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A first-hand perspective

August 31, 2018

Jill O'Craven
Jill O'Craven, Arts and Humanities student

Jill O’Craven loves to learn. Both in the classroom and beyond its borders.

Fresh from finishing her third year, the Toronto native was thrilled to receive the Elizabeth Tepe Eudaemon Global Opportunities Award. This donor funded award is available to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities who participate in the Classical Studies Study Tour to Rome and Italy.

In Italy, O’Craven visited ancient archaeological sites and extraordinary museums. “I’ve studied the history of Rome, so getting to see some of the major sites with professors who study it for a living was amazing,” she said. “Their knowledge and experience helped us maximize our time abroad.”

The journey through Italy made history come alive for the young student who is pursuing a double major in Arts & Humanities and Classical Studies with a minor in Creative Writing.

“Visiting the sites and museums made everything so real and I felt an incredible connection to the history, artifacts, and culture. It was such a powerful experience,” she said.

Visiting Pompeii, the once thriving Roman city buried after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, was an eye-opening highlight.

“It’s such an iconic site, it seems like it couldn’t possibly live up to its reputation – but it does. We spent a day touring the excavated ruins, a treasure trove of historical information, but it felt like we didn’t even scratch the surface,” she said.

O’Craven believes that this trip has had a profound impact on her. “No longer are the events taught in class taking place in a distant, half-imagined world, but in places I’ve actually stood in, with objects I’ve actually seen,” she said.

With two years of school left, O’Craven hasn’t completely settled on what’s next. However, in the long term, she plans to become a writer and author.

“As a writer, it’s useful to be well-versed in many subjects, accept every opportunity and mine a breadth of knowledge,” she said. “It gives you a broad perspective.”

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