Villanovans in Europe, Las Vegas and everything in between: The Villanovan

Villanovans in Europe, Las Vegas and everything in between: The Villanovan

As the week after Fall Break draws to a close, some Villanovans need a break from Fall Break…or maybe just me and my friends. Through Instagram and Snapchat stories, it seemed like the Villanovans were all over the country, and some were even out in the world. From Las Vegas to Italy to Kenya to Far Hills, New Jersey, the Villanovans did not rest during the seven days off.

Hundreds of Villanova students, myself included, packed their bags and headed with dignity for the trip to one of the most magical places on Earth: Las Vegas, Nevada. A trip that was organized through the company All Roads Travel, this was the definition of a conundrum. Before the week before the trip, it seemed that no one knew a singular detail about the itinerary that would follow once we all touched the city of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas now holds a special place in the heart of Villanova senior Julia R. She expressed her new love for the place.

“I’m going to raise my kids in Las Vegas,” said Julia, full of excitement and laughter.

Fear not, because after nearly five hours of flying, the Villanovans arrived safely in Las Vegas for the weekend. It was truly an experience of a lifetime, from another world. I’d like to go into more detail, but I think it’s best for all Villanovans if the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is followed.

Other students, mostly juniors and seniors, had other vacation plans: Europe. This semester marks the third since Villanova continues to allow students to study abroad due to COVID-19 restrictions. Because of this, many young people made the hajj to Europe to gather groups of friends for a week-long European getaway. Junior Theresa McGannon explained her European adventure visiting friends.

“During fall break, I traveled to Italy to visit my best friend, who is studying abroad in Rome,” said McGannon. “It was so amazing to see her every day in a new city and experience that with her for a week.”

Seniors Anna O’Keefe and Cameron Castelli had their own little European adventure in the UK and Italy. O’Keefe explains how it felt for her to visit the place where she studied abroad around this time last year for the first time since.

“I was anxious to see if the city that had such an incredible impact on my life would remember me the way I remembered it,” O’Keefe said. “Rest assured that he did. From my barista at my coffee shop, to Gisueppe’s ice cream, to my old teachers, it was all the same.”

Villanova students also traveled to Kenya for the Social Justice Documentary program made possible by the Villanova Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. This group of students traveled to Siaya County in Kenya to create an inspiring film. Senior Luke Denatale spoke about his vacation experience.

“Traveling to Siaya County in Kenya for my Social Justice Documentary class this fall break was something that will live in my heart for the rest of my days,” said Denatale. “Not only were the people and their stories so beautiful, but the whole journey forced me to grow as a man, a filmmaker, and as a person.”

The weekend ended with many Villanovans back in familiar territory: New Jersey. The Far Hills Race Meeting, better known as “the hunt”, is a horse race that takes place in Far Hills, New Jersey. Villanovans from all over the Northeast stayed with their friends who live closest to the race event. Imagine a Villanova basketball tailgate, but instead of the Wells Fargo stadium parking lot, it took place on a farm in the middle of New Jersey.

Unfortunately for me, I have yet to experience such an exciting event. Instead, let’s say I was still resting from my trip to Nevada because chronic sinusitis and a fever is what you get for waking up in Vegas.

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