by Alana Simrell, Jenna Iorio, Kara Moulton, Marie DeCarlo, Katherine Commale, Kayla Flanders and Lillie Bennett
Alana Simrell (Computer Science / Mathematics): Having been at Saint Joe’s for a few months now, I am continually surprised by just how much the city of Philadelphia has to offer. In addition, many of the places in the city offer great deals for college students to gain admittance for a reduced price or sometimes no price at all. I took advantage of one of these opportunities in the beginning of my first semester here, and it led me to discover one of my favorite museums–the Franklin Institute. Rather than simply looking at different artifacts, this unique museum immerses you in a full learning experience. I was able to learn more about the heart and brain by actually climbing through models of the organs and engaging in different activities that test things like reaction time or heart rate. It no doubt brought out the inner child in all of my friends and me, and we were singing songs about the anatomy of the heart for days afterwards. The Franklin Institute will certainly be a very fun experience that will also teach you so much that you didn’t know before.
Jenna Iorio (Mathematics): Living in the great city of Philadelphia provides many unique advantages to SJU students. If you love food as much as I do, you will be sure to appreciate the countless amazing restaurants and food vendors that Philly has to offer. While my friends and I love to celebrate birthdays and other events at refined restaurants, it is always fun to grab a casual bite at the Reading Terminal Market. My first, but surely not my last, time visiting Reading Terminal Market was during summer orientation. I have since returned multiple times to try the vastly diverse food options. From ice cream to cheesesteaks to Thai food, the Reading Terminal Market has some of the best food that I have ever tried. It is guaranteed to have the perfect meal to help you unwind after a busy week!
Kara Moulton (Chemical Biology): Being from Massachusetts, it has been amazing to explore Philadelphia and get to know my new surroundings so easily. The city is a quick train or Uber ride away, and once you’re there, there are so many activities and interesting places to choose from. My favorite place so far has been Dilworth Park. In December, I went to the ice rink there. It’s so fun to gather a group of friends and skate under the lights strung overhead, with City Hall directly behind us. And afterwards, we can always warm up with hot chocolate from the nearby vendors. From there, you have a quick ride back to campus, as well as a great new memory of the city!
Marie DeCarlo (Biology): Despite only being in Philly for a little over one semester now, I have already discovered some spots around the city that I really love to visit. One of those has been the Penn Museum. Whether I’m wandering around the art exhibits, participating in cultural events or chilling out in the garden by the fish pond, it is always a peaceful experience after a stressful week of classes. In October, I attended an event for El Dia de lost Muertos (Day of the Dead), which was decorated with fresh marigolds, a live Mexican mariachi band, and local vendors that were selling artwork. (I bought some!) It was a great opportunity to immerse myself in the Hispanic culture of Philadelphia. I’ve also enjoyed the museum at its less busy moments, especially the Warden Garden fountains and visiting the koi pond. They’ll come right over to you if they think you have food. Speaking of, I definitely recommend stopping in the Peppermill Cafe for a cinnamon roll! It won’t disappoint.
Katherine Commale (Biology): Blue Cross RiverRink captures the quintessential Christmas spirit and transports its guests into a true winter wonderland on the Delaware River Front in Philly. While I grew up visiting the RiverRink every December with my family, I decided to share this tradition with my friends when I got to Saint Joe’s After a quick Uber ride from campus, we were surrounded by log cabins, crackling fires and too many food vendors to choose from. I highly recommend going at night while the festive light displays are shining in full gear, and the Ben Franklin Bridge is lit up in the distance. Amidst the chaos of finals, visiting the RiverRink and sipping hot cocoa with friends is the perfect study break!
Kayla Flanders (Chemical Biology): As someone who has always lived near Philly but never had the luxury of living quite close enough, I am happy to report that Penn’s Landing has become one of my favorite spots to regularly visit. With a stunning skyline and waterfront views, I love to walk along the waterway next to the vendors and restaurants during the day. As the sky grows dark, Penn’s Landing comes to life with shimmering lights hanging from the overhead trees that create a canopy over beautifully colored hammocks. I love to grab a hammock with a friend and swing in the trees, catching up on life or enjoying ice cream from Franklin Fountain (located right in the park). I’ve shown up at Penn’s Landing in time to catch free outdoor concerts. It’s such a wonderful place and a “must-visit” when you are close to Philadelphia.
Lillie Bennett (Computer Science): Coming to Saint Joe’s, I was nervous that I would feel isolated being on a campus not directly in the heart of a city like New York, where I grew up. However, throughout these semesters, the location of this campus is just what I needed. I have found that when I want to get off campus or get a nice meal with some friends, I have plenty of options. If I want a shorter commute, I can simply take a shuttle down City Avenue to Panera, Chipotle, Snap Pizza or any number of other nearby restaurants. When these places get old or I miss being in a city, I can take public transportation or an Uber into Philly’s Center city. For me, this typically means visiting Chinatown and walking around Reading Terminal Market. I have always loved trying new foods and experiencing different cultures. In Philly, there are so many ways to fuel this passion of mine, especially in the realm of food. There is no limit to the amount of Bobs I can drink or the soup dumplings I can eat while in Chinatown. Philly has something to offer everyone, if they just give it a chance.