How Study Abroad Teaches Respect

by John Gavin

Studying abroad is something I will never forget. It has provided me with many experiences I will never forget. It has allowed me to travel to many different historic locations like Pompeii, Rome, and Berlin, Germany. All these places are astonishing. But, these memories are not what I will think about most when I move back to the United States. I will always think about how it made me grow up and learn to respect another culture.

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Coming to a different culture, there are differences everywhere I go. One of the first things I realized when I got here was how far behind the U.S.A. they were from a technology standpoint. People still don’t have a washer machine. This made me realize how privileged I am at home. It also made me respect the locals, because not everything is easy for them. They have to work harder for everything in life. They have to think in advance for when they want to go and do something. They can’t just say at any time of the day say, “I need clothes”, and hour and a half later, they have clean clothes. The washing machine alone takes roughly three hours. This makes them have to be proactive.

Another reason I respect the people of Italy is because they are family oriented. They work for their family business. They are not pushing away from their family in their teenage years to go out with their friends. They are obligated to work at their local business. Most of them take pride in this because they know, one day this could be their business. By knowing they could own the business, they all treat incoming customers very respectfully. These businesses have been in their families for generations. The people who work at these places make it obvious they are trying to pass down a legacy that was started, in many cases, before they were born.

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This leads me to the main reason I’ve gained respect in Italy. I am currently an intern for my local school Sant’Anna Institute. By walking around town and noticing everything I have talked about above, it has made me take this same approach to my work at my institution. The staff truly does treat you like family. They want to hear what you have to say. They also want to work with you, not above you. This allows for me to truly believe in the work I’m doing. It also will allow me to respect the people around me more when I go back to the U.S.A. It will allow me to do this because I will understand how unity and appreciating another perspective is the true way to work in unison. This has truly made me a better person and will make my work life back in the United States much more enjoyable for myself and everybody around me.

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Community Rehabilitated Turtle Release

Katie Hibbard, April 23, 2016

And even I; environment-lover, can be reminded of the simple, special act of life returning back into it’s rightful home… Last Friday April 22, which also happened to be the day our world celebrates mother earth, I had the privilege to participate in something very special. Two sea turtles were to be set free, back into the wild after being nursed back to health for many years. Perhaps one part of this excursion that made it so special was the participation of my fellow Sant’Anna classmates though!

Prior the excursion, I didn’t know a lot of details and therefore was not being a good planner. Due to the lack of information that I had for my friends from Sant’Anna Institute, I was weary that any of them would even show up for this evert. I knew it was going to be rad no matter what occurred because Punta Campanella, Mimi, and the sea turtles never let me down, although from previous excursions going completely divergent then planned, I didn’t want to be too sure of anything… not even the weather.

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The beach at Nerano. Photo courtesy of Kendal Lariviere 

Winding down to the boats docks in Nerano, Mimi and I were cruising way too excited to see the sea turtles, although almost more importantly on my mind at the moment was the students who took the bus from Sorrento that morning. I was
hesitantly thinking to myself, wow there is no way that they would even be able to find this little beach! I helped Mimi unload wetsuits and cameras for
Alba and Francesco, both friends of his who would be taking photos of the turtles underwater. Although I was doubtful, I kept looking around for any sign of the sing,
wandering Sant’Anna Student (sic).

To my utmost surprise, I think my heart leapt a little inside when I saw about two dozen Sant’ Anna Student sitting on the beach just looking out into the beautiful stormy Mediterranean. I dropped the wetsuits and ran over to greet them! I wanted to hug each and every one of them super tight; I couldn’t believe this awesome turnout. Perhaps they weren’t as excited to see me, but man were they excited to see those grande tartarugas. The two sea turtles were brought down to the beach and loaded into the boat. I don’t think there was one friend of mine that wasn’t smiling and documenting these moments.

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Sant’Anna students. Photo coutesy of Katie Hibbard. 

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Katie. Photo courtesy of Katrina Syrakos.

The turtles were accompanied by our marine biology teacher at Sant’Anna institute and a few German researchers who had been working with the turtles prior. Another two boats came into the docks in Nerano; one carrying more then three dozen kids to experience the release and also The Punta Campanella boat with the whole team on board. One turtle was a male and the other was a pregnant mother which I personally felt so happy for. Could you imagine how excited she must have been to be let back into the Mediterranean knowing the good life in-store for her babies?

