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University Students Study Abroad in Italy


"I couldn’t believe how advanced they were in ancient times!"


Fifteen Western New England University students traveled to the city of Sorrento, Italy for 3 weeks to study and immerse themselves in Italian culture. Adjunct College of Arts and Sciences professor, Dr. Rocco Mesiti, and Professional Educator of Communications, Brenda Garton-Sjoberg, taught two courses at one of WNEU's international partner institutions, Sant’Anna Institute. 

"This trip is important to me because I hope to one day live and work abroad," explained junior Kelly Donahoo. "As an academic Global Scholar student at Western New England University I am required to study abroad and this trip was a great first step, and one that I can incorporate this into my capstone project senior year." 

While at Sant’Anna Institute, Dr. Mesiti taught the course CUL 224-Italian Culture, which provided students with a comprehensive understanding of ancient and modern Italian culture and its people. Prof. Brenda Garton-Sjoberg taught the course ILP 290-Covering Italy, which will help students become better writers and speakers through the perspective of a journalist reporting on the Italian culture and people in various media formats. 

"Pompeii was one of my favorite places. I found it amazing how the city was frozen in time by volcanic ash," remarked sophomore Gabrielle Babowicz. "I also couldn’t believe how advanced they were in ancient times. They had sliding doors, spas and Jacuzzis, running water fountains, bakeries, and even fast food restaurants."

Planned tours, guest lectures, and site visits both inside and outside of Sorrento allowed students to absorb the culture they studed in the classroom. Activities include site seeing, a guided tours of the Amalfi Coast, the Pompeii Ruins, a television station, an olive oil factory and more.

"Italy provided a breathtaking backdrop for the students to learn and live like Italians," said Prof. Garton-Sjoberg. "From experiencing the rich history and culture first hand - to the warm hospitality of local residents and educators at the Sant'Anna Institute, students tell me these culture courses provided a truly life-changing experience. In fact, on the last day of class in Sorrento, some of the students were filled with tears that it was time to leave."  

"Studying in Italy for three weeks has given me an opportunity to expand my horizons beyond the small farm town I was raised in. I was blessed with 15 new friends, two professors that I will continue to turn to as mentors and friends, an abundance of inspiration, the courage to try new things, and I'm filled with memories that will be with me forever," exchaimed senior Julianna Samson.

"Every night, I would sit on the terrace of my apartment in Sorrento and watch the streets below come to life as the sun slowly set on the bay," explained junior Katelyn Arthur. "Whether it was for thinking, doing homework, taking photographs, or just day-dreaming, that was my happy place." 

For more information on the University’s study abroad programs, click here or contact Dr. Josie Brown-Rose at jbrownro@wne.edu.