Hello fellow edu majors! As the days begin to get darker a little bit earlier, and the warm Florence air has been replaced with a crisp, autumn breeze, it seems that we are in the home stretch of returning home back to the states, which is definitely a bitter sweet feeling. I think this point in the semester is such a nostalgic time, as you look back at all the places you’ve been and the things you’ve seen, and realize you only have a limited time to cross any final things off your bucket list before going home. Just yesterday my friends and I had the once in a lifetime experience of seeing the Pope! He literally drove right by my apartment, in his Pope-mobile, nonetheless. Another crazy experience which happened to my friend and fellow edu major, Meaghan Creamer, was finding her picture on the cover of an Italian newspaper, as she completed a local half marathon!
As I reflect back on so many of the things I have done throughout my study abroad experience, such as drinking a beer at Oktoberfest, having a croissant in France, riding a gondola in Venice, sailing the Mediterranean with my family for Fall Break, amongst so many other clichés, you come to realize how very few people can say they’ve also seen and done these things.
As someone who was a bit apprehensive about leaving home, and my small, quaint Connecticut hometown, I can firmly say that going abroad was the right decision. With the great friendships you make, and the indescribable memories you will take away from this experience, missing home (and Dunkin Donuts ice coffee) seems like such a small price to pay.
Corny Study Abroad Tip: Take every chance, drop every fear!
Here are some of the highlights from my experience thus far:
Savona, Italy (View from the cruise ship)
My friend and I, on a gondola in Venice.
The Pope driving by my apartment!
Hello fellow edu majors! As the days begin to get darker a little bit earlier, and the warm Florence air... MORE
Hello Everyone! I am writing this blog post as I return home (Florence) from Copenhagen, Denmark … My third (of 8) countries that I will be visiting here while I am abroad. Let me begin by saying that I am a homebody, I come from an extremely close family and I also have a twin sister, who is back home in the United States. So for the past 19.5 years of my life I have always said no to “Studying Abroad.” And I thank God every day that I (eventually) decided to apply to the study abroad program.
I don’t think I have ever once been homesick here in Florence. Sure I have had those times where I wish I could experience these things with my family, but its never put a damper on any of my experiences. The best thing about the Providence College Education Study abroad program is that you’re surrounded all the time with education majors from Providence. These girls (and guys) become your family, in your home away from home. You’ll find yourself running to class with them … gelato in hand, taking 12 hour bus rides just to say you’ve been to Croatia, or devouring two entire pizzas without a second thought (Yes you’ll learn to order your own pizza here … and eat it all within minutes too.)
Today, traveling home from Copenhagen, in the Zurich, Switzerland airport, a barista from Starbucks asked me where I was traveling. I explained to her that I would be going back to Italy because I am studying abroad there. As she handed me my Starbucks she said ‘Have a safe flight home … Does Italy feel like home?” And without even a thought I quickly answered, “Yes, it really does.” So if you have the opportunity to study abroad … DO IT!
Study Abroad Tip: Go beyond your comfort zone. You never know what you are capable of unless you try!
Here are pictures in Italy and Copenhagen with PC Edu Majors!
The picture above was taken in Copenhagen at a place called Cristiania also know as Freetown Cristiania. We learned a lot about the place because it’s separate from the European Union and functions as it’s own community. It was really interesting to see the buildings and artwork because their entire community is build by hand.
Hello Everyone! I am writing this blog post as I return home (Florence) from Copenhagen, Denmark … My third (of... MORE
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.
With five days left in our study abroad experience, “bittersweet” is truly the only word I can use to fully... MORE
In Belfast we are doing our student teaching at the Harberton School, which is for children who have moderate learning disabilities. When we first heard about our placement we were not sure what to expect, since some of us did not have previous experience in a special education classroom. We have already been there four weeks now and it is going very well. There were some bumps in the road, but thanks to the flexibility of the classroom teachers we were able to smooth those bumps out. Every Monday we go to the school for the entire day. We usually teach literacy for about an hour and the rest of the day we help out around the classroom. All four of us are in separate classrooms. Michelle and Kati are in a P4 class (similar to 2nd grade), Maggie is in a P7 class (5th grade), and Colleen is in a P2 Class (kindergarten). All of the classrooms have 13 pupils. In Ireland they refer to elementary school children as pupils. The classrooms have one head teacher and two classroom assistants.
The first two weeks we observed the classroom, becoming comfortable with the pupils and the teachers. During our days of observation, some of us were lucky enough to attend field trips with our classes. We enjoyed being able to interact with the pupils in and out of the classroom. On October 27th we all taught our first literacy lesson. We were all a little nervous, but mostly excited for our first day of teaching. Fortunately we were all pleased with how our first lessons went. I think I speak for all of us when I say the students and their Irish accents are too cute! It has been exciting having the opportunity to teach at a school in Ireland. Overall we are all enjoying our time at the Harberton Special School and are looking forward to the learning experiences!
Colleen’s reflection on practicum teaching: Although we have only been to the school four times, I can already see the differences and similarities between schools at home. Since it is a school for students with learning disabilities, the experience as a whole is quite different to our previous student teaching experience. However, the layouts of the lessons have been relatively similar. I began my lesson with reading a story to the class, and then discussing the plot. I was glad how interactive the students were during the lesson. During practicum last year I noticed how popular the use of centers were in the classroom. I was excited to see that centers are used in most classrooms at the Harberton School.
Colleen, Kati, Michelle, and Maggie
In Belfast we are doing our student teaching at the Harberton School, which is for children who have moderate learning... MORE