We are nearing the end of my second week in Naples, and this past week has been very interesting. Throughout the past week, my fellow cadets and I have gotten to see a bit more of Naples and the surrounding area. I have been working with migrants more directly, which is very nice, since the office work I’m doing doesn’t allow me to interact with them as much as the other members of our group.
This past weekend, which was our first weekend in Italy, my fellow students and I got to travel outside the city and see the ruins of Pompeii. Pompeii was very interesting with tons to see and explore. We spent almost four hours wandering through the desolated city and learning more about ancient Roman culture. We even learned that parts of the city not ruined during the volcanic eruption of 79 AD were destroyed during World War II from allied bombing runs in the region.
Three of us also got another interesting experience when we climbed to the top of Mount Vesuvius. It was a long trip just getting to the place, because we had a very long and crowded train ride. Once we arrived in the city of Herculaneum, we took a bus ride to the base of the mountain. Then, we began a very long and tiring hike up to the top. From the top, we had a very scenic view over a vast amount of Italian land with sprawling cites. The view was amazing, and we were fortunate to have our picture taken with Big Red while we were up on the peak.
At work, this past week was great, because I had more opportunities to interact with migrants than ever before. Within the office, I worked with other staff members to prepare a walking tour of the Otra Botanical gardens for the migrants. It took careful planning and preparation on my part, because I had to give part of the guided tour in English. When we eventually got to the gardens, there a group of roughly 30 migrants. We gave them a two-hour tour of the garden, and I gave the English version of each section of the tour. The whole event was a success; everyone had a great time and learned something new about the garden. I felt all the preparation paid off, since I managed my English delivery of the tour successfully.
This past week was full of fun adventures, sightseeing, tours, and preparing the tour for the migrants. Now, I am beginning to look forward to this weekend, since six of us from The Citadel group are traveling to Rome. We have plans to visit the Vatican, and sightsee around as much of the city as we can. I am a pretty religious man, and I am a follower of the Roman Catholic Church, which makes me very excited to visit the Vatican. So far, this has been an amazing trip. With our coursework on human rights and development, I am starting to learn firsthand about the crisis surrounding refugees and migrants.
- Christopher Niepsuj