Bearcats on the Road

Serving at St. Peter’s Basilica

Posted by Anastasia Jaegar on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 04:00 PM

May 23: 

I'm so excited to say that I’ve seen the Trevi Fountain and it is absolutely breathtaking! I also have seen the Colosseum and Pantheon.

This past Sunday, five members of our SVC group were approached by an usher. One of us had the opportunity to lector and the others got to carry up the offertory! I never imagined that I would not only be able to see St. Peter’s but also be able to have the role of carrying up the offertory for Sunday Mass there! That is certainly a memory and one that I will treasure forever.


One of my favorite basilicas is St. Paul’s. I was able to visit the tomb of St. Paul and he has always been one of my favorite Biblical inspirations. I admire his strength, courage and wonderful writing skills. He was truly a man led by the Holy Spirit.

Today we went to Assisi. It is a beautiful town despite the wind that is constantly blowing. It has a truly astounding view. I was not disappointed in Assisi at all. My mother has always been inspired by Saint Francis and it was enjoyable for me to actually visit his tomb and get a deeper understanding of who he was as a person of God. Tomorrow we will have a tour of the Vatican, as well as Mass underneath St. Peter’s in the grotto. The Sistine Chapel will be a part of the tour and I cannot wait to explore the beauty of the chapel. There is still a lot left to share so check back again soon.


Topics: Italy, Rome, Anastasia Jaegar, Colosseum, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter's Basilica

Visiting the Subiaco Monastery

Posted by Anastasia Jaegar on Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 04:00 PM

May 20, 2016


Today we went to Subiaco, a monastery for Benedictine monks. There is a lot of history behind it and it is built around a cave. Saint Benedict lived in this cave for three years!

Saint Francis of Assisi also visited there. There are numerous frescoes that are fairly old, and they depict Saint Benedict’s life and show numerous scenes from the gospels.

Now, off to find the Trevi Fountain!

Photo Credit: Subiaco monastery

Topics: Benedictine, Anastasia Jaegar, Saint Benedict, frescoes, Saint Francis, Subiaco, cave, history

All Things Arsenal

Posted by Gina McKlveen on Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Monday, April 4, 2016


Football (American soccer) is the major spectator sport in England and throughout Europe. There are several teams in and around London including Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham, just to name a few. But the team that is known as London’s “home team” is Arsenal. Londoners live and breath all things Arsenal. They are die-hard fans.

My first Arsenal experience was watching a match against Tottenham (a bitter rival) at a pub near the Emirates Arsenal Stadium. It was a laid-back atmosphere at first, but then the game started … there was screaming and taunting, punching walls and slamming fists. It was great! Oh, and lots and lots of singing. Football fans here aren’t much for chanting; rather, they have songs to cheer on their team. It was quite entertaining listening to a pub full of drunk old men sing along to the Arsenal cheers. Also, just a warning, but a pub might not be the best place to take your mother to watch an Arsenal game because of the excessive use of swear words and other derogatory language. It would definitely be rated R for language.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Arsenal come away with a W, but they did tie with Tottenham!

My next Arsenal experience was with my study abroad program. CIEE managed to get us a tour of the Arsenal stadium! It was a self-guided tour and we were able to see the field, the locker room, the press conference room and the members’ clubs as well as sit in seats where the players sit during the game and walk through the tunnel where the players come out of every game!


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Most recently, I had another Arsenal experience. This time I got to see an actual Arsenal game at the stadium. Even though it was just the under 18 Arsenal team, it was still a really good game and tickets were a lot more affordable than an actual Arsenal game. Just to give you an idea, to see an actual official Arsenal game it costs around £90-£150. The game I paid to see was only £4 (much more affordable for a college student living on a budget). Tonight’s game was the semi-finals for the Under 18 FIFA cup Arsenal versus Manchester City. The winner of the game would move on to the finals. The atmosphere I’d imagine was a lot more laid-back compared to an actual Arsenal game, but still fun nonetheless. There was still some singing and swearing, but more mild than the pub on game day. Arsenal and Manchester City tied, but Manchester moved on because they had the better record.

