Spring has come and gone, and the students who embarked on the SBCC Rome and Paris Film Studies Program have returned home. After spending three months abroad, the irreplaceable memories they made will carry them through the rest of their lives. Ready to take on any challenge, they are taking their new perspectives, friendships, language skills, and more to their next journey, off to a new College, into the job world, or back on the SBCC campus to share with their new classmates. To commemorate their fantastic adventure, SBCC Professor Michael Stinson and student Nicole Montague have been cataloging their experience through photos and videos. Below are some of the many adventures of “the best group we’ve had so far” (Prof. Michael Stinson)
Each Spring, ACCENT San Francisco enlists the help of a local student intern to assist us with our day-to-day operations. This year’s intern was Kirsten Saldana, whose work with us inspired her to embark on her own study abroad adventure. As Kirsten prepares to leave the country for the first time, she discusses one of the things she is most looking forward to in Rome: the cuisine.
Good luck on your study abroad adventure in Rome, Kirsten, and thank you for being a truly valuable part of the ACCENT team!
Preparing to study abroad is both a very stressful and exciting experience. I’ve never been out of the country, so this process has made me nervous in ways I can’t begin to explain. I’m about to immerse myself in an unfamiliar country, with an unfamiliar culture, after an unfamiliarly long flight. Not to mention all of the paperwork and forms that need signing before I can even get to that part.
Today’s post rejoins the SBCC Rome and Paris Film Studies group as they venture out across Europe, from the well-trodden cobblestones of historic cities to the little-known, far flung corners of the continent. Student Blogger Jeffrey Leaf describes how travel and adventure have brought the group closer together and helped forge lasting friendships.
Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Barcelona, Brussels, Bologna, Capri, Casablanca, Cefalù, Florence, Malta, Madrid, Marrakech, Milan, Lake Como, Palermo, Pompeii, Venice. One of the best parts of Study Abroad is undoubtedly the weekends, whether one chooses to spend one’s time in their host city or go out and see new places. There is no shortage of places to travel in and around Italy. And for such a short time in Rome, the members of our group have surely been around. Rome’s central location at the bottom of Europe and in the middle of the Mediterranean guarantees a buffet of places to choose from, whether you are an experienced traveler or completely new to the experience. Continue reading
Jeffrey Leaf, the official student blogger for SBCC’s Rome and Paris Film program, continues his reflections on the program, this time discussing their many field trips, and how those special visits have helped them grow as filmmakers and explorers.
From the star-struck avenues of “Cinecittà” to the Banks of Tiber Island to the glossy beaches of Ostia, there has been no shortage of great field trips on this program. Leaving the classroom every now and then to go explore the various sites and suburbs of Rome has been incredibly rewarding. It is both a fun way to keep the class engaged in the subject matter and also get to know Rome a little better. After all, sometimes the best education comes from simply being in a culturally significant place. Continue reading
This Spring, ACCENT has teamed up with Santa Barbara City College for a multi-city Film Studies program in Rome and Paris. SBCC student Jeffrey Leaf has been selected as the program’s Official Student Blogger, and we are very pleased to publish his reflections as he and his classmates explore the wonders and challenges of the study abroad experience. This week, we check in with Jeffrey as he reflects on his experience studying abroad in Rome, and his feelings as he and his classmates move on to their time in Paris.
As the Rome leg of our study abroad program comes to an end, it feels necessary to take this time to reflect on how amazing the past six weeks have been. Right from the start, the trip has been a whirlwind of excitement, culture, education, and fun. Most of us cannot think of a time in recent memory when we have had this much enjoyment and stimulation in so short a period. Consequently, a bizarre feeling and sense of time has emerged from all that activity; we feel as if we have been in Rome for months, while also sensing that our program has also been flying by.
For this week’s post, our ACCENT Rome staff discuss what students studying abroad in Rome can do to feel at home in the city, explore new places, and develop friendships with the locals.
