Kendall’s Column: Villanovans in Europe, Vegas, and Everything in Between


Courtesy of Anna O’Keefe

Senior Anna O’Keefe did some overseas traveling for her fall break.

Kendall Hayes, Columnist

As the week after fall break comes to a close, some Villanovans need a break from fall break… or maybe that’s just my friends and I. Through Instagram and Snapchat stories, it felt like Villanovans were all across the country, and some were even across the world. From Las Vegas to Italy to Kenya to Far Hills, New Jersey, Villanovans did not rest during the seven days off. 


Hundreds of Villanova students, myself included, packed up their bags and dignity and headed on the journey to one of the most magical places on Earth: Las Vegas, Nevada. A trip that was organized through the company All Roads Travel, this was the definition of an enigma. Prior to the week before the trip, it felt as if no one knew a singular detail about the itinerary that would ensue once we all touched town in Las Vegas. 


Las Vegas now holds a special place in Villanova senior Julia R.’s heart. She expressed her newfound love for the place.


“Gonna raise my kids in Las Vegas,” Julia said, full of excitement and laughter.


No need to fear, because after almost a five hour flight, Villanovans arrived safely in Vegas to take on the weekend. It was truly a once in a lifetime, otherworldly experience. I would get more into detail, but I think it is in every Villanovan’s best interest if the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” is followed. 


Other students, mostly juniors and seniors, had other plans for the break: Europe. This semester is the third semester since Villanova has continued allowing students to study abroad due to COVID-19 restrictions. Because of this, many juniors made the hajj to Europe to reunite friend groups for a week long European escapade. Junior Theresa McGannon explained her European adventure visiting friends. 


“Over fall break, I traveled to Italy to visit my best friend, who is studying abroad in Rome,” McGannon said. “It was so incredible to see her day to day life in a brand new city and to experience that with her for a week.” 


Seniors Anna O’Keefe and Cameron Castelli had their own little European adventure throughout the United Kingdom and Italy. O’Keefe explains how it felt to visit the place she studied abroad this time last year for the first time since. 


“I was anxious to see if the city that had such an incredible impact on my life would remember me like I remembered it,” O’Keefe said. “Rest assured it did. From my barista at my coffee shop, to Gisueppe’s gelato, and my former professors, it was all the same.” 


Villanova students also traveled to Kenya for the Social Justice Documentary program made possible by Villanova’s Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. This group of students traveled to Siaya county in Kenya to create an inspiring film. Senior Luke Denatale discussed his experience over break. 


“Traveling to Siaya County in Kenya for my Social Justice Documentary class this fall break was something that will live in my heart for the rest of my days,” Denatale said. “Not only were the people and their stories so beautiful, but the whole trip forced me to grow as a man, a filmmaker, and as an individual.”


The weekend ended with many Villanovans back in familiar territory: New Jersey. The Far Hills Race Meeting, more commonly known as “the Hunt,” is a horse race that takes place in Far Hills, New Jersey. Villanovans from all around the Northeast stayed with their friends that live closest to the race event. Picture a Villanova basketball tailgate, but instead of Wells Fargo Stadium’s parking lot, it took place on a farm in the middle of New Jersey. 


Unfortunately for me, I have yet to experience such an exciting event. Instead, let’s just say I was still resting from my trip to Nevada because a chronic sinus infection and fever is what you get for waking up in Vegas.