A Very Euro Christmas

A Very Euro Christmas

For Hilary Ropp ’12, this year’s plans for Christmas are anything but average. The sophomore communications studies major and Italian minor is currently residing in Italy and is participating in the Saint Mary’s Rome study abroad program during the 2009-2010 academic school year. “I have been in Rome for a few months now, and I love it here!” Hilary exclaims. Although she’s not even halfway through her Italian adventure, she’s already learned so much. “My language skills have definitely improved,” she says, “and I love exploring the city.” She adores her less-than-humble, four-star Roman hotel abode; however, Hilary won’t be home for the holidays this year – not in Rome nor in the United States, for that matter.

Though a self-proclaimed homebody, this doesn’t seem to faze the Flint, Mich. native at all. “This Christmas is going to be amazing!” she says excitedly. “I am going to London for the first weekend of our break, and after that I will be in Austria for six days, which includes Christmas day.” She’ll be doing anything and everything classically Christmassy – from skiing to sleigh rides and drinking hot chocolate with her Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame friends, with whom she is traveling. After Christmas, Hilary will head to Prague for a few days before finally ending in Berlin to celebrate New Years. “I am a lucky girl,” says Hilary of her European Christmas tour.

With first semester just about over, Hilary is looking forward to what second semester will bring. “I have already found myself becoming so much more independent,” she says. “I love spending tons of time with my family, so I thought this trip would be very difficult.” While her real family was able to come and visit for a short time over Thanksgiving, what has gotten Hilary through most of her tough times abroad is the “family” that her Saint Mary’s friends have become to her. In real life, “I only have one sibling, a brother,” Hilary explains. “But now,” she insists, “I have sisters, and I love them so much.”

—Mary Elizabeth Ulliman ’10