Caitlin in Florence

Caitlin in Florence

Posted by: on December 9, 2016   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

Caitlin Whitaker

ESE Study Abroad Blog

Week of December 4


I can’t believe we are in the single digit countdown to coming home! This has been such an incredible experience it’s hard to believe that we have less than 10 days left. One of the best parts of this experiences has been practicum. Teaching in an italian classroom has been incredible and nothing like what I expected. For starters, I NEVER expected to teach with my hands this much!! And I never expected to teach in a room with no technology. 2 chalboards. That was all I had.  

I don’t know what I was expecting going into this experience. It never really hit me until I got into the classroom that I was teaching English to Italian students. When I walked into the room for the first day the students were so excited and all yelled “good morning” at me. That is why it did not hit me until after I sat down to observe and they all started yelling in Italian. I was attempting to make out the few Italian words I knew, like how to say pizza, pasta and thank you….but none of the students were using those. It was very overwhelming…but I was also excited.

My favorite lesson of this semester was by far the last lesson I taught, my Christmas lesson. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas, so it is obvious that this is by far my favorite subject to teach. Throughout the semester I always made it a point to integrate US cultures and traditions into my lessons whenever possible. I liked to show the students how things are different at home and give them as accurate of a picture of America as possible. When I taught the Christmas lesson we compared Christmas in Italy to Christmas in America and found many similarities and a few differences. For example, in Italy there are no stockings hung by the fireplace. When I was explaining it to the students they thought it was the coolest thing ever but did not understand how Santa could fit anything in a pair of tights!! During the lesson the students were decorating paper ornaments and hanging them up on the paper tree I placed at the front of the room. It was an indescribable feeling to be looking around the room at my little Italian 6th graders as they colored ornaments, writing English phrases on them and randomly bursting into song, with those songs being various American Christmas Carols. I saw the students writing things on their ornaments that I taught them weeks ago. It was such an incredible feeling to see that the students were actually learning and understanding what I was teaching them.

So now as practicum has come to a close, all the weekend trips have ended, and we are in the final single digit countdown, I am realizing more and more how grateful I am for this experience. It has changed me in ways I cannot describe, but I am so thankful for. Florence is a beautiful place to be able to call home for 4 months, but I think I am ready to be back in Friartown!!


Caitlin Whitaker ESE Study Abroad Blog Week of December 4   I can’t believe we are in the single digit... MORE

A Student’s First Italian Experiences: Lauren Wyse

Posted by: on September 23, 2015   |Comment (1)|Travel


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Hey everyone! My name is Lauren Wyse and I am studying abroad in Florence, and loving every second of it! I have been in Italy since August 11th, so a little over a month, and I’m finally feeling pretty adjusted. I came 3 weeks before the program started, and spent two of those weeks vacationing in different spots of Italy with my family, and the last week I spent exploring Florence with a friend from home who is also studying here. I really feel that this helped my transition a lot.  I also liked the fact that I had a week here to get my bearings before my program began and all the students came, because I knew that once that happened things would be really hectic… but lucky for the PC education students, they had me as their own personal tour guide!

I’ve had so much fun since I came here! I have taken lots of weekend trips already to places such as Perugia, Assisi, Cinque Terre (all in Italy), the French Riviera, and Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest! There are a lot of tour companies here that are geared towards college students studying abroad and most of their trips are all inclusive which is really nice because it takes the pressure off of you having to plan activities, hostels, and transportation.  That way you get to explore Europe… because why wouldn’t you when everything is so close?!

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As for school, I love all of my classes! I am especially excited to start practicum next week and meet my Italian students! I can’t wait to experience it all and be able to see how the school system here differs from what we are used to in America. Luckily I have awesome teachers here that I know are here to help me with the transition.

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Some advice that I have to all PC students is that if you have the chance to study abroad through this program, TAKE IT! I can already tell how much I appreciate this opportunity.  I know the experience I gain here will help me in many ways after I graduate and begin to search for teaching jobs. Additionally I will have firsthand experience in teaching an entire class of English Language Learners, which we all know is rapidly increasing in our American schools. It may sound corny, but studying abroad is such a unique experience that really allows you to find yourself in ways that you cannot while being in the comfort zone of American culture. I am so happy with my decision to study in Florence through the PC Education Program!