OK, now that you’ve seen all the unmissable sites, you know how to avoid the tourist traps, you’ve stepped out of the (in)famous “comfort zone”…so, what’s next? Sometimes getting out of your bubble and mixing with locals can be very hard. Language and cultural barriers are difficult to overcome and sticking to what you know seems the easiest and safest way. That is why we have listed here some of our favorite places to explore and escape that bubble!
This Spring, ACCENT has teamed up with Santa Barbara City College for a multi-city Film Studies program in Rome and Paris. SBCC student Jeffrey Leaf has been selected as the program’s Official Student Blogger, and we are very pleased to publish his reflections as he and his classmates explore the wonders and challenges of the study abroad experience.
This week’s post describes an excursion by University of California students to the offices of “The Post Internazionale,” an online newspaper specializing in international affairs. During their visit, students learned about the changing face of journalism in today’s highly-connected world.
As part of their Italian Media class, UCEAP students had the chance to visit the newsroom of The Post Internazionale, the first Italian online newspaper specializing in international news.
Today’s post comes from our ACCENT Rome Study Center, where Assistant Programs Coordinator Alice Mangia describes a fascinating exhibition featuring one of the most complex and influential painters in Baroque Italian Art: Artemisia Gentileschi.
University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) students, faculty, and ACCENT staff recently had the opportunity to visit an exhibition of artist Artemisia Gentileschi’s work with an exceptional guide: UCEAP Professor Cristiana Filippini. Filippini earned her BA in Art History at the University of Florence and both her MA and PhD at Johns Hopkins University, where her research focused on the 11th century frescoes of the San Clemente Basilica in Rome. She has since extensively researched Artemisia Gentileschi’s contributions to Baroque art, developing a semester-long course for UCEAP: Women & Art: Women as Artists, Patrons, & Subjects in the Art of Rome.
When Zach Styx, journalism major from the University of Minnesota, secured an internship with Rome Reports news agency, he hardly imagined that he would soon be reporting on-camera from St. Peter’s Square, conducting interviews with passing bishops and cardinals.
Zack chose Rome for his semester abroad because he wanted to go somewhere that would take him out of his comfort zone and challenge him linguistically. “I had decent Spanish but zero Italian when I arrived,” Zack recalls. He admits to disliking Italy for his first two weeks, but now back in Minneapolis, has only positive memories of his time in Rome and his internship was the highlight.
“My internship was the most important part of my study abroad experience,” says Zack. Rome Reports is a Vatican-based news agency, which produces video reports to sell to other large news agencies.
Zack recalls his first day: “My mentor Adam said that he was going to throw me into the water and see if I could swim. He said that I could get as much out of this internship as I put in. This meant that from the first day I had to be entrepreneurial. I began by researching, translating and editing copy, and then moved onto more hands-on work with the broadcast crew. I always showed up early and I enjoyed it so much it didn’t feel like work to me.”
Soon Zack was given his own camera and sound crew and sent out to do reports and interviews in St. Peter’s Square and beyond. One of his favorite memories is covering an event between the Japanese Embassy and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture. It was a Japanese flute concert in the seventh century church of San Giorgio al Velabro and he was given sole responsibility for reporting on the event.
“I was also lucky,” recalls Zack, “that the Pope was very active during the time I was reporting on the Vatican, with his trips away including the one to Africa, and the Vatileaks scandal came out too.”
Zack graduates this month and plans to join the Air Force. For now, his journalistic ambitions are on hold, but he hopes to be able to connect his two passions in the future.
The third in our series of Student Features from Michigan State University students comes from Sam Metry, who tells us about his first impressions as a new study abroad student, and what he has learned during his first week in Europe.
This is one of many student blogs from the Summer 2016 MSU Sporting Cultures & Media Program in Paris and Rome. You can view the rest of them online here: https://msusportsjrn16sa.wordpress.com
6 Things I’ve Learned After 6 Days in Europe
I’ve been in Europe for six days and I’ve learned a lot, and made a ton of mistakes, but that’s the point of this journey, to embrace a new culture and learn things. So here are six things that I’ve learned so far.
