As part of the Faculty-Led Study Abroad Program at Mercyhurst College, 30 students along with professors Daniel McFee and James Snyder traveled to Italy and Greece from May 28 to June 9 after completing a college course in western philosophy, religion or both.
The group began their trip by flying from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., where many students endured a 12-hour layover.
Because of the long delay, the tour company, Education First, provided the students a bus so they could take a self-guided tour of Washington, D.C.
While in D.C., the group busied itself by dodging screaming children in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and exploring the Lincoln and Washington Memorials.
After having enough of the 90 degree D.C. heat, the student travelers returned to the airport for a 7-hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany.
While waiting out another layover in Frankfurt, several students met professional boxer Evander Holyfield in the airport.
“I’ve looked up to Evander ever since Mike Tyson bit off a piece of his ear. To meet him was unexpected, but it was also one of the many memories from the trip that I will never forget,” senior Matt Grogan said.
From Frankfurt, students flew over the Italian Alps to Rome, where they were given free time to explore Rome’s cafes, shops and famous gelato stands.
The following day, they traveled to Michelangelo’s home in Florence and then back to Rome to experience Vatican City.
“My favorite place that we visited was Vatican City. It’s the smallest country in the world and people still get lost inside its walls!” junior Kerrie Smith said.
Because the group toured Vatican City on a Sunday, St. Peter’s Basilica was closed to the public. However, the students were able to view the Sistine Chapel and parts of the Vatican Museum.
Next on the trip’s itinerary was the beautiful island of Capri, the town of Sorrento and then the ancient city of Pompei.
After six days in Rome, the travelers said “ciao” to Italy and boarded an overnight ferry to Greece.
The ferry docked in the sparkling waters of Patras, where the students traveled by bus to the town of Delphi. After glimpsing the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, the group departed to Athens for a night in the famous Plaka District.
The next morning, they boarded a cruise ship which sailed to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Patmos. On the way to Patmos, the ship docked in Turkey, where several group members took an excursion to visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin Mary.
“My favorite place was the Greek island of Mykonos because the white and blue buildings and cascading flowers around every corner were as picturesque as I always imagined,” senior Heather Buechner said.
From their beloved Italian tour guide Carolina’s daily greeting of “Good morning, my beauties,” to exploring the ancient site of Pompei, to watching the sun set on the Greek island of Mykonos, the FSAT trip to Greece and Italy was an amazing and unforgettable experience.
Contributed photo: Senior Mike Dugan and Matt Grogan met professional boxer Evander Holyfield during their layover at Frankfurt airtport.
Contributed photo: Thirty Mercyhurst College students along with professors Daniel McFee and James Snyder traveled to Italy and Greece after taking philosophy and religion courses.
Contributed photo: Mercyhurst students pose for a picture in Greece. From left to right: senior Liz Maier, sernior Heather Buechner, senior Brittany Coppola, junior Casey Kazmierczak and senior Kerrie Smith.