with student commitment and learning. More specifically, I have observed and learned effective and unique ways of teaching Spanish to students. This experience has further motivated me and confirmed my desire to become a Spanish teacher.

Everything that I have learned and experienced this week is helping to me to form my ideal future Spanish classroom. One teacher that I observed told me, “Every teacher has a concept of what their classroom should be like, and you have to find yours.” This advice already has me thinking and will undoubtedly stick with me for the rest of my life.

Urban Element Brings Energy to Schools

WRightJason Wright ’16 – Being in a big city like Chicago has offered me an interesting perspective on the concept of the urban element in school life and in everyday feelings and interactions. I believe that that is the greatest asset to this program; having the opportunity to see for ourselves how things are different and how things are the same between urban environments like Chicago and small town environments like Crawfordsville.

Probably the most noticeable difference is in the demographics. Chicago is a very diverse city, and it shows wherever you go, in or out of the schools. Traveling the different neighborhoods of Chicago gives one the sense of stepping into other cultures, and that just isn’t accessible in most places outside of the urban setting. So for some of us, this will be the only time, or one of only few times in which we get to experience that phenomenon.

The Urban element also brings a unique energy into the schools. Everything in the city is upbeat, and the classroom is no exception. Kids are full of energy and they always have something to say. Kenwood students are a very involved bunch, and they’re enthusiastic about contributing to class. What doesn’t change is that good teachers abound who invest themselves into their work and their students, and they are committed to getting down to good, hard work. I’ve learned that good teachers are equally able to develop a solid plan and to be adaptive.

Tough Schools Have Special Teachers

Grant Benefiel ’16 – When I first thought about teaching in Chicago, I was very nervous.  I have seen movies and television shows that depict Chicago schools as dangerous and violent.  With those first initial impressions, my view on Chicago was narrow.  After my initial visit, my view on Chicago changed.  I felt there were few differences between Kelly High School and my High School.  Besides the fact that my high school contained mostly Caucasian students and Kelly High School contained mostly Hispanic and Asian students, there were few differences.  I did notice that the students wore see-through backpacks and had to go through metal detectors before going to class.  Security is a big deal at Kelly High School and they have kept the school safe and comfortable.

After meeting my host teacher, I knew Kelly was special.  I could tell the way my teacher would interact with the students that this was more than just school grounds.  Kelly High School was home to many students.  The teachers interacted with the students as if they were their own children.  The teachers at Kelly High School care about their students.

Our school is located in a Hispanic neighborhood.  I have been able to safely travel around the neighborhood and eat at local restaurants.  I can see that the school and community get along very well.  While I was wearing my “student observer” name tag, one of the waitress proceeded to tell me that her son attended there and told me to make sure he was acting responsibly.  Instances like that show me that the community and school have an incredible relationship.

Being able to experience this immersion trip, I now have a better grasp of urban education.  I have been shown how to care for students and to teach in an urban setting.  I understand now the difficulties and complications that arise while teaching a school of over two-thousand students.  I have also been taught what it means to be a community.  Kelly High School and this immersion program have shown me the beautiful side of Chicago and urban education.

Chicago is City That Must Be Experienced

Truman Jones ’16 – The final trip to Chicago was initially one of the more intimidating things I had ever been pushed into doing in my Wabash experience. Now a day trip with family or the trip to Chinatown for dinner was one thing, but staying for a full week in the city was daunting to say the least. But as the time approached I got less nervous, and after the day trip and meeting my host teacher for the first time, I was definitely less anxious to undergo the trip.

Truman Jones '16 with his host teacher.

Truman Jones ’16 with his host teacher.

Part of getting your teaching license in Indiana requires you to have at least three full days of teaching experience in an urban environment. I was placed at Kelly High School that is one the southern side of Chicago. Kelly High School has just over two thousand students, and is primarily Latino, with Asian ethnic backgrounds making up the next highest amount, with everything else in smaller numbers. Now this is much different than what I was used to, as the school at Crawfordsville I taught at was around a third of the size, it was also primarily white. So that has been the first real hurdle that I had to get used to be that I was no longer part of the majority, but suddenly put in the minority. But beyond that, the ideas that I had stuffed in my head about big city life, the urban school, and the people in it have been dashed. I have been welcomed with open arms.

My host teacher: Mrs. Zamora, was just one of the friendly staff members at Kelly High School that helped me understand the unique challenges and opportunities that is required to teach in urban Chicago school. I thought that it would be uninterested students, and blank stares, but I found that students were active, excited, and willing to talk. They were eager to know more about me, and I am saddened that I am not staying for longer so I can better get to know them.

In summary my experience has been that despite what anyone can tell you about Chicago, its schools, or its people, you can make any judgments unless you experience it for yourself. The city was/is not the most terrifying thing that exists in the world, the people are not rude and unhelpful, and the schools are not seedy and riddled with gang activity. I would say that stereotypes and ideas are meant to be broken, and thanks to my time at Wabash, I was able to experience it for myself.