Brendan Labbe

This past summer found me halfway across the world, living out the culture of Italy in Rome. I spent six weeks working with The Paideia Institute, a non-profit that is dominating educational service work in the classics field. Despite its prominence, however, I had never heard of the institute before the spring semester.

Fortunately, a member of the classics community informed me of the summer internship the institute was offering, and in a fit of great fortune, I was accepted! To this day I am reminded of how much the professors and faculty of classics care not only for their students specifically, but so we can experience the beautifully alive tradition of Greek and Latin, as well.

As to the nature of the internship itself, it was a perfect blend of work and leisure. I would spend about eight hours a day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., working with other undergraduate classics majors on whatever task was at hand.

The general goal was first simply to gather data on many of the institute’s donors and potential sponsors. However, our development team easily achieved those milestones, and we began to envision what a global classics community would look like.

From then on, we committed ourselves to this ideal, and ended up coming up with Nexus, a digital outreach initiative designed to bridge the gap among classicists around the world. For my first internship, this was more than I anticipated accomplishing, but I am truly happy with the end product, and its potential it to benefit others like me.

Outside of office hours was a beautiful whirlwind of events. Newfound friends and I would either innovate with Italian cuisine, or would head out to aperitivos, which are like appetizer-filled banquets, and sing our hearts out at karaoke afterwards.

We were fortunate enough to also explore the historical elements of the city, like the Colosseum or the Campo de’ Fiori, and venture out onto some beaches as well. A personal favorite excursion was visiting Bracciano. The culture of the area was built around this beautiful and immense lake, one that I daresay rivals our own Great Lakes.

In short, the Department of Classics, as well as the College of LAS, gave me a chance to say, “I have lived in Rome,” with a special emphasis on the “live.”