Disa Woodland, Copy Desk Chief~
During the winter term of 2017, Dr. Marek Payerhin and Dr. David Lipani took a group of 24 students to Italy and Sicily to explore the history of the region. The two courses offered were designated as English and international relations courses.
The study abroad cohort journeyed throughout Sicily for almost two weeks where the students were able to see world-renowned monuments like Greco-Roman ruins and remains of Toarmina and Syracuse. Several of these sites remain relatively unchanged from the time of the Romans.
In addition to tours of the cities, students and professors were able to meet with the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando, who is credited with helping to temper the role of the Mafia in political and social infrastructure of Sicily.
From Sicily, the group headed to the famous sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The students learned the art of bargaining and coffee appreciation. Many of the students began routinely trying these different options. “I really enjoyed the culture that surrounds Italian cuisine and drink, especially the coffee and coffee bar aspect of Italy,” said junior marketing major, Landon Hammerley of his coffee experience in Italy.
Florence was one of the favorite stops of the tour for students for the food and leather goods. Senior nursing major Shelby Devilbiss said, “Florence was my favorite city. I loved the people there. The atmosphere and the food was by far the best.” Despite the merriment of the trip, students were acutely aware of the poverty and crime of their surroundings.
The group ended their trip in the Italian capital Rome. The journey was three weeks long, but the experience trekking through some of the most beautiful cities in Europe left a lasting impact on many of the students. Senior international relations major, Katherine Santos said, “The friendships we made [in Italy] made the return home that much sweeter.”