2022 Rudolph Scholarship | Studying Abroad: Liam Thompson ’23

Kenneth Rhys Rudolph Memorial Fund for European Summer Study Abroad 
Summer 2022 Rudolph Scholar Blog
Liam Thompson ’23 – Spain

This July, I was fortunate enough to live and study in Madrid at Universidad Nebrija. During my time in the city, I was able to fully immerse myself in and experience the amazing culture that Madrid has to offer. I spent many days exploring Plaza Mayor and enjoying local “tapas” nearly everywhere I went. I saw my first bullfight and toured Santiago Bernabéu, home of Real Madrid (the most recent Champions of Europe). One of my favorite parts of the city was the arts district, where I explored Parque Retiro, as well as the major museums: the Prado, Reína Sofía, and Thyssen museums. Being able to see some of the world’s most famous pieces of art like Picasso’s “Guernica” was a truly humbling experience. I was also able to travel to El Escorial, Mallorca, and Barcelona during my time in Spain. Overall, my experience abroad this summer opened my eyes to a world I could have only dreamed of. It allowed me to grow in my confidence in the language through communicating with my host family, locals, and fellow students. I am truly grateful to the Rudolph family for helping me to achieve a long-time goal of studying abroad and changing my perspective on the world. 

2022 Rudolph Scholarship | Studying Abroad: Caleb Gross ’23

Rudolph-funded study abroad

Summer 2022 Rudolph Scholar Blog
Caleb Gross ’23 – Florence

As the sun rose across the hills of Tuscany spotted by quaint farmhouses, our train zoomed out of the city of Florence and into the Italian countryside. Seated across from me, my classmates put in their headphones and closed their eyes.

“Buongiorno!” I returned the greeting to the Italian man sitting to my left. He had olive skin, dark hair, and was wearing a plain gray t-shirt. He was maybe six or seven years older than me. He was going to Rome to visit his girlfriend. It was very clear to him that I was an outsider there to tour Rome and he was eager to tell me about Italy. It was going to be a two-hour ride and I was more than glad to have the company. 

I told him that I had been in Florence for about two weeks. I was hitting all the major sites in the city. Florence had been amazing. In the mornings, I was taking my intro level Italian language course (lucky for me, my new Italian friend spoke great English!). Each afternoon, I went to a different site in town. Though I walked by it daily, I spent an afternoon wandering the immensity of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, simply called “the Duomo” by the locals. It is one of the crowning achievements of the Renaissance. On another day, I marveled at Michelangelo’s David, perhaps the most famous sculpture of the Renaissance (and maybe just sculptures in general), symbolizing strength and ideal beauty. 

My new friend was more than happy to share his favorite sites in town as well as places to dine. But as I talked to him, it became clear that his view of Italy was much more nuanced. 

“Italy is dying,” he told me. This may have been a surprise to my peers but not to me. During the previous spring, I had taken Politics of the European Union with Dr. Hollander. One of the underlying ideas of that class was that southern European countries tended to be in worse economic condition than the north. As a result, northern countries often feel they are carrying the burden for the south, while the south has more to gain from a strong European Union. We talked at length about the conflict in the Ukraine and he felt that the EU was seeing a renewed unity as it faced that crisis. While he believed Italy’s situation to be grim, he was optimistic about the future of the EU and what that would mean for his country going forward. 

When we parted ways at the train station I felt that I understood Italy in a way I had not before. Looking back at all the amazing paintings, sculptures, and architecture I had admired during my visit, I remember that the Renaissance rose out of the Dark Ages. From old Roman ruins to walls adorned with gold in St Peter’s Basilica, Italy has so much beauty. If her history is any indicator, it only takes a little inspiration to revitalize an entire civilization. 

I am incredibly grateful to the Rudolph family, without whose support through the Rudolph Scholarship, I would not have been able to have this life changing opportunity. I would also like to thank Amy Weir for working through the entire process with me. 

2022 Rudolph Scholarship | Studying Abroad: Cooper Terry ’23

Summer 2022 Rudolph Scholar Blog
Cooper Terry ’23 – Rome

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to study in Rome, Italy for four weeks. During my time in Rome, I was enrolled in a class titled Exploring Rome, the Birthplace of the Modern Museum. Through this class, I was able to learn an extensive amount of history about Rome, the Roman Empire, the influence of the Pope, and other historical facts that I did not know. Our class would visit various historical sites and museums in Rome such as the Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum, as well as many other sites within the city. We also made trips to sites outside of the city such as the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Fountain Gardens in Tivoli, and much more. In the five weeks that I spent in Europe I was able to travel to five different countries in Europe.  I would have never known to visit these wonderful sites if I had not been blessed with receiving the Rudolph Scholarship.

The most impactful place that I visited while I was in Rome was Basilica Papale San Paolo Fuori le Mura, known as the Church of St. Paul outside the Walls. It is the burial place of Paul, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, who was martyred for his faith while in Rome. It is called St. Paul outside the Walls because the Church is located outside the ancient walls that lined the city of Rome. Because it is located on the outskirts of Rome the church is less crowded and feels more peaceful. Unlike the Church of St. Peter inside the Vatican which gets over 30,000 visitors a day, St. Paul’s church is far less crowded, allowing me to take in the beauty of the Church. In 1823 a big fire burned down the entire Church, but through the generous donations from Royalty across the world they were able to rebuild. That is what I found to be so special about this place. You could look around and see all the different stones, such as the thin-cut alabaster stone that acted as stained-glass windows with its unique patterns which were donated by the Royal family of Egypt. You could get a sense of how important this Church and its history were to people all around the world.

This trip has been so impactful on my perspective of the world. Furthermore, it has given me the itch to want to go see more of what the world has to offer. For anyone who might be contemplating a trip while at Wabash, just do it. There will never be a more opportune time to travel. Through generous funds such as the Rudolph Scholarship and other means, Wabash will help you get to where you want to go. Take advantage of these opportunities by going out and exploring.