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Tartaruga. Photo courtesy of Rose Gerdes. 

 

Cameras were being tested, wetsuits and masks being fitted according, and then the turtles were loaded into the third boat. I was fortunate enough to be on this boat with Mimi, the researchers and most importantly the anticipating turtles. Swooshing and bouncing, with the wind in my hair, along the water felt so good. We motored about 1 mile away from shore and then killed the engine. When all the boats were in good position and the divers were in the water the first sea turtle, Domenico, was unleashed into the wild. He took off like it was no bodies business! I truly feel as though he could feel our excitement for his departure; cheering and whistling from the boats! Then to my surprise, Mimi grabbed my camera and said, “Katie your need both hands girl! Let loose the mother!” I couldn’t believe it! Mimi wanted me with a friend on the other side to let the mama full of her babies into The Mediterranean. I was truly honored to do this for her and her family inside.

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Releasing Mama. Photo courtesy of Katie Hibbard.

She was no light load and before I knew it she was in the water, happily swimming and looking back at us with a thankful smile. Cheers and high-fives were passed around! We then headed back for the shore. I took these few moments of wind blowing my hair back and salt water softly coating my face to thank God for the crystal water, the incredibly strong sea turtles, the lastly but very importantly the people that I got to share this special time with.

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A community event. Photo courtesy of Katie Hibbard. 

Excerpts from an Internship Abroad

in Marine Biology and Conservation At Punta Campanella

by Katie Hibbard

A Change in Plans” – 12 February 2016

Thursday morning was rainy and cold, but never the less a perfect day to begin my internship work with Meme at Punta Campanella. Upon arriving, I was fortunate to meet the impressive characters that form(sic) the Punta Campanella crew. 

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Punta Campanella HQ

While sharing an espresso(sic) with Meme and going over our big plans for the day, he received a phone call. He took a long breath as he put down the phone with a curious and joyful smile on his face said(sic), “a sea turtle was captured in the fishing nets in Porto di Salerno and we need to rescue it!” My eyes got big and round with excitement! I couldn’t help but think to myself, “mama mia did I end up with the coolest internship or what?”

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A turtle is comfortable and can survive on land with its shell, therefore it is an easier rescue… Meme explained that after making 130 rescues by himself, it would be nice if Punta Campanella had their own rescue station… All the fisherman know to call him when they have one in danger and he believes that if he stops this process and relationship with them then the calls (would) lessen(sic) and even stop coming (in for rescues).

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Another turtle saved!

Jacques Cousteau” – 9 February 2016

In the thought of keeping an extraordinary environment simply the same, my time here in Italy is very similar. Welcoming me with kisses, food, and cheer, the Italians are some of the most warm people I have ever met(sic), therefore leaving the pacific ocean and jumping into a whole new world has gone smoothly.

 

While in Italy I feel it is right to live and flow in the wakes and motions of the beautiful culture already grounded; drink hot tea with sweet toast in the morning, take a siesta and enjoy a drink in the afternoon, embrace a slow meal with many flavors, family, and friends into the late evening.

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Heritage Interpretation” – 1 March 2016

So far, the weather has been a little too chilly to swim in The Mediterranean each day, although when it warms up I am very excited to get in with the amazing water and sea creatures. Sadly, the diesel and gas loss on the streets will slowly find its way into the water not being very healthy for the marine life on the peninsula. Sorrento is home to many different sea creatures many of which the locals eat, save, and cook up for their families. The health of the sea animals is very important because not only are we draining chemicals into their home but we can also end up eating these ourselves if the fish are not healthy and full of nutrients.

Beach Clean Up”– 18 April 2016

[We] had a big day ahead of us; meeting several other students… to catch a bus to Crappola(sic) where we were to hike an hour down into the beach, clean it, take a swim and a lunch break, and then end it with a hike out…

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After we spent some time interacting with the cattle, breathing in the fresh mountain/coastal air, embracing flowers and different plants, and enjoying one another’s(sic) presence, Mimi and I got to enlighten everyone about our work at Punta Campanella together. I let everyone know that I am currently doing Heritage Interpreting of a protected area here on the peninsula, known as Ieranto. So far my focus has been on studying the archeology, history, and overall feelings through researching the history and interviewing different key people in The Baia of Ieranto.