1) Clothes are way different: This might be the thing I wish I knew most before leaving the USA. No one wears short sleeve shirts in Paris, and very few wear them in Rome. I only packed short sleeve shirts. I basically scream, “Look at me, I’m an American.” Same goes with shorts and pants. I have no idea how the locals don’t get hot, but it works for them. Another big difference: everyone wears black and gray or other dark colors, so when you’re wearing a lime green golf shirt, you tend to stick out.
2) Happiness is universal: I can’t speak Italian or French. At all. But so far, no one has gotten mad at me for being an American. As long as you try, smile, and seem nice and happy, you’ll have no problems.
3) Eventually, you’ll figure out what people are saying: English is derived from Latin, German, French, and others. Most languages in Europe have a lot in common, so there are going to be crossover words that everyone will understand. You can also talk with your hands. Pointing, making shapes, that all works. Eventually, you and your new European friend will figure it out, but as I said in number two, be friendly. You probably wouldn’t want to help a rude French speaking person on the streets of New York, same goes for the reverse here.
4) If you have to take an overnight train, pay to upgrade your seat: I definitely learned this the hard way. An overnight train from Milan to Paris is 10-12 hours, depending on how long customs take, so let me paint you a word picture of how much that night will haunt me. Our compartment was about half the size of the ones on the Hogwarts Express, there were six fully-grown men trying to lay down in there. I’m 6’2”, and the bed was probably 5’9”. And it got hot. Really hot. So if I could have a do-over on that night, I would, but you live and you learn.
5) There is no way to prepare for how big things are: My second day in Rome, I was taking a taxi to a friend’s apartment and we rounded a corner and saw the Colosseum. We’ve all seen pictures of the Colosseum, we all know it’s huge. But I’m serious when I say that there is no way for you to prepare for how big it is. The same thing goes for the Eiffel Tower. The first time it comes into your line of sight, you say to yourself, “It can’t be that big.” But it is. It was a pretty cloudy day when I first saw it, and I couldn’t see the top because it was hiding in the clouds.
6) Don’t be afraid to get lost: On the way to a club in Rome, we somehow got lost and ended up at the Trevi Fountain. And I didn’t realize it until we got there and I looked up. Definitely a cool thing. And as long as you have the address of where you’re staying, you can just hop in a taxi.
Need to get away from the busy streets of Rome for a day? In this week’s “Live Like A Local” post, one ACCENT Rome staff member describes the perfect retreat from the crowds of the city.
I might be biased, but I believe Rome to be the most beautiful city in the world. Even though I grew up here, I never get bored of its beauty. But this beauty is both a blessing and a curse—it attracts a massive amount of people, the one thing that makes me want to escape! To avoid going completely crazy, I’ve devised a plan of temporary respite.
Taking the 60 bus, I leave behind the white marble bulk of the Altare della Patria, the buzzing Via del Corso, and all of the tourists trying to snap their selfies, and I go to my happy place: Villa Torlonia.
Villa Torlonia is a public park that once belonged to the rich Torlonia family. The construction of the Villa started in the early 1800s. It was initially commissioned by Giovanni, a banker, but the project was completed under the direction of his grandson, Giovanni Jr., after he had been crowned a prince. His eccentric taste in architecture brought us this gem.
When you arrive, I suggest taking a walk around the park. You’ll discover reproductions of ruins, a Moorish greenhouse, a medieval arena, and a theater. If you explore further, you’ll also find an underground shelter, utilized by Mussolini when he rented the villa in 1925.
My favorite building in the park is Casina delle Civette (aka, “The House of Owls”). As if from a storybook, it is a fantastical building in the middle of the park that was designed by Giovanni Jr. as his own personal residence. Rumor has it that Giovanni was a solitary man with a thing for myths and fables. I challenge you to find all of the mystical symbols hidden in the house. Undoubtedly, the most visible is the owl, omnipresent in the furniture decorations and stained glass.
More often than not, I’m struck with hunger pangs in the middle of my wanderings. If this happens to you, no worries. The former lemon grove in the park has been transformed into a cozy restaurant, La Limonaia. Whether you’re craving cake (vegan chocolate and coconut cake is a great choice) or pizza (focaccia bianca with prosciutto crudo, anyone?), you’ll leave the villa feeling satisfied.
