The rhythm of Italy: CAS style

The Uffizi, Michelangelo’s David, Santa Croce and the Boboli Gardens are mere imaginings to many SIUE students who may never have the experience of seeing, touching and smelling the grandeur that is Italy.

Every year, up to 15 students travel with Carole Collier Frick, professor of historical studies, to Italy to experience the art, architecture and history of the exotic European country.

Students Maddy Ligon, Shannan Schoemaker, Megan Mckinzie and Bernadette Marty enjoy the beauty of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy during the Summer 2010 travel study

Frick has been a leader in helping to organize annual travel study trips to Italy for students since 2005. Student/faculty trips to Italy, according to Frick, was the brainchild of Anthony DiPaolo, lecturer in foreign language and literature. Frick and DiPaolo, an Italian native, went on the first few trips together until recently when Frick began accompanying students alone.

A member of the SIUE faculty since 1994, Frick’s emphasis and much of her published work has related to Italian renaissance history.

“Since I do Italian history, I was a match to take the students to Italy,” said Frick. “I teach classes on reformation in Europe, renaissance Europe, early modern Europe and women’s history in Europe.”

The three-week travel study program allows undergraduate students to earn up to six credit hours while enjoying unique experiences in a new country. Students participate in excursions to various Italian cities and sites including: Pisa, Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, San Gimigniano and Venice. The excursions lead to a range of unplanned and stirring experiences as well as chance encounters.

“The weekend trips to Venice are pretty spectacular,” said Frick. “The last time we were in Venice, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt – and his mother – and their kids were all walking ahead of us!”

Carole Frick, professor of history, poses with students Maddy Ligon and Andrew Carver at the "Historical Studies in Italy" table during the Study Abroad Fair in the Goshen Lounge.

For Frick, taking students to unfamiliar places and watching as they are enlightened and inspired  is one of the most important purposes of the trip.

“It’s the interaction between myself and the students and also being able to introduce students to an entirely different world than they ever saw before – new food, new music, new smells, new places and a new rhythm of life,” explained Frick.

The program is open to all students and has no prerequisites. Students enrolled in a variety of SIUE programs – ranging from nursing to mass communication – have traveled to Italy as a part of the travel study course. Participants return with a wealth of knowledge and new experiences that they are excited to share.

“Right down the street from our apartment there was a café called Café Deluxe and we made friends with the owners and they taught us some Italian and we taught them some English,” shared Maddy Ligon, a senior history major who went on the summer 2010 trip to Italy.

For many participants, the hands-on nature of the trip provides a unique learning experience that is unmatched.

Vernazza, Italy. A photo taken during the Summer 2010 travel study trip to Italy.

“Travelling to Italy puts you in touch with academic study in ways you can’t get here [in Edwardsville],” said Andrew Carver, graduate student and English major who accompanied Frick and 7 other students to Italy last summer. “You get so many great stories.”

The stories and the pictures that participants bring back from the three-week program are powerful enough to serve as motivation for students who may or may not have considered going on the trip. The fact that the program is open to all students further broadens its potential to impact a variety of students at SIUE.

“I would definitely encourage other students to go,” said Ligon. “It’s just such an awesome experience. Even if you’re not a history major you’re going to learn something.”

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  1. dr16gauge says:

    Voglio andare verso l’Italia il prossimo viaggio studio all’estero!!

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