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I’m beginning to really like football, or at least the atmosphere that comes with it! It makes me miss playing sports back home! I can’t wait to be home cheering on Steelers Nation!

But for now, Go Arsenal! COYG (Come On You Gunners)!




Topics: study abroad, London, Gina McKlveen, football, soccer, Arsenal, Come On You Gunners, stadium tour

My Day As A Tourist

Posted by Gina McKlveen on Thu, May 19, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Friday, March 25, 2016

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Today was the first sunny day in a while and it finally started to feel like spring here in London. The temperature was in the 60s, there was lots of sunshine, the skies were bright blue and everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather. I had been waiting for a day like today to walk around London with my camera and become a tourist for the day.

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I’ve been in London for almost three months now and the more time I spend here, the smaller and smaller London becomes. I don’t mean that in a literal sense the city is shrinking, but more that my perspective of London is getting smaller. When I first arrived London seemed huge, overwhelmingly so. Now, I think I can find my way around the city pretty easily. I’m getting the hang of where I am in relation to other parts of the city. I don’t need to depend on Google Maps as much (although it is extremely helpful). And I even feel comfortable giving someone directions.

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London really isn’t as big as I thought it was when I first got here; the more exploring I do, the more familiar I’ve become with what it means to be a tourist and a true Londoner.

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So in case you find yourself in London some day here is a list of do’s and don’ts of how to act like a Londoner:


Do be polite: Kindness is key in England (personally I think that should be a general rule in every part of the world, but the Brits know best).

Do drink tea: It is not a stereotype! Stop in for afternoon tea or grab your “cuppa” on the go.

Do say ‘sorry’: Whether you did something or not, your best bet is to apologize anyway. ‘Sorry’ is probably one of the most frequent phrases used among Londoners.

Do stand on the right side of the escalatorOnly use the left-hand side of the escalator if you plan on walking up.

Do wear blackI really don’t know what it is, but black never goes out of season here.

Do look right: Remember to look right, left, right because cars are moving on the opposite side of the road in London!

Do wait for the little green man: If you are nervous about crossing the street, just wait for the little green man to tell you when to cross.

Do let people off the train first: Common sense, but let people off the train first before you rush on. There is plenty of time before the doors close.

Do hold on to something on the Tube: Unless you want to fall on your face, I suggest grabbing hold of something.



Don’t talk on the Tube: O.K., you can talk, but don’t be obnoxiously loud. The only people who talk loud on trains are tourists and drunkards.

Don’t make eye contact on the Tube: Unless you want to be uncomfortable for the next five tube stops do not make eye contact.

Don’t stand in the middle of the street: People are moving on the streets. Don’t get in their way; pull off to the side if you need to stop.

Don’t lose your oyster card: Your oyster card is your transportation lifeline in London.

Don’t wear flip-flops: I feel like this should be a universal don’t, but seriously you will be doing a lot of walking so save the flip-flops for the beach.

Don’t tip: Although this might be weird for Americans to get used to, some Londoners find it offensive if they are given a tip since it is not a customary procedure in London.


Hope these tips come in handy if you are ever in London!




Topics: study abroad, London, Gina McKlveen, Do's and Don'ts, tourism

Making My Dream a Reality: Traveling to Rome

Posted by Anastasia Jaegar on Wed, May 18, 2016 @ 04:00 PM

It is hard for me to believe that a dream I've had since I was so young is finally becoming a reality. All of my close friends and family know that I have always wanted to travel. I am beyond blessed that Saint Vincent offers trips to other countries and has so many excellent study abroad opportunities. I have never been out of the country before but that is soon about to change.

Chapelle_sixtine_plafond.jpgI think that the beauty of Rome will leave me breathless. The Sistine Chapel and the Trevi Fountain are high on my list of places that I cannot wait to see! This trip would not have been possible without the support of my family and friends.

With all great opportunities comes hard work and that has certainly been the case for me as I’ve worked two jobs to fund this trip. One job was at a local bakery (The Original Pie Shoppe in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania) and the other was as a work-study student for campus ministry. I am beyond grateful and I am so excited for the lifelong memories that will result from this trip to Italy. I will be documenting as much of my journey as I can, so please stay updated if you want to see more!

