Northwestern students to travel to Italy for summer study abroad course

Northwestern students and Dr. Jason Lief pose for a photo in front of the Vatican, holding certificates of completion for finishing their pilgrimage from Assisi to Rome in 2017.

Five Northwestern College students will travel to Italy May 18 through June 1 as part of a program offered by the college’s off-campus study office.

Dr. Jason Lief, professor of biblical and theological studies, will lead a course exploring religious beliefs and practices in the Mediterranean country. Students will participate in a two-week spiritual pilgrimage that follows the journey of St. Francis from Assisi to Rome—and in doing so, will have the opportunity to examine their own faith. The pilgrimage will take them through rural Italy, where they will stay in hostels, homes and monasteries in small towns and villages. Morning and evening worship will be part of each day.

“Students will experience Italy via the backroads and villages, where they will meet locals, eat delicious food, and interact with the culture,” Lief says. “They will also learn about themselves as we walk through the beautiful countryside. It’s a wholistic, transformative experience.”

The study abroad course is worth four credits and fulfills the Northwestern Core cross-cultural studies requirement.