~Alice Mangia, ACCENT Rome
In the last couple of years, the Eternal City has been invaded by hundreds of contemporary street art murals that are gradually changing the face of the capital. In the suburbs of Rome, run-down buildings have been turned into modern pieces of art, thus attracting a new kind of tourism. This project has been financed not only by cultural associations and crowdfunding, but also by public authorities.
The City of Rome has created a map that features 150 streets and 330 murals with the slogan, “Change Your Perspective: The Street is Your New Museum.” The project aims to show a different side of the city, highlighting Rome as both capital of ancient art and lively center of urban culture. This change in perspective inspired our University of Colorado-Boulder architecture students when they took to the streets with the city’s new street art map in hand.
Their tour of urban art began in the historical neighborhood of Trastevere. Wandering the streets, students were surprised by a mural tribute to Roman writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Locals say it appeared overnight one day on an anonymous wall in the quiet Piazza S. Calisto. “It’s so realistic and detailed, it’s incredible that it was done in such little time!” UC-Boulder student Anna Sparlin exclaimed.
The tour continued on to Testaccio where a 20-meter long she-wolf now overlooks the neighborhood’s market. The she-wolf has long been an iconic symbol of Rome and the giant mural was meant to honor that tradition, however, it’s not exactly what one might expect when considering a tribute to the Roman tradition. “It’s the complete opposite: provocative, new, unconventional. Just like street art!” continued Anna.
According to another student, Daniel Kelso, the best piece is in Ostiense on the façade of the former Aeronautica Militare building, now headquarters of Movimento per la Casa, a movement for public housing. The mural, by Italian artist Blu, appears as an integral part of the building (see image at top of Blog entry). The windows and the doors are the eyes and the mouths of myriads of colorful aliens. “The location is perfect since the street is always busy. It’s not just a decoration, it makes you stop and think about an important issue,” said Daniel.
Students then followed the map through S. Lorenzo, Rome’s university neighborhood that now teems with cultural initiatives. Fifteen different artists decorated the long strip of wall constituting the heart of the area. Among the artists featured, Alice Pasquini won the hearts of our students. Alice is a Rome-based visual artist whose work portrays small, intimate moments between people and their connection to one another. She has travelled widely, bringing her artwork to the streets of cities across the world. However, her favorite canvases are the walls of the Capital, where her studio is based. “I never thought of Rome in terms of contemporary art,” said Anna, “but this other side of the city is actually very inspiring.”
A few of the students even ventured into the suburban area of Quadraro, where streets, squares, and parks give life to Rome’s first urban art museum, M.U.Ro. Anna reflected: “This map brought us out of the city center. We saw areas that tourists rarely get to know. We saw the city from a completely different perspective”.
Rome is the ancient bulk of the Colosseum, the shining white marble of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the postcard panorama of Castel Sant’Angelo. But it’s also the buzzing, lively underground reality of the suburbs. So next time you’re in Rome, try to look at it from another angle. Where you see an anonymous wall, someone else might see a bright white canvas.
~Alice Mangia, ACCENT Rome
The Insights newsletter highlights innovative programing with ACCENT. This excerpt comes from our May 2015 issue and was written by Michigan State University’s James M. Lucas, Ph.D. For more Insights, visit our newsletter archives at: www.accentintl.com/program-development
As a man working in higher education, I have followed the scholarship of male engagement for many years. Male students participate in study abroad at about half the rate as females, and this gap exists in other areas: men are less likely to attend and graduate from college; participate in service, hold leadership positions, and belong to a living-learning program. Conversely, men are more likely to dropout, not attend class, and get into trouble with the university’s conduct system.
My dissertation explored male study abroad participation and suggested that gender role norms play a role in how young men perceive study abroad. Many males view study abroad as frivolous and not as important as part-time work or an internship. Since completing my research, I have tried to connect my findings to practice both as an administrator and program leader. During an effort to reach out to the fraternity community, I found an eager group of young partners in Michigan State University’s (MSU) Chapter of Sigma Epsilon Phi (SigEp). Not only did these students want to discuss study abroad, but they wanted to create a program for fraternity men at the university.