Tutte le strade conducono a Roma (all roads lead to Rome)!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Topics: study abroad, Italy, Rome, Anastasia Jaegar, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain

Row Your Boat Gently Down The Thames

Posted by Gina McKlveen on Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Last week, I watched 360 crew teams row down the River Thames to compete for the fastest time. Rowing is another popular sport in London and this particular race was opened to teams from all over the world. Among the competition were some past, current and future Olympic rowers. I had never seen a rowing race before, but I know there are a few teams at American universities. My favorite part of the day was hearing the person at the front of the boat (known as the cox) yelling at the rest of the team. Some of the coxes were encouraging while others were very stern and borderline scary!

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I liked the rowing environment so much last weekend that I decided I would go back to watch the traditional Easter race between Oxford and Cambridge. The women went first. Cambridge’s women’s team sank its boat, which hasn’t happened since the 1970s, resulting in a win for the women’s Oxford team. I got to see both Oxford and Cambridge’s men’s teams carry their boats into the river and then flip off their wellies (rainboots) onto the shore. I made my way to the other side of the bridge to get a clearer view of the start of the race. It was windy and cold and I couldn’t imagine how much colder the guys must have been on the water. Once the race started I moved to the big screen to follow the rest of the race. Cambridge’s men’s team blew Oxford out of the water (literally). Oxford still has more wins than Cambridge, but this year Cambridge has the bragging rights. It was an unforgettable way to spend Easter!


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Topics: study abroad, London, Gina McKlveen, Cambridge, rowing, Oxford

Ready to Go to Rome

Posted by Nicole Berry on Fri, May 13, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Hello everyone!

I can’t believe that, in less than a week, I will be in the amazing city of Rome! This city has been on top of my bucket list since the time I’ve known what Vatican City was! 11 other students from Saint Vincent and me will be traveling to Rome next Wednesday, May 18. I am super excited to take this journey with my fellow Bearcats!!

What I’m most excited about:

Screen_Shot_2016-05-13_at_10.35.38_AM.pngI am most excited to see St. Peter’s Square/Cathedral. As a devoted Catholic, I am so excited to see where our Pope lives! We also have an audience with the Pope which I will be super excited about!

We will also be taking side trips to Assisi, Florence and Subiaco! These 10 days will be something I will never forget and I can’t wait for this trip!

Traveling overseas is not new to me; I was in Spain in 2012. I was so excited about going back to Europe I jumped on this chance to go to Rome!

This will be an adventure of a lifetime and I can’t wait to blog all about it!

Stay tuned!


(Photo Credit: @franciscus via Instagram)

Topics: Pope Francis, Rome, Florence, St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Assisi, Nicole Berry

A Magical Evening at the Harry Potter Studio Tour

Posted by Gina McKlveen on Thu, May 12, 2016 @ 03:50 PM

Thursday, March 24, 2016


A while ago, I found a Groupon online to go to the Warner Brothers Studios for the Making of Harry Potter Tour in London. The ticket included a free souvenir, a meal including butterbeer, the tour and a chance to meet Warwick Davis, the actor who played Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter series.


We spent a solid five hours at the studios and I still don’t think I saw everything there was to see! Here are a few of my favorite moments from the tour!


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It was seriously magical! I felt like a little kid the whole time! Now, it’s time for a Harry Potter movie weekend.




Topics: study abroad, London, England, Gina McKlveen, Harry Potter, Warner Bros., Hogwarts, Making of Harry Potter Tour, butterbeer

Brick Lane Market Day

Posted by Gina McKlveen on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Sunday, March 20, 2016


Today Kenzie and I spent the morning at another one of London’s famous markets. This time we headed up the road to Brick Lane in Shoreditch. Brick Lane is a place for hipster and trendy youth in London. This part of Shoreditch is abundant in vintage clothing, tattoo parlors and graffiti art.


Our first mission was to find the famous rainbow bagels.

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Mission accomplished.

After finishing our bagels, we walked down Brick Lane and popped into the Sunday Upmarket to browse around at the different vendors and food stalls. We couldn’t resist trying some chocolate-covered fruit before heading back home.

