In December 2016, 22 students and two ACU FHS lecturers Dr. Helen McCabe and Paul McDonald from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine in North Sydney travelled to the CUA/ACU campus in Rome to undertake the inter-professional unit: HLSC220 Health Care Ethics. Students came from all ACU campuses and from a variety of disciplines: midwifery, nursing, paramedicine, physiotherapy, social work and speech pathology.
This was the second time this unit was taught in intensive mode off-shore and, based on student grades, proved a successful venture, notwithstanding both the higher work rate expectations and the distractions of a vibrant and exciting ‘new’ city. Students commented on the way in which the intensive mode of learning created opportunities for interesting and engaging discussions; it also allowed more effective consolidation of learning. Classes were held each day between the carefully observed Italian meal times, as were the community engagement activities.
ACU students and staff visited the ‘Disease Relief through Excellent and Advanced Means’ (or DREAM) Project which was founded for the purpose of supporting women living with HIV in South Africa. Students learned that the project relied upon volunteers who had, firstly, benefitted from the project themselves, to provide both emotional and practical support to women living in these circumstances. Other community engagement activities involved us in providing food to homeless people on Tiber Island, as well as in preparing that food in the Sant’Egidio soup kitchens. All of these activities were supported and supervised by the campus manager, Claudio Betti.
On arrival in Rome, the group managed to obtain seats to a Papal Audience where its attendance was acknowledged by Pope Francis. Students also had the opportunity to see the sights of Rome following classes - to wander the ruins and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient city; some even took the opportunity to travel to neighbouring countries on the weekend. Back on campus, students enjoyed spending time with the theology students from CUA: notes were swapped on where to eat, what to see, and how to study. As well, birthdays were celebrated, exams were worried over, and meals were shared. The live-in, on-campus experience was thought to be engaging, supportive and conducive to learning.
The campus in Rome is situated on Janiculum Hill in the beautiful Trastavere region of Rome. It is a peaceful location where magnificent views of Rome can be found only a short walk from the campus. It has proven, once again, an ideal location in which to engage in reflective learning activities. It also provides many life-enhancing experiences for students who live so far from the history, culture and traditions of a European city.
For further information on the community engagement activities, go to the following links: