The Vatican Internships

Lael Hoegen


Since 2004, Villanova’s Department of Communication has sent its students to take part in an amazing program at the Vatican in Rome. This program offers students the unique opportunity to work in the Vatican offices and at Catholic News Service while taking classes and learning Italian; this study and internship program is arranged through a partnership with Arcadia University and L’Universita Roma Tre. Villanova’s interns not only maintain an elite position at the Vatican, but they also gain cultural experience in beautiful Rome! Just ask Bridget Kelly, who took part in the program during her spring semester in 2012, along with two other students from Villanova.


Bridget interned at the Catholic News Service (CNS), a news agency that specializes in reporting domestic and international religious news. Because the team at CNS was small, Bridget, who had very little video and photo knowledge, strengthened her skills and even completed three video projects, which can be viewed on the CNS YouTube page. She also wrote and edited breaking news articles, helped film weekly papal audiences with the CNS videographer, attended news conferences and even created video projects about Italy and research information at the “sala stampa,” or press hall. The program also allows the students to take classes to learn more about Italian culture and history.


Ultimately, however, the experience is not about language; rather, it is about the students and how much they can gain from this opportunity. Bridget was able to travel while she was abroad. Three of her classes allowed her to travel throughout Italy, exploring places such as Bologna, Florence and Prato for weekend class trips. But, she also left the country and visited Spain, Ireland, Amsterdam, Prague, and Greece! All in all, Bridget said, “Working in the Vatican was indescribable. Even though none of the interns actually work inside the Vatican, we are still exposed to many different aspects and are allowed certain privileges.” Some of her most memorable moments include her experiences at papal audiences on Wednesdays. With her press pass she secured through the internship, Bridget was able to experience something very few people can say they have – she has been within two feet away from Pope Benedict! 


The Villanova Vatican Internship program offers Villanova Students an unparalleled opportunity to live, learn, and breathe in the culture of Rome. It is truly an experience of a lifetime that also is quite an impressive addition to one’s resume.



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