Family Reunion in Bari by Steve Pinell

While at Alfred State during the Fall 2013 semester, my Strategic Marketing professor, Dr. Lisa McCool, thought up a new idea. The idea consisted of, creating and using a Marketing Plan as a source for a final project in place of traditional final exams. This would allow students to make a difference in a new and emerging opportunity for a study abroad program offered by SUNY Alfred. After being approved for the program that’s when my perspective on everything changed.

I began to inquire on the program, learning about its features, benefits, and offerings. As I learned more about the program, I decided that this opportunity would truly benefit me, but being that I was scheduled to graduate in December of 2013, the opportunity seemed unfeasible for me. Dianne Tuzzolino, a business professor at Alfred, recommended that I take on the Global Studies minor in Sorrento, but I did not feel it was smart to delay my graduation, and incur more debt in loans just for a minor, so I declined the offer. However, about two weeks later, with the help of Prof. Tuzzolino, Sant’Anna created a new internship and scholarship opportunity for marketing and communications working for their organization. When I heard about this, I considered it an offer I could not refuse.

Today, I find myself in Sorrento enjoying the beautiful scenery, great food, amazing people, and much more. By taking part in the internship opportunity, I have been able to partake in something I never thought I would be able to experience. By delaying my graduation one semester, I have been able to add a minor to my degree and have the chance to put an international internship on my resume. Not only that, but on a more personal level, I have had the chance to meet family that I have never met before

Steve Pinell (far left) stands with his family at their home in Bari, Italy.

My grandfather was born in Italy, with roots in a small town called Rutigliano, outside of Bari. Although, he is not my biological grandfather, he raised me and served as a father figure throughout all my life. Sant’Anna gave me the opportunity to see where he was raised, meet my family on his side, and immerse myself into a completely emotional, yet fulfilling experience walking through the streets of Rutigliano. Again, I never would have thought that I would travel while in college, let alone to Europe, and more so, to see family in Italy that I have never met. Sant’Anna has certainly proved to me that they provide you with “the experience of a lifetime.”


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