Estate Italiana: Student explores Italy in the Summer


Sophie Fiore, Staff Reporter

Jack Dahlinger, junior, received the full Italian experience while on a trip to Italy this summer with other members of the Mundelein community.

“It was a lot of walking,” said Dahlinger, “and was very tiring,” as the group explored the major cities of Italy, including Venice, Florence, San Gimignano and Rome.

While MHS did not sponsor the trip or officially endorse it—the travel participants and their families had to sign a waiver stating that the school had no connection to the trip, Social Studies Teacher Neil McCarthy and Guidance Counselor Jimmy Ku organized the trip for any interested parties.

“This trip gives students an opportunity to see history in person and gives them a taste of what it’s like to be a world traveler,” said Ku.

Dahlinger decided to take advantage of this opportunity in order to experience the different tourist attractions and the new foods. He wanted to be immersed in Italy’s culture.

Within his travel group, Dahlinger had two roommates—senior friends Dominic Foreman and Jensen Juul.

In their free time, the three would explore stores, including high-end brands, such as Prada and Louis Vuitton.

“They gave us a few hours a day to buy gifts or souvenirs,” said Dahlinger, who also said that communicating with people could be “difficult in the shops, though most people [he] interacted with spoke English.”

The group’s tour guide, Febrizio, was fluent in both Italian and English, which helped the group members communicate with the Italians throughout the trip.

“On the first night in Venice we took a boat from the hotel into the city,” said Dahlinger.

He enjoyed these types of adventures, along with the food. The food Dahlinger ate most included pizza and pasta as well as gelato.

“I had [about] two [servings of gelato] a day,” he said.

His friend Foreman claimed, “Venice had the best pizza.”

During one meal, the group met up with a former MHS student who was studying in Florence.

“We have seen a lot of our former students who go on these trips study abroad and do things like that,” said Ku.

While Dahlinger loved the food, his favorite part was “experiencing and learning the [Italian] culture,” but Foreman had a different reason for going.

   “I wanted to visit my family heritage,” said Foreman. “This trip enabled me to do so.”

After Venice, the group travelled to Florence, where Dahlinger and his friends climbed a dome.

“It was the best view of the city,” he said, as he described the lights and bridges he saw.

Dahlinger also enjoyed seeing the colosseum in Rome.  While seeing all the attractions, such as various churches and even a palace, was “very tiring,” his overall opinion on the trip overruled that.

“I really enjoyed it. It was very fun,” he said.

Ku said the trip was “planned to see the best attractions.”

“You can share pictures with students of the Sistine Chapel,” he said. “You can show them pictures of the colosseum.  You can show them pictures of all these historical sites, but it’s different than actually seeing them in person.”