Preparing to Come Home

Preparing to Come Home

Posted by: on December 11, 2014   |Comment (1)|Florence

With five days left in our study abroad experience, “bittersweet” is truly the only word I can use to fully encapsulate the emotions we are all feeling. Florence has been my home away from home for three and a half long months and its hard to know exactly what I’m “supposed” to feel leaving it behind. When moving in, I never imagine that 111 days would go by as fast as they did. Although thoughts of American flags and seeing my family are hard to keep out of my mind, enjoying my final days in Florence hasn’t been too tough!

The last few days have been filled with excitement around the holiday season here in Florence.  The streets are lined with Christmas lights and festive holiday décor. Tonight was the annual tree lighting at the Duomo. It was an amazing gathering for the Florentine people to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, a national Holiday here in Italy. While waiting for the tree to light, I took a second to really appreciate Florence- a city that for four months has let me truly embrace in their culture and celebrate their traditions.

Although the holiday ambiance has been unavoidable, I am still trying to stay focused during my last week at Fairfield and FUA. With three finals and one lesson keeping me from Boston, I can almost taste the Dunkin Donuts coffee! As we’ve been finishing our last classes, one assignment that I know all of the education girls really enjoyed doing was our EDU Diversity journal, “10 Golden Rules” for the girls coming abroad next semester. It was such a bizarre feeling giving advice on something like studying abroad. So much of what you learn here is through experience and I feel it was two days ago when I was hearing advice from last year’s study abroad students. We all were excited to share our own perspectives on what we thought the most important rules to follow were.  The ideas ranged from “budget your money” to “travel anywhere and everywhere.”

As excited as we are all to be getting home to America, one of the hardest parts about leaving will definitely be leaving our classrooms. Each week I enter the class I am overwhelmed by the excitement and love that the students have for our time together. The Italian students and teachers have truly been a pleasure to work with and taught me so much about myself as a teacher and a person. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to have worked with such a great class. Although it was so much different from anything I’ve ever done, the reward of listening to them speak a sentence in English because of what I had taught them was one of the best feelings I’ve had in the classroom! I can speak for all seventeen of us when I say that we are going to miss being teachers here.

Florence has been the best home I could have asked for. The character of the city is incomparable and its authentic Italian roots are hard not to fall in love with. The next five days will be filled with “lasts”—last pictures, last gelatos, and last classes, but the memories and experiences I will be taking home with me are truly unforgettable.

 

tree

 

 

–Kristin Wheeler

With five days left in our study abroad experience, “bittersweet” is truly the only word I can use to fully encapsulate the emotions we are all feeling. Florence has been my home away from home for three and a half long months and its hard to know exactly what I’m “supposed” to feel leaving it […]MORE

The Final Few Weeks

Posted by: on December 4, 2014   |Comments (0)|Florence

It’s so hard to believe that we are already winding town to the tail end of the semester. Only 18 more days until we will all be USA bound! I think I speak for everyone when I say leaving here on December 13th will be the most bittersweet feeling we’ve ever experienced. I am so excited to go home to see my family, be in the comfort of my own home again and enjoy one of my mom’s home cooked American meals; but at the same time, I never want these exciting adventures that I have had here to end. I have had an absolutely incredible experience here so far– I don’t even know how to begin putting into words how amazing this semester has been. We have all traveled to places that in the past I only could have dreamed about: Croatia, Germany, Budapest, the Amalfi Coast, Greece, Paris, London, Switzerland and so many more. I am constantly thinking about how to respond to people who ask me how my abroad experience was when I get home, because it truly is so difficult to explain to anyone the ups, downs, fun times, scary experiences, new friends, immaculate views, and beautiful places that we’ve seen and been to.

