Junior Journey: Visions of Scenic Switzerland and Italy

Nov 8, 2019

by Sara Ramick '20

Picturesque mountains, bustling cities, and breathtaking views. These are just some of the experiences I had the opportunity to encounter on my Junior Journey to Switzerland and Italy this fall break. Together with 13 other students and our trip directors, we traveled to Europe to see three cities in these two captivating countries, visiting several vital organizations and destinations along the way. Recounted below are some of the highlights of our outstanding week abroad.


Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland
Observing the Jet d'Eau, one of the largest fountains in the world, at Lake Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite a long day of prior travel, we arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday evening with open minds as we began the first leg of our journey. Our trip was led by Dr. Krause, a healthcare administration professor in FSC’s Business Department. Therefore, our stop in Geneva featured tours of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization. Although students on the trip came from a variety of academic backgrounds, these visits provided pertinent information to all who participated, from nursing students to a communications major such as myself. The speakers were able to touch on various aspects within their respective companies that could be applied to all career paths, not just those interested in healthcare.

When we were not touring these renowned organizations, we were able to walk across the Swiss/French border to Mont Salève, where we rode a cable car to the top of the mountain and enjoyed lunch while overlooking spectacular views of Geneva. For me, a feature that made the city distinctive was that regardless of your location within Geneva, you are inevitably surrounded by hazy mountains painted across the horizon. The views were consistently nothing short of stunning.


The Arno in Florence, Italy
Marissa Mengelkoch '21, Sara Ramick '20, and Casie Rowe '20, pause on a bridge overlooking the Arno while exploring Florence, Italy.

An early morning train departure on Wednesday led us to our next destination of Florence, Italy. One of my favorite aspects of Florence was that everything is in close proximity, making it a very walkable destination, rather than having to rely on public transportation as we did in the other cities we visited. Here, we were given a walking tour of the city, learning about its rich history and numerous contributions to the Italian culture. We were also granted access to the Accademia Gallery, where we were able to view Michelangelo’s statue of David.

Florence gave us a lot of opportunities to explore on our own. Several of us took a trip to the Boboli Gardens, a park originally built for Florence royalty, which is now open to the public. Located on the mountainside, the gardens offer breathtaking views of bountiful vegetation while simultaneously overlooking the city of Florence. This was undoubtedly my favorite of the trio of cities; its humble elegance coupled with the richness of culture was beyond compare.

View from a bridge over the Arno
The bridges over the Arno provide a unique perspective of Florence.


Sara Ramick at Trevi Fountain in Rome
While touring Rome, Sara had the opportunity to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, which is said to ensure a return visit to the city.

During our stay in Rome, we visited the staple tourist destinations of the city. Upon our arrival, we were led on a walking tour of two of the most ancient sights in the city, the Colosseum and the Forum. Throughout the duration of the tour, we compared renderings of the two-thousand-year-old city in its glory to the remnants that continue to withstand time. Our visit also included a tour of Vatican City, where we viewed the prestigious paintings of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, as well as inside St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. The most essential stop in the city, for me, was visiting the Trevi Fountain, where we were able to partake in the tourist tradition of tossing a coin into its brilliant blue waters, which is said to ensure a return trip to Rome.

Overall, my Junior Journey was a prominent facet of my time at Florida Southern. Not only was I able to experience new cultures and places, but I was also able to visit organizations that opened my mind to the extensive organizational paths that I can choose to pursue in my field. Over the course of a week, during which vast amounts of gelato and pasta were consumed, new memories and friends were made, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities were presented that will forever be engrained among my fondest memories of my collegiate career.