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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Lamb

Week 10: Community

How do people live best? In community. Whether small or large, quiet or loud, and whatever variety it looks like, people are built for community.

As my program closes in Rome, I am keenly aware of the community that has been built among our cohort. We started as strangers and became friends and colleagues.

Through shared experiences like field trips to Pompeii, Naples, and the Colosseum; apartments; reading materials and classes, we came to see each other across multiple areas of life.

Together we navigated a foreign country with different customs, language, food, and transportation. We read about and heard from guest speakers discussing gut wrenching stories. We created group projects and shared them as a class. We laughed, we cried, we ate, and we ate some more. We tried new things and discovered new things we enjoyed, and others we didn't.

I am changed. I am grateful. I am honored.

This experience has unlocked something inside me that felt hidden away, and so am eager to discover this side even more.

Today during class we ended our time by going through an experience of greeting each person, sharing a moment of thanks for being on this journey in Rome together, and a little personal comment. It was done in a circle to keep things flowing, and it was such a touching experience. I was able to share with each of my classmates what they meant to me and how I valued their experience and insight within the program. And they shared with me their thanks and anecdotes. Several expressed their gratitude for my contribution to discussions, or that I am an inspiration to them. I was humbled by the experience and hearing so many kind words. And I was moved in sharing with each one individually.

Building community is a skill. It is not one I've historically done well. This experience in Rome has shown me tools that I can bring with me to learn how to intentionally create community whenever I am. I think this is one of my biggest takeaways from the program outside to class material.

Community is intentional, learnable, and essential.

Thank you to Carey and Diem for leading the way and bringing us along for this amazing journey.


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