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Girl watching the sunset over Brooklyn bridge

Next stop, the world


They say an arts degree can take you just about anywhere. And depending on your interests and sense of adventure, you can take that sentiment very literally. Two ACU students recently went on their own adventures – spending time in New York and Rome to follow in the footsteps of literary, artistic and theatrical greats.

New York, New York

Helena Citroni’s arts degree has provided her with incredible experiences. First there was a study tour to Rome where she studied romanticism. More recently, it was a two-week study tour in America which had her diving into the literature and drama of New York City.

“If there was ever a place to experience the cultural phenomenon that is the United States of America, it’s New York City. It’s the economic, literary, artistic, and fashion hub of the country,” said Helena.

Both travel experiences, she said, have brought her lessons to life, and enriched her learning in ways she hadn’t expected.

“You’re not going to understand the grandeur of the Brooklyn Bridge until you walk across it. We not only got to do that, but our lecturer read us poetry about the bridge as we went,” she said.

 

The experience of walking where authors have walked, seeing what painters have seen, and hearing what musicians have heard, is utterly profound.”

Times Square at night

Roaming through Rome

For Jacinta Kim, the bright lights of New York wasn’t her destination of choice. Her interests lay in a more ancient town, so she travelled to ACU’s Rome Campus to study arts, politics and society in renaissance and baroque Rome.

"Combining study with travel is very enriching. So much knowledge can be gained through travel. These places need to be seen in real life and experienced, only then are you able to really understand,” said Jacinta.

During her time in Rome, Jacinta’s thoughts about certain paintings and architecture were challenged. “I’d only ever seen these things in photos. Being able to physically see them in real life is breathtaking and added so much to my learning experience.

“I learnt so much in such a short period of time. Having the opportunity to have your lecturer with you, explaining what we were seeing, was a real privilege.” The study tour also meant creating special bonds within her fellow ACU travellers. “I went on this trip not knowing anyone and have made life-long friends.

“There was a moment when we were in the Sistine Chapel, looking up at Michelangelo’s ceiling. I looked at my peers and they all had the same face as me – mouths open in absolute awe." 

Student taking a photo in Vatican City

A human experience

In New York, it was the local people who played a surprisingly important part in Helena’s travels.

“My friends and I were lost in Central Park and a man stopped to help us without asking. He showed us the way and then gave us his definitive ranking of best cheesecake shops in the city,” said Helena.

Then there was the time the group took in a Sunday morning gospel service in Harlem.

“The men’s choir was dressed in matching suits with red flowers on the lapel, the women in robes of a deep crimson that matched the banners on the wall. The calls of ‘Amen!’ bounced through the space, and although I had barely managed to sleep the night before, I was up and clapping and singing along with them. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.” 

Now back in Australia with a passport gradually filling with stamps, Helena says the tours are with her every day. “They’ve confirmed for me what I want to do and encouraged me to go for those dreams.

“A Bachelor of Arts can lead to anything and everything you could imagine. For me personally, it led me to Rome and New York, where I finally got to understand what I wanted to achieve.”

Are you interested a degree that can take you places? Explore our range of arts courses and study tours at ACU. 

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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G