Today most of the students headed to Pompei, where Sarah holds a seminar on the art and archeology there, a highlight of the trip for many students. I had to stay in Rome to try to arrange an inexpensive bus trip to the airport on Monday (I succeeded). Steve remained behind too, as Luann and Sarah led the group to Pompei. I did go last time we went, and did a short blog entry on that in 2009.
Steve and I took a walk through Rome to plan an assessment of this trip, involving both current students and alumni from the five previous trips abroad we led. We also scouted around for a place for the second student seminar (perhaps Circo Massimo) and plotted the final two days of the course, going over the lessons learned so far. At about 3:00 we were very, very hot and decided to take a two hour break and meet at 5:30 to continue.
We had planned a nice long calorie burning walk, but once we reached an area that appeared to be the university section we got seduced into having pastries and Cafe Macchiato at this wonderful bakery. They had a wide variety of breads and pastries and we enjoyed a delicious treat.
Then, not more than 20 steps away, we found a pizzeria. We ordered pizza and wine and chatted two hours. It was productive — we now have an assessment plan for this course (not just this one but the series of travel courses) and need to get IRB approval. We really believe we’re accomplishing something very difficult here, bringing together a truly interdisciplinary experience with whole life lessons that we hope students will take into their futures. It’s exciting, invigorating, and far more than just travel in Italy. Our next goal is to demonstrate that by assessing the experience.
So after a leisurely meal on a warm but pleasant Roman evening, we got up to head towards the station to meet the Pompei folk on their return. En route we had another pastry and cafe. So much for the calorie burning walk! Still, we’re in Rome, and tonight we enjoyed the evening in a Roman manner with food and drink.
The train from Napoli was on time, and the students on board. They were sunburned, enthusiastic and very hungry. They’d taken the “slow” train for 21 Euro round trip (2.5 hours from Napoli to Roma — the high speed train does it in half the time — but 90 Euros round trip), and had been rushing to catch the train.
Two more full days in Rome then we head home.