Study Abroad Spotlight: Catherine O'Kelley, Spring 2021

March 22, 2021
girl sitting with sunglasses in piazza

Hi, my name is Cate O’Kelley! I am a junior from Atlanta, Georgia, USA and I study Art History and Business Administration at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. This semester, I am studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy. 

As a double major, selecting a study abroad program presented some challenges because I needed to find a program that would allow me to continue advancing both of my degrees in Business Administration and Art History. JCU provides an ideal combination of academic degree programs, and because of the wide range of courses available,  I’ve been able to take interesting and challenging courses for both my majors, while also studying Italian.

JCU’s Art History curriculum is fantastic! I decided to take full advantage of being in Rome by taking a class called Ancient Rome and its Monuments, which treats Rome as our classroom. Not having any classes on Friday's leaves me plenty of time to take in the sites of Rome – for an art lover, there is so much to see on every corner!

I’m also taking a course in Curating Museums and Galleries, which has been a fantastic opportunity to work with a very talented faculty member named Professor Ilaria Gianni. What I’m learning in this class will be really helpful for my senior honors thesis next year.

As for my business major, I decided to take an International Business course while at JCU, to maximize the opportunity, to think about the topic while abroad, and highly recommend that approach. The professor has terrific practical experience working all over the world, which brings a valuable perspective to the material.

JCU's Business Ethics course taught by Professor Tom Bailey has been my favorite course so far. The class discussion, which includes lots of hearty debate, is richer for the varying backgrounds and experiences of the students in the class, who represent many different nationalities. The opportunity to learn in an environment that offers so many unique perspectives has made me a more thoughtful listener and developed my critical thinking on some big issues.

I’ve been very impressed by JCU's Housing and Residential Life – they thought of everything and it’s very comfortable. I didn’t know anyone before I arrived in Rome but easily met friends and classmates in my classes. We make plans together for Fridays and the weekends and there is always someone ready and willing to visit a museum, hang out in the park or try a new restaurant.

I highly recommend getting the MIC (Musei in Comune) card – it was easy to set-up and allows me to visit a long list of sites for free. Also, even though languages don’t come naturally to me, I’m glad I am taking an Italian class because learning the basics has been super helpful, especially when navigating around the city of Rome.

I would tell anyone considering study abroad to go for it!  The JCU Admissions Team is there to guide you through the whole process and will reply to any question you may have quickly.

I’m having an incredibly social and academic experience and hope others will too!


Catherine O'Kelley

Business Administration & Art History Major

Washington and Lee University - Class of 2022

Study Abroad Spring 2021 Semester

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