University News

Western New England University Students Study Abroad in Summer 2022

Published: July 25, 2022 | Categories: All News, Faculty

Seventeen Western New England University students traveled to Sorrento, Italy for three weeks this summer to immerse themselves in the study of Italian culture.

Student travelers included: Nathaniel Baker, Lillian Barry, Anthony Cavallo, Adianez Colombani, Mackenzie Douglas, Sarah Dubuque, Olivia Gajor, Mitchell Gray, Katelyn Griffin, Miranda Holhut, Lauren Jablonski, Zachariah Kuenzi, Jo-Anne Muldoon, Allie Provost, Alexander Smith, Courtney Thompson, and Kaleigh Watts.

The students were accompanied by Professional Educator of Communication Brenda Garton-Sjoberg, Director of the Sorrento Study Abroad Program, and Professor of Psychology Dennis Kolodziejski. Also accompanying the group was Professor of Neuroscience Sheralee Tershner. Students enrolled in two Western New England University courses, Business Communication, taught by Professor Garton-Sjoberg, and Italian Culture, taught by a professor from the Sant'Anna Institute, WNE's international partner school in the study abroad program.

Students describe the Sorrento Study Abroad Program as "life changing," as they implemented international travel skills and experienced global business practices while studying and living in Italy.

"Studying abroad in Italy allowed me to immerse myself in a wide variety of cultural and intellectual experiences," said Zachariah Kuenzi a freshman Accounting major. "I was able to gain a new perspective on European culture and history while earning credits for my degree. Flexibility and problem-solving skills were strengthened because I had to learn to adapt to the unexpected circumstances of traveling in another country. I have attained cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity. Through all this, I feel as though I experienced much personal growth and self-competence. Italy is a beautiful mountainous country with outstanding vistas to behold. The countryside, the cities, and the sunsets over the Mediterranean Sea - studying in Italy reminded me that the history and culture of Europe was so important in how it shaped the development of our history and culture in the United States. To experience the art and architecture in Italy was fascinating and something I will never forget."

Tours, guest lectures, and site visits allowed students to learn beyond the classroom as they studied the Italian culture and business communication taught in the class. Throughout their stay, students had the opportunity to participate in various activities, such as making their own gelato, cooking an authentic Italian dinner, and touring the world-famous Amalfi Coast. In addition, they visited Naples, Pompeii Ruins, Villa Rufolo, Capri Island, Positano, Ravello, and the Royal Palace of Caserta. They immersed themselves in the Italian lifestyle with lectures from experts at olive oil and lemon farms, a mozzarella cheese factory, and a specialty coffee business.

"It is extremely rewarding to take students on this study abroad trip every summer. These three-weeks provide transformative educational experiences to see students grow and learn more about themselves as they learn about a new culture in another country," said Professor Garton-Sjoberg."These life-changing lessons in world-famous site visits provide instruction that could never be taught from a textbook or in a classroom. Besides lectures at our partner school, the classroom setting is every time students step outside into the beloved Italian culture. The entire region is their campus."

This unique learning opportunity for students to attend Western New England University's Study Abroad Program at the Sant'Anna Institute is made possible through the longstanding partnership between the two schools. This was Western New England University's 5th trip to Sorrento, Italy.