Since finals week is rapidly approaching, all the Education girls are preparing final lesson plans, working tirelessly on our big Lesson writing projects and our Social Studies unit project, as well as trying to stay on top of our work for our other classes. Although the work has been tough and some nights have been late, the fun times we’ve had inside and outside the classroom will make all of it worth it. Many people have friends and family visiting this week for Thanksgiving as well, and we are all looking forward to the Thanksgiving dinner that Professor Hayes is hosting for us on Thursday evening. Many of us are planning Thanksgiving lessons for our classes this week and all the Italian students are eager to learn about this American holiday. All I know is that I have a LOT to be thankful for this year, and although I cannot be home with my family on this special holiday, I am sending all my love and thanks from the beautiful city of Florence. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 Florence

-Maggie Schmidt

It’s so hard to believe that we are already winding town to the tail end of the semester. Only 18 more days until we will all be USA bound! I think I speak for everyone when I say leaving here on December 13th will be the most bittersweet feeling we’ve ever experienced. I am so […]MORE

Taking Advantage of Being Abroad

Posted by: on November 25, 2014   |Comments (0)|Travel

Traveling to the Piazza Michelangelo is always such a fun and relaxing activity that you can do in Florence. Walking or taking a taxi (if you are not up for a somewhat strenuous hike), takes you through parts of Florence that you would not usually see in your daily walks around the city. The Piazza offers a full and beautiful panorama of the city, and at sunset, the pictures and atmosphere at perfect. This picture was taken right before sunset, at the restaurant that is conveniently placed right at the Piazza.

 Piazza Michelangelo

This picture of me, and fellow EDU major Caroline O’Connor was taken at the Park Guell in Barcelona last weekend. Traveling all around Europe is one of the many benefits of studying aboard, and Barcelona provided itself to be a beautiful place and city to travel to. This park provides a wonderful view of the city, and seeing some of the funky architecture that Barcelona is known for.

hannah and caroline

Food and tasting new things is another true advantage of studying abroad. Three weeks ago, there was a fair/international food festival, held in Santa Croce, a major Piazza in Florence. Tasting foods from all over the world, and having a place in Florence where everyone could come together was a great and delicious way to become more comfortable throughout the city. Pictured were delicious and unforgettable nutella covered mini crepes.

crepes

The final picture is a panoramic shot, from atop of Florence’s most famous monument, the Duomo. Climbing the Duomo, something if you are claustrophobic I would not recommend, is one of the beautiful and fastest ways to see the entire city. Around 400 stairs later, you find yourself being able to see and take in all the beauty that the city has to offer. Climbing this monument was one of the highlights of my study aboard experience, and will hopefully climb it again before I leave here.

The Duomo

-Hannah Perkins

Traveling to the Piazza Michelangelo is always such a fun and relaxing activity that you can do in Florence. Walking or taking a taxi (if you are not up for a somewhat strenuous hike), takes you through parts of Florence that you would not usually see in your daily walks around the city. The Piazza […]MORE

Trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany

Posted by: on November 14, 2014   |Comments (0)|Travel

This week the PC education students went on a field trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany.This school was founded by a priest named Don Lorenzo Milani, and many students who had been kicked out or failed out of other Italian school systems found that they were welcome here. Earlier in the semester, we were assigned a reading written by eight young boys who had attended Barbiana called ‘Lettura a una Professoressa’ (‘Letter to a Teacher’). In the reading, the boys criticized flaws in the Italian school systems. The Don Milani school accepted everyone, and the students who attended the school played an active role in their education.

I care

 

On the day of the field trip, we met by the Arno River and hopped on a bus. We drove a little over an hour to the base of the mountain that the Barbiana School is located on. Then, we had to hike up the mountain for about an hour from there. I think that we all definitely underestimated the legitimacy of the term “hike”. By the time we got to the top, we were all very tired and sweaty. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. We were surrounded by trees and green, grassy hills and mountains. It was amazing, and really nice to get out of the city for a little while. We went into the tiny school and sat down in the classroom. One particularly interesting thing that we learned from our guide while we were at Barbiana was that anything that the students wanted or needed to use, they had to make themselves. They had even made the tables and chairs that we were sitting on! They referred to this as “learning by doing” because the students certainly learned a lot through creating all of the tools and materials that they needed for their education.

