Programs and More

Travel abroad makes a big impression

Donor gifts fund study-abroad program, inspiring student-athletes like Football’s Rome Odunze.

It’s becoming a familiar sight: Rome Odunze catching touchdown passes in spectacular ways on the Football field. But when he “opened his heart” to the unfamiliar, he found new meaning in life.

Rome was one of 12 Husky student-athletes who traveled to Italy for a life-changing journey. Rome, a junior and a Football player, shares, “It opened me up to experiencing a different culture and adapting to a new way of living. The appreciation I have for playing Football was magnified and became the biggest takeaway.”

Rome further expresses, “I am truly grateful. Opening people’s minds to find deeper meaning and achieve more unity in the world is just what we need.”

When asked about his favorite memories, Rome recalls cruising around the city on scooters, “Seeing the Colosseum lit up at night is phenomenal; I’ll never forget that.” He was also mesmerized by the historical landmarks and architecture that were part of the program.

In addition to the vast history of the city, one of Rome’s favorite memories was the food. “I ate pasta and pizza every day; there was a gelato place right outside our residence that was sensational,” Rome shares with a beaming smile. “The food was fantastic; whatever stereotypes there are around food and Italian culture, they’re all true.”

The wide receiver advises future study-abroad students to open themselves up to unfamiliar experiences so they can understand themselves and the world from a broader perspective.

Kim Durand, who leads academic services for student-athletes, applauds donors who step up to fund such mind-opening experiences for young men and women.

“The study-abroad program is completely underwritten by donor gifts,” Kim explains. “The uniqueness of our donors is that they really want their gifts to make an impact. I believe in this program; it has the ability to be life-changing.”

UW student-athletes at various historic sites in Rome, Italy

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