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

Ciara’s Fall Break in Florence

Posted by: on November 7, 2016   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

Hello Friars!



FUA had fall break during the last week of October, which gave many of us the cruel realization that we were already halfway through our study abroad experience.

While some people spent their break relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Greek islands, a few of my friends and I decided to check multiple cities off of our travel bucket lists. Between 7 a.m. flights and many stops for coffee, we managed to explore Prague, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and London. I saw so many incredible things in those busy ten days, from amazing sights such as the London eye, to inspirational images such as the John Lennon wall, to places that make you think and question, such as the Anne Frank house. Traveling is by far one of the most enriching aspects of the study abroad experience, and this break reminded me of how lucky I am to have this opportunity!

Classes resumed on Halloween, and I returned to practicum to help my teaching partner with her Halloween lesson. The students were very enthusiastic about the lesson and loved getting to make Halloween masks, which they looked adorable in! The students from my 4th grade class put on a performance for some of the other classes, and it was so cute to see them dressed up and singing some Halloween songs.

Practicum can be challenging at times, as the language barrier is very obvious, but it has been by far my most rewarding placement so far. I have found that just being in an Italian school immerses me in the culture more so than anything else I have experienced so far. As you make your final decisions about applying for study abroad, I hope you consider the positive effects of teaching in a foreign country on your growth as a teacher!

Ciara O’Brien

Hello Friars!   FUA had fall break during the last week of October, which gave many of us the cruel... MORE

Elaina Greco – Italy and further travels

Posted by: on October 14, 2016   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

IMG_3691Ciao Friars! Study abroad so far has been an incredible experience. I wish that I could tell you everything about this semester so far, but I will try to keep it short! First and foremost, I taught my first lesson on Monday. I am in a sixth grade classroom (I have previously only been in kindergarten-3rd grade classrooms) teaching English to Italian students. The students are at a very low proficiency level and I am currently working on my lesson for next Monday. I can already see that this semester will be very challenging in terms of practicum, but I have also been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Imagine teaching a classroom a new language-that’s pretty amazing. This semester I will be using a variety of different strategies to reach my new students including multimedia presentations, interactive games, and role playing dialogues. I am excited to see myself grow this semester and continue working toward being the best teacher that I can be.

If you are thinking about studying abroad, here are some more reasons that you definitely should:


1. The Food: The food in Italy is typically fresh, natural, and traditional. I am taking a Food, Culture, and Society class in which we learn all about the food culture and traditions in Italy. We also participate in cooking labs and different food tastings. The food around the world has also given me the opportunity to try different dishes that I have never even heard of back in the states (although I do miss Chicken Nugget Thursdays).

2. Personal Growth: The pictures may indicate that study abroad is four months of living fabulously in a glamorous new city. While study abroad is a wonderful opportunity to travel and see the world, it isn’t always easy. I have had intense moments of missing home, my family, and Friartown. I have struggled with adjusting to a new city that has very different customs from that I am used to. However, these aspects of study abroad push you to pretty much grow up. You will become more of an adult here for many reasons. You can’t just go to Ray when you’re hungry and you can’t always call your mom or talk to your friends that live down the hall from you. It’s a different world here but you will grow into a mature, sophisticated, worldly traveler.


3.The Travel: On most weekends I am able to visit a new place. Each country seems to be a different world! I have been to Croatia, Germany, and Denmark so far. I have plans to also visit Prague, Budapest, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I feel as though each city opens my eyes a little more to how diverse and ever expanding the world can be. Each new place holds a little piece of my heart and makes me fall in love with traveling the world more and more. I want to give a special recognition to Dachua, the concentration camp site in Germany. This was the most powerful place I have ever seen; I can’t even put it into to words. I learned to go to places that make you think and feel, not just places with pretty views.

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Ciao Friars! Study abroad so far has been an incredible experience. I wish that I could tell you everything about... MORE