Buon Giorno e Benvenuto a Roma!!
From Thanos Zyngas (Director, Bernardi Campus)
Hello and welcome to Rome and to the Bernardi Campus. My name is Thanos Zyngas and I am the director of the University of St. Thomas' campus in Rome. Being in a position where I can serve as the cultural bridge between the university's home campus in St. Paul and the one in Rome has enabled me to see life from a different perspective and embark on a lifetime experience that broadens my perspective on our world.
By encountering new beliefs, ideas, attitudes, preferences, values, working and communication styles, new ways of thinking, and ways of living life, I realized that it is very important to establish a strong intercultural understanding with whomever one comes in contact. Most importantly, as uncomfortable as one might be in a situation, I learned that it is better not to avoid the uncomfortable, but to go for the challenge.
Therefore, if you are a student on a study abroad program in Rome living in Bernardi, or an overnight guest at the residence, you are about to encounter and experience several situations where things will be different from what you are used to and from what you probably grew up with. Cultural differences are OK to embrace and gain awareness of how people in other cultures do things and go about their everyday living; hence, the purpose of you being abroad -- to expand your horizons and view our world from a different perspective.
I strongly recommend to all of you to make genuine efforts in getting acclimated into the Roman culture and environment, mix with the locals, and absorb the beauty of a civilization that has been around for centuries. Make your time in Rome a meaningful one, where learning and growing can affect every aspect of your life and contribute to your ongoing development as a student and as an individual with a global perspective and a wider vision of our world. And as Rome was not built in one day, it cannot be enjoyed and absorbed in one day either. Despite the hectic vitality of the city with its chaotic traffic, its noise, its fountains, its piazzas, and the plethora of restaurants in every corner, there is still that scent of a different era from centuries ago.
Make Bernardi Campus your home away from home and accept the challenge of adapting into a new set of community standards, procedures and guidelines that create that special and unique community in the residence. My staff and I are looking forward to getting to know you.