Barbiana 3Barbuana

 

Our guide spoke entirely in Italian, but our teacher was able to translate what she was saying into English for us. She told us all about the founding of the school, and how some of the students came from extremely far away (one boy had to walk over an hour and cross a river to get to the school). It was evident from what our guide was saying that Don Milani really cared about his students. He went to great lengths to ensure that his students got the education that they deserved. The students who attended the school also played an active role in their education. They were able to decide some of the things that they studied based on what interested them. Also, another fact that I thought was interesting was that the students were also teachers. Once they had been at the Barbiana school for a little while, they would be expected to teach their peers. After our tour, we were all starving, and still had to hike back down to the bus! The hike down was pretty hilarious, we were all tripping over our own feet and struggling to keep our balance as we went down the steep patches of the hike. However, all of our efforts were worth it, because we got to have lunch at a local trattoria. It was a very traditional Italian restaurant that our teacher had picked out, and he told us that we would be treated to the “best ravioli of our lives”. The food certainly did not disappoint. We had three different courses of ravioli. The first was filled with a ricotta cheese, and the second two were filled with mashed potatoes (which is a common Tuscan dish). They were absolutely delicious and we were all absolutely stuffed by the time our lunch was over! It was a great field trip, and well worth the hike!

 

Kathryn Abraham

This week the PC education students went on a field trip to the Barbiana School in Tuscany.This school was founded by a priest named Don Lorenzo Milani, and many students who had been kicked out or failed out of other Italian school systems found that they were welcome here. Earlier in the semester, we were […]MORE

My Experience Teaching Abroad

Posted by: on November 7, 2014   |Comments (0)|Elementary School Teaching

I cannot believe that I am already halfway done with my time here in Florence! I truly have fallen in love with the city and have already created so many memories that I know will stay will me for the rest of my life.

The main reason why I decided to study abroad in Italy was due to my desire to teach English in a foreign country. So far, teaching here has been a wonderful learning experience. I have already taught three lessons in a fourth grade classroom. I teach every Tuesday at Kassel school, which is a twenty-minute bus ride from the bus stop on my street. Although the most students in the classroom cannot speak much English, they are very eager to learn and are excited about me being there. The teacher in the classroom is very helpful with translating things to the class when necessary, and adjusting my lesson to better meet their needs.

For my first lesson I taught the phrases “there is” and “there are” and I incorporated illustrations and facts about New York City.  Overall, I was very pleased with the amount of enthusiasm that the student’s displayed along with their eagerness to participate and answer each one of my questions. The students were especially eager to see the Pictures of New York City and learn more about the American culture. Therefore the majority of my lesson was very successful and beneficial for both the students and myself. However, throughout the lesson I did encounter difficulties when trying to explain directions in a clear and understandable way for both the teacher and the students.

My second lesson was based around the verb “to be” and the American Flag. This lesson was more difficult because the students were not as familiar with the verb “to be” as they were about the phrases that I presented during the previous lesson. This made it more challenging to manage my time during the lesson. I found it difficult to evenly distribute time to both major sections that the teacher in the classroom wanted me to address: the American flag, and the verb to be. However, during this lesson I found myself beginning to get to know my students better, which helped when I planned my next lesson. Also, I introduced an attention getting signal, which helped me instill a system of classroom management. Ultimately, this lesson allowed me to learn more about my class and begin to figure out affective ways to introduce topics and assess their progress.

My third lesson was about possessive pronouns, and also about the American tradition of Halloween. This lesson was very exciting for the students because of the Halloween portion. When I arrived, I brought decorations and pictures of costumes, which the students enjoyed very much. I am pleased that I began the lesson with the section on possessive pronouns, because this encouraged the students to focus and remain attentive, since they knew that the section on Halloween would shortly follow. This lesson seemed to be a great success. Most of the students correctly used possessive pronouns when they participated orally, and on their task-sheets.

So far I am having a very pleasant experience teaching in the Kassel School and I am very excited to continue this journey!

-Danielle Sardone

I cannot believe that I am already halfway done with my time here in Florence! I truly have fallen in love with the city and have already created so many memories that I know will stay will me for the rest of my life. The main reason why I decided to study abroad in Italy […]MORE