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Later that afternoon I decided to check out some vintage clothing stores on Brick Lane. I managed to find a vintage Levi denim jacket and a pair of velour leggings to add to my wardrobe.


I passed a lot of cool street art while in Brick Lane and, rumor has it, there are some Banksy pieces around here, so I’ll definitely be back to check that out once the weather gets nicer!

Here’s to another successful Sunday Market Day in London!



Topics: study abroad, Gina McKlveen, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Sunday Upmarket, Banksy, rainbow bagels

Reflecting on Italy: Some of the Best Days of My Life

Posted by Emily Samara on Sat, May 07, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

image3-2.jpgAs I enter into my final week in Rome, I am overwhelmed with joy. These almost four months have been some of the best days of my life. Not only did I find my new home in Italy, I learned to live on my own, I can say some words in another language, I found THE best gelato place ever, I have seen so much history and I have made some incredible friendships. I was so blessed to be able to share this experience with the people closest to me and show them a place that I now call home. I made my way not only around Rome but to Venice, Milan, Assisi, Florence, Tuscany, Turi, Positano, Sorrento, Capri, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily, London and even Stockholm. And I met family I didn’t even know existed!

I remember being a little girl knowing that my great-grandpa came over to America from Italy. I used to brag to all my friends that I was Italian and that one day my family and I were going to travel to Italy. Well, here I am getting ready to leave the place I have always dreamed of visiting. Little did I know then that I would actually live in Italy and make it my home.

I could not have done any of this without the support of my favorite people who not only came to visit me but were there for me when school was getting stressful or when I just needed to talk.

If you ever are presented the opportunity to study abroad, do not hesitate to do it. Everyone’s experience will be different, but you will learn so much about yourself and what you are truly capable of. Times do get tough, and I am not saying it is the easiest thing to do. But the reward at the end is something that you will forever hold close to your heart.


Below are just a few of the things I learned during my four months abroad (if I listed them all this blog would be 100 pages).

  1. Using a drying rack instead of a clothes dryer isn’t as bad as it seems.
  2. After many days of cooking, I finally figured out how to cook single portions.
  3. Walking is my new favorite thing.
  4. Traveling alone isn’t as scary as it seems.
  5. I love pizza.
  6. I love gelato.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my time in Italy. Thank you again for all the love and support that you sent my way. I cannot wait to see what my next adventure is!


Topics: study abroad, Italy, travel, Rome, Emily Samara, family, gelato

About this Blog

In Bearcats on the Road, students chronicle their lives while studying abroad or completing internships away from campus.

Michael Orange


How can you study abroad?

Learn more about studying abroad at Saint Vincent College

Current Bloggers


Hi! My name is Nicole Berry and I am currently a junior studying communication and psychology. I also am minoring in children studies. I am a commuter and currently live in Delmont, PA. I am hoping to graduate in May 2017 and go on to graduate school for my Masters in Social Work and Juris Doctorate.


Anastasia Jaeger is a junior English education major with a minor in German and a minor in peace and justice. She has always dreamed of being able to travel around the world and is thankful that Saint Vincent College has these opportunities available to students. When she is not at college, she is likely working her part-time job at a local bakery. In the future, she hopes to travel more and do humanitarian work or teach high school students English.


Emily Samara
Major: Psychology
Year: Junior
Location: Rome, Italy
School: John Cabot University


Gina McKlveen is a sophomore English and Studio Art double major at Saint Vincent College. She also intends on completing a Literature and Politics concentration. This spring semester she will be spending nineteen weeks in London, England, studying on a Literature and Culture track offered through the CIEE Global Institute in London. On campus, Gina is a member of the Benedictine Leadership Studies Program, a Culture and Entertainment writer for Saint Vincent’s student-run newspaper, The Review and is also involved in Saint Vincent’s Art Club. Outside of her studies, she volunteers at local food pantries, roadside cleanups, Relay for Life and the Canyon Heroes Project. Some of her broader achievements include being the Salutatorian of her high school graduating class and the first place winner in the American Legion’s statewide essay writing contest. After graduation from Saint Vincent College, Gina plans on attending law school and pursuing a career as a civil rights lawyer. 

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