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  Hey everyone! My name is Lauren Wyse and I am studying abroad in Florence, and loving every second of... MORE

The First Italian Explorations in Fall 2015

Posted by: on September 8, 2015   |Comments (0)|Travel


Year Four of the PC elementary/special education  study abroad program is off to a great start.

During orientation week, we’ve discovered the old underground city of Perugia and its more modern upper city, along with the wonderful chocolate for which Perugia is world famous.  In Assisi we visited the crypt of St. Francis and saw his life portrayed in frescoes from the late 13th century.


In Firenza, we’ve learned how to buy fruit and vegetables at the local market, where you weigh and price things and print out the final price tag before getting into the check out line. We’ve discovered that the best gelatto is found at small gelattorias, a bit off the main pedestrian paths.  Future posts will surely highlight our favorites. And, yes, we found our way to most of our first classes on time.

Looking forward to a special semester of teaching, learning and new challenges.  Check back weekly as the PC education students share their experiences in the classroom and traveling around Italy and beyond.

By Faculty Member In-Residence: Mrs. Kathleen Hayes

Year Four of the PC elementary/special education  study abroad program is off to a great start. During orientation week, we’ve... 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.


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... MORE

Teaching Practicum Abroad

Posted by: on October 7, 2014   |Comments (0)|Elementary School Teaching
I cannot believe I have been living in Florence for 6 weeks now!  That is just crazy and unbelievable.  The time is flying by faster than I can even process everything that is going on!  I know it’s only been a month and a half, but I can already honestly say that it has been the best month and a half of my life so far.  Abroad is amazing and incredible and I am so lucky to be experiencing everything that I am.  Going abroad is a popular thing to do at PC.  We don’t even realize how special of an opportunity this is and how lucky we are.  I am living in Italy and traveling throughout the country and to other European countries on the weekends.  It is just insane in the best way possible.  This is truly the experience of a lifetime.  On top of everything, we are able to teach English to Italian students… how incredible is that!
EDU students Interlaken

EDU students Interlaken

Last week we met our practicum classes and teachers.  You might be thinking to yourself, how am I supposed to teach English to elementary school students when I don’t speak Italian?  Don’t worry.  We all were thinking the same thing.  None of us are fluent in Italian; none of us can speak more than a few sentences.  It is definitely an experience, but a great one.  I was very nervous going to the school for the first time.  I had no idea what to expect when I arrived there.  Kathryn Abraham is my teaching partner and we both had so many questions before starting practicum.  We had no idea what teachers here in Italy wore to school.  We did not know how it was going to work out being in two separate classes throughout the week.  How could we give the students instructions when we only speak English and they really only speak Italian?
After going to the classroom, many of our fears were relieved.  The classrooms here are very different than what we are used to.  There are many similarities, but many differences, as well.  The kids were so incredibly excited to have us.  When we walked into the classroom, they were all chattering excitedly and smiling at us.  They were constantly waving to try and get our attention as we talked to the teacher.  They were shy at first when speaking in English to us, but as the class progressed, they became more open.  They were fighting over who got to sit next to Kathryn and I.  They begged us to read aloud to them from their book.  Their eyes were constantly on us, taking in every word we said.  When I mentioned that I was from New York, they lit up.  Whenever we used Italian words or phrases, they beamed.  It was the cutest thing I have ever seen.  They were all adorable and they didn’t want us to leave at the end of the two hours.  Many of them rushed up to us and gave us hugs before we left.  It was incredible.
I know that teaching these students is going to be a challenge.  We are in a fifth grade classroom and they definitely know a lot of English, but there is a lot that they will not be able to understand.  In prepping for week one of actual teaching, we have translated a lot of phrases into Italian just in case they are unable to understand what we are asking them to do.  The classroom teacher will also be an extremely helpful resource in offering advice to us with directions, as we are to her with English phrases and usage.  PC has prepared us well for this challenge.  It will be extremely rewarding and unlike anything we will ever have the opportunity to do.  It has already made our abroad experience absolutely incredible. Ciao Providence College!
– Kristen Nappy​

I cannot believe I have been living in Florence for 6 weeks now!  That is just crazy and unbelievable.  The... MORE