Notre Dame College to Connect Literary Course with Educational Travel to Sicily, Rome

 A Notre Dame College professor of English and communication is teaching a new class on experiences of other cultures, complete with an academic tour of Sicily and Rome.

Sr. Eileen Quinlan, SND, Ph.D., has traveled to numerous countries in Europe, including a trip to France when she was a Notre Dame student. Now she is extending her love of global experience outside of the classroom. In spring 2016 Quinlan will teach a new course, “Americans Abroad,” a 300-level English class focused on the literature of Americans who have traveled to Europe including Henry James who wrote Daisy Miller and The American.

Students—even alumni and friends of the College—can enroll in the three credit hour literary inquiry course, which meets once a week, in conjunction with the Notre Dame’s spring break educational travel trip to explore “the crossroads of the Mediterranean,” Sicily and Rome.

“What I hope students learn is to see things with a critical eye as a third-person observer,” said Quinlan. “In the great script of life, it is good to see that Americans are not always the heroes. The way we Americans do things is not the only or the best way.”

College President Thomas G. Kruczek and his wife, Carrie, are expected to travel with the group. The tour will feature a week in Sicily visiting towns including Taormina, Agrigento and Palermo and two days in Rome.

Quinlan believes that travel changes lives, and she wants to share the eye-opening experiences with a younger generation. She reflected on her own personal travel, including trips to Ireland to visit family and to The United Kingdom, Italy, Germany and France with Notre Dame.

According to the professor, her time in France broadened her cultural horizons, often in humorous ways. She shared a story about being surprised that a phonebook in France had all French names in it, as she had grown so accustomed to the ethnic diversity of American names in a Cleveland phone book.

“I spent six weeks in France as a student,” said Quinlan. “It was filled with astonishing opportunities. Being immersed in a culture that is not your own teaches you about yourself. It was good for me to see other versions of life.”

Quinlan also shared a particularly moving moment when she stood, looking up at the towers of the Vatican. She said, as a nun, the magnitude of Christian history around her caused her to pause.

“In Europe, they don’t tear anything down. Time is compressed in space, and it gives you a new perspective on history,” said Quinlan.

This is the kind of experience that Quinlan believes is important for college students.

As for who plan to travel to Europe with the College, Quinlan gave some simple advice.

“Don’t walk around with a backpack, wearing white sneakers,” she said, “and take the literature course Americans Abroad.”

To learn more about the educational travel trip, contact For details on the course, email Information also is available online.

E.g., 06/18/19
E.g., 06/18/19