For the pilot program, I worked with the students to design the course outline, and with ACCENT to organize the travel component during the MSU spring break. Prior to and post-travel, the students attended class and discussed the concept of gender, different opinions about gender differences, gender role conflict, and the influence of gender on males in college, with a comparative perspective to Italy. This program also focused on leadership, connecting this topic with the fraternal context – both historically and in the present.
The collaboration between MSU, SigEp, and ACCENT represented the first for-credit study program that was co-created with undergraduate students at MSU. The program would never have occurred without the buy-in and support from a group of fraternity men willing to champion the effort. Similarly, the ACCENT Rome and Florence teams helped find guest lecturers and tours able to connect our unique topic to the fabric of these cities. The local faculty proved to be wonderful partners. They adapted their scholarship to the theme of gender, and put a lot of effort into making topics like Renaissance art and Roman archeology engaging for a group that was mostly business and engineering students.
Since our return, the students have reported seeing the world differently, having realized that not everyone thinks, acts, and lives like them. They speak of a newfound understanding that even small everyday things, such as a statue or the straightness of a road, have meaning. They have made connections between history and modern culture, noting how the past can influence who we are as a people. The excitement from this learning has come back to campus, and I can only describe our classes post-travel as “transformed” in terms of their interaction and engagement.
My colleagues thought I was a bit crazy for taking this group overseas. Many would say that there would be too many disciplinary problems, or even question why men would need a men’s studies course. My answer is that this group needs the experience. As educators, we too often assume that men’s social entitlements mean that they do not have special needs. They do. Men need to be thought of as gendered, and they need help understanding their gendered lives and their privileges. Only by educating them can we get them to own their entitlements and help build societies that are socially just.
This week, we’re sharing a Student Feature by University of Minnesota student Douglas Tang. Douglas is currently studying abroad with other UMN students from the School of Architecture and Department of Landscape Architecture on the University of Minnesota and College of Design’s study abroad program in Rome and Istanbul. His piece was originally featured on his program’s website, umnistanbulstudyabroad.com in February.
Three weeks have passed since I first set foot in Rome. I’ve fallen in love with the city, I’ve morphed into its rhythm, and the one thing I can say about it is that there is so much more than just architecture in this beautiful city.
I once read a piece of insight in a book published by the Urban Sketchers organization on the art of urban sketching which stated that one of the best ways to pay tribute to a great foreign culture is by drawing it. At the time, I thought it was an incredible remark and since then, I have kept it in my mind every day during my travels. With this study abroad opportunity, I decided to testify that statement with my own experience, so every day, I set out with the aim of drawing the city, in the city and with its people.
Drawing, sketching, painting, doodling, whatever you may wish to call it, is something that I enjoy doing on my own time; it is quite the personal process, for me. Changing my habit of drawing in solitude and turning my personal leisure inside out was definitely not an easy thing to do. However, the discomfort eventually subsided and the joy and surprise that drawing in the city brings has yet to fail to make every single day abroad the best day.
Because of my drawings, I’m able to communicate with people without knowing their language. A glimpse of the paper, flipping through the pages, or even passing my Moleskine sketchbook around the café bar, I’m able to convey myself as a person and make a bunch of friends with ease. Gesticulation and a mix use of English words with my ultra-limited Italian vocabulary also add to the fun and draw me and my new Roman connections that much closer.
Thanks to my now-established public drawing habit, I’ve gotten the chance to know four local architects, including one from Paris. I’ve befriended more than five baristas at cafés that I frequent. I’ve networked with people from Spain, the UK, and Germany because they were intrigued by what I was doing. And I’ve also emailed a bunch of finished work to my awesome models that I met on the go. One last thing to mention, as a result of drawing outside, I also scored myself a book illustration deal for an upcoming book in Italy, which is a whole other story in and of itself that I will cover later in another post!
Congrats, Douglas, on all your wonderful encounters abroad, and thanks for sharing your post with the ACCENT family!