Sant’Anna Institute is blessed to have so many Italian-American students seek out their past and experience where their famiy lived generations ago. Steve, a student last Spring 2014, wrote this wonderful reflection on Italian-American experience. He traveled from Sorrento to the Eastern Coast to visit Rutigliano, Bari. We love to hear from our past students, Enjoy!
While at SUNY Alfred State College 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 Alfred State. 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. Diane 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, thus I declined the offer. However, about two weeks later, with the help of Ms. Tuzzolino, Sant’Anna created a new internship, and scholarship opportunity, for marketing and communications for their organization. By delaying my graduation one semester, I would be able to add a minor to my degree and have the chance to put an international internship on my resume. When I heard and considered this opportunity, I considered it an offer I could not refuse.
Eight months ago, I had the privilege of arriving in Sorrento, taking in the beautiful scenery, great food, amazing people, and much more. By taking part in the internship opportunity, I was able to partake in something I never thought I would be able to experience. I had the opportunity to present the program to prospective students, University leaders, and members of the community, serve as a leader and ambassador for Sant’Anna among faculty, staff, and students, and represent the institute at the largest study abroad conference in the world, the annual NAFSA Conference which was held in San Diego, CA in May. Not only that, but on a more personal level, I have had the chance to meet family that I have never met before.
My grandfather was born on the Eastern coast of Italy, with roots in a small town called Rutigliano, located outside of the major port city, 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.
Upon leaving Sant’Anna, I was more than satisfied with the experiences I took part in, the impacts I made, and the opportunities that were made available to me as a result of my work for the organization. I took with me a collection of life long memories, images, thoughts, and much more that I will never be able to forget. I have made life-long friends who grew to become brothers whom I hope to visit at some point in the upcoming year. 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 gave me the opportunity to truly take part in “the experience of a lifetime.”
- Steve Pinell, SUNY Alfred State College, Spring 2014 Sant’Anna Intern