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A beautiful place to describe heritage conservation

 

I hope to soon be able to communicate to visitors, friends, and family the importance and “magical-feel”of Ieranto Baia on a educational, natural, recreational, and personal level.

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The Beach Clean Up Group

Teaching in Sorrento: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago we were able to share an international professor’s opinion on living and working in Sorrento. We are happy to bring you another perspective from a member of our international teaching staff! Beyond simply becoming a part of Italian life in Sorrento, our professors also get the exciting opportunity to watch their students grow and learn in a foreign environment. It’s a rewarding process for professors to see their students adapt to a new way of life and thrive in an unfamiliar culture.

Here’s what another one of our current international professors thinks of the opportunities that her students have through their study abroad experiences:

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“This experience gives our students a foundation in cultural awareness and helps prepare them to participate in a global economy. They broaden their horizons, realize their potential and have an appreciation for other cultures as well as their own. We are truly an international living, learning community. The students work together very closely. They become problem solvers – using all resources available to them. For example: joint evening meal – (manage budget, plan meal, shop (communicate in Italian), prepare, cleanup), they travel – all over Europe and study together, etc. Our students have expressed that they feel a part of the Sorrento community. Sorrento is beautiful, hospitable, safe, a warm and welcoming community. They arrive as visitors and leave feeling a part of the community…I feel privileged to have worked with these young adults; it’s an honor to share this awesome experience with them. I feel passionate about helping students benefit from this opportunity. This is a wonderful experience that prepares our students to become global citizens and participate in a global economy.”

—Professor Dianne Tuzzolino, Alfred State College Business Department

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Alfred State Business Students Spring 2016. Photo courtesy of: Studio Business Sorrento

 

No matter what students (and professors!) do during their time in Sorrento, there’s always an opportunity to learn! Our professors not only get to have this educational experience themselves, but have the chance to see their students grow educationally and culturally. Teaching abroad in Sorrento then becomes both educational and rewarding— what’s not to love?

Employer Benefits

We have already mentioned the many ways in which a student can have rewarding experiences from an internship abroad, but what about the employers? By having Sant’Anna students as interns, the employers at local businesses can also benefit! Our international student interns can positively impact the companies they work for over the course of their internship in various ways. They bring fresh perspectives, have an excitement to learn, and provide a platform to spread the word about the companies they are employed by.

With every new addition to a company, there comes a new set of ideas and outlooks. However, when these new additions come from someone that is from a completely different culture, their input becomes even more valuable! Sometimes, we can be restrained by our own culture and unable to see past it in certain ways. Though there isn’t anything wrong with living and working in the culture that you grew up in, working with a person who can bring a fresh perspective to your business from a cultural standpoint can provide new opportunities! An international student intern has the ability to see a local business from an outsider’s point of view, which is often a quality that can help bring about positive changes within a company!

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Student intern Knakita Harris with fellow employees at Restaurant Tasso and internship coordinator Emily Hammeren

As an employer, one of the best parts of having a student intern is simply the fact that they’re students. This means that they are working for a company specifically to learn about it and understand how it works. Student interns aren’t uninterested employees who are just working to get a paycheck. Instead, they are passionate workers that are not only interested in understanding a company, but also excited about learning new skills within that company. Nothing’s better than teaching someone who’s excited to learn!

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Student intern Alyssa Jooyeon Cho with coworkers at Tempio Travel

There are few people that are better at spreading information than college students are. Students are in constant contact with one another and the greater community via social media and word of mouth. Because of this continuous contact, employers can be sure that their companies will reach new audiences. Student interns are sure to talk about their experiences with their roommates, friends, and fellow students, causing more people to become interested in the companies that they work for. Sant’Anna also encourages collaboration between student interns, and loves to see interns from different companies work together to get other students involved in the work of their employers’ companies! In these ways, student interns not only broaden the audience of company, but also get more people interested in them, as well!

