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Orvieto Semester Engages 22 Saint Anselm Students in Italy

March 22, 2017

Laura Lemire
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

Students interact with Prof. David George at a museumThis semester, 22 students are participating in Saint Anselm College's Study Abroad program, a Semester in Orvieto, Italy. Through the program, which has doubled in size since its inaugural year in 2016, students are taking advantage of the opportunity to continue the Saint Anselm education they love on the college's other Hilltop.

Living and learning in Orvieto, Italy, the Saint Anselm students are immersed in Italian culture and history. They've traveled to Monte Cassino, Rome, and Florence, visiting iconic sites and making connections between major Italian cultural achievements and Western civilization.

Accompanied by Saint Anselm faculty professors David George, Linda Rulman, and George Parodi, students take four courses as they would have on the college's New Hampshire campus. They live together in the historic district, just a few cobblestone streets away from their academic building, Centro Studi Citta di Orvieto.

Of the eight courses being offered, all the students take the required course, Chiavi, which provides an overview of the major Italian cultural achievements through readings and weekly field trips to iconic Italian sites.

For Joseph Bonin, a junior communication major, the Chiavi course has shown him "awe-inspiring views" throughout Italy. In their first week, he learned about the Etruscan people who predated the Roman empire. After reading about the ancient civilization, Bonin and the class traveled to Tarquinia to see Etruscan tombs, explored a museum, and visited the beach.

According to Bonin, the views from the city were breathtaking. "The mountains aren't like the ones we are accustomed to in New England," he says. "They sprawl, almost like little bumps scattered around the country with cities embedded between and sometimes on top of their plateaus. I've never seen anything like it before."

Bonin is especially fond of his experience in Rome. After learning about the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in Chiavi, the class traveled to the historic city, connecting their reading with personal experiences.

"Everywhere I turned was a piece of history," Bonin says of the trip. "I felt like I was strolling through a living, breathing museum covered in brick and marble. Every step I took, every corner I peered around, there was a beautiful monument, statue, or bridge."

For Caroline Ireland '19, choosing to study in Orvieto "has been one of the best decisions" she has made. She is enjoying the new experiences and fun activities the group does together, including a cooking class with Alba Frascarelli, one of the Italian chaperones. The Saint Anselm students spent a Wednesday night in Frascarelli's home learning to prepare traditional Italian dishes, including gnocchi and tiramisu.

"Our cooking class was a great opportunity to bond with the each other," Ireland notes. "There was flour flying everywhere, people literally playing hot potato while attempting to peel them, and sauce simmering in the background. By the end of the night we were all covered in flour and powdered sugar - from special carnivale treats Alba's mother made - but we were certainly full from the multiple bowls of gnocchi and the tiramisu!"

The social work and Spanish double major's decision to "gain an education by experiencing what the world has to offer" was an easy one, as she has always wanted to explore Italy.

"My mom's side of the family is from Naples, so I have wanted to study abroad in Italy for as long as I can remember," she says. Despite her ancestral heritage, Ireland did not know any Italian, and jokes: "I came here speaking roughly eight Italian words."

With the help of her Introduction to Italian course, Ireland is steadily learning the language. The course, taught by a local Italian professor, uses a communicative approach that focuses on using everyday life situations within the cultural context in which they occur. With the assistance of her teacher and friendly locals, she is quickly picking up the language.

In addition to expanding her linguistic capabilities, Ireland notes that studying abroad will help her develop as an individual. Beyond the obvious advantages of studying abroad such as enhancing their academic program and increasing cultural knowledge, students are gaining valuable perspectives that will help them mature into conscientious, well-rounded individuals.

"I knew for the sake of my leadership positions that it would be beneficial to go abroad now," she reflects. "When I return, I will use the knowledge, skills, and life experiences I've gained to positively impact the work I do at Saint Anselm."

Once the program ends, Ireland will begin a one-month internship in Granada, Spain, where she will work on her Spanish by immersing herself in the language and culture.

The study abroad program runs from January 26 to April 30. For more information about the program, visit the Study Abroad website, or visit the Anselmians abroad blog to hear firsthand accounts from students who have studied in Orvieto.

Story by Jonathan Burkart '18

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