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Student intern Katie Hibbard leading fellow students on a hike and educating them about Punta Campanella’s mission

A partnership between Sant’Anna student interns and local employers is a win-win situation. The student is able to gain work experience in field that interests them and gain an understanding of the Italian business culture. An employer gains the unique perspective of a cultural outsider, an employee that is eager to learn, and an opportunity to spread their company’s message to new audiences. Student internships provide benefits for both student and employer, while also creating rewarding opportunities for everyone!

Teaching in Sorrento

Did you know that there are American, British, and other international professors that teach at Sant’Anna? Each semester there are a handful of professors who, like their students, choose Sorrento as their Italian home. However, instead of studying abroad, they’re teaching abroad!

Teaching as an international professor at Sant’Anna gives professors the opportunity to have a study abroad experience in their adult life. By working and living in a new culture, they can end up learning a lot about themselves and their profession just from seeing it from a new perspective. Professors end up becoming students themselves in this way— students of Italy!

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Photo courtesy of: Kendal Lariviere

Here’s what one of our current international professors think of life in Sorrento so far:

“It has been terrific to share this experience with my students. They are full of energy and curiosity, and they are adventurers, one and all. Like them, this is my first time in Sorrento (and in Italy) so I love that we are discovering it together. And, as if that weren’t enough, I was able to bring my teenaged-daughter, Maya, with me for most of the semester. I’m especially pleased that most of my students are taking my travel-writing course which is an excellent forum to process what we’re experiencing. When I look back on this time of our lives, I’ll have my own blogs, journals, pictures, and social media to help me recall it, but I’ll also have access to their blogs, social media, etc. to enhance those memories. I’m so grateful to have had this privilege!”

—Professor Scott Coykendall, Plymouth State University Communications Department

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Photo courtesy of: Scott Coykendall

Our international professors are able to develop unique relationships with their students because of their shared experiences in Sorrento. Being abroad allows students and professors to go beyond the traditional limitations of academia, and become explorers of Italy together! There are opportunities to craft curriculums in Sorrento that wouldn’t be possible anywhere else. Teaching abroad in Italy is the perfect opportunity for professors to offer one-of-a-kind courses and expand their own international knowledge at the same time! Sounds like a dream come true!

Sorrento in the Fall

While Sorrento may be a popular summer travel destination, it is also the perfect place to study abroad in the fall! The best part about studying abroad in Italy, especially Southern Italy, during the fall semester is that you get all the benefits of the summer season, without the crowds of tourists. The weather will still be warm, allowing you to explore all that Sorrento has to offer during its peak season, but with a more tranquil, off-season feel. Seeking out an abroad program in Sorrento for the fall semester is an exciting way to experience all Southern Italy has to offer, while also earning those all-important college credits!

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Since the warmer temperatures lingers in Sorrento for the majority of the fall, you won’t have to wait for the weather to get nice to do all the amazing outdoor activities offered in the area! The temperature will be around 20°C (approximately 70°F), making it the perfect weather for a boat trip to Capri, complete with stunning views of the coast. In between classes, you could even squeeze in a quick trip to the Bagni della Regina Giovanna to enjoy the weather and a dip in the Mediterranean! If you’re looking for something a little more active, you could climb to the top of Vesuvius or take a picturesque hike along the Path of the Gods. Without the winter rain to hold you back, you can have a Sorrentine experience without boundaries!

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When studying abroad in Sorrento, one of the most important things you’ll be doing (besides studying) is eating! In the fall, you will get the opportunity to experience the fruits of the fall harvest in Southern Italy and taste some of the freshest dishes. From apples, to grapes, to peaches, there will be plenty of fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth! Broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes are just a few of the fall vegetables you’ll see popping up in local markets and in seasonal dishes. Not to mention, the famous Sorrento lemons will be featured everywhere— they are almost always in season here!

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Sorrento is always a good idea, no matter what time of year you’re here. The autumn season does have its perks, though. Participating in a semester abroad or internship in Sorrento during the fall semester will give you a uniquely limitless experience. Without weather issues holding you back, you are free to explore the many natural attractions in the area for most of the season. You’ll also get to experience Italian food during one of Southern Italy’s most bountiful harvests. If you’re looking for a place to entice your tastebuds, explore the breathtaking sights one of Europe’s most beautiful countries, and enjoy the summer warmth for a little bit longer, then a fall semester in Sorrento is the perfect fit! Vieni a Sorrento!