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Italy : Reviews (Carpi)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Study Abroad & Global Engagement
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Summer 2012 Participant
I loved that this program balanced the security of a group with the independence of living with your own host family. I felt like I had time to experience the culture on my own, and also time to find comfort with my American friends.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
I loved everything about this program. I was lucky to be assigned to a wonderful host family and they made my experience exceptionally rewarding and meaningful.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
I really enjoyed being able to immerse myself into an Italian preschool. I loved listening to the children and trying to help them any way I could, even though I do not speak any Italian.

 

Maris Shannon Ayers, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of the program was that it was three-fold. We got to live with a host family, teach in Italian schools, and travel to different parts of Italy. I feel like I got to do everything.

 

Taylour Nicole Beamer, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of the program was living with a host family. I felt like I truly was exposed to the Italian culture with living with a host family. Every meal prepared for me was a true dish to the Italian culture. It was nice having little siblings who were so interested in me.

 

Alexa M Clausen, Summer 2013 Participant
Being in actual schools gave me an opportunity to really understand how secondary English language students feel when working within a classroom that is completely outside both their element and their understanding.

 

Michaela Paige Cohen, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of the program was being able to be completely immersed in true Italian culture. I had visited Italy twice before, but I had never experienced it with people who had lived in Italy their whole lives. It was amazing to interact daily and so closely with my host family and my students. It opened a lot of discussion about the similarities and differences between American culture and Italian culture--not necessarily which was better or worse, but just an open discussion about cultural differences as well as the aspects of life that seem to be universal. Through learning a lot about the way my family and students functioned in society, I believe I came away from the program knowing a lot more about human nature than I previously had.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Becoming a part of another family is an invaluable experience. By taking me in to their home and treating me like a true member of their family, my host family helped me to learn how to quickly adapt to another culture, and reinforced the idea to me that even though people come from such varying backgrounds (and Italian culture was quite different from American culture) and speak different languages, these contrasting attributes are often what bring people together and make getting to know them so much more fascinating.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part was living with a host family. I think having a host family separates this program from so many others out there.

 

Shelby Anne Stephens, Summer 2013 Participant
Living with a host family was by far the selling point and best part of this program. I learned so much more and was able to experience much more in the Italian culture by living with a family.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part was actually working in the classroom and getting to know the students and getting a better understanding of their education system. Because it was all so hands on, it was amazing and made understanding everything so much better.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the fact that we lived with a host family. Any study abroad trip can stay in hostels or dorms with other students on the trip. This program was good in the fact that we got a personal cultural experience of the Italian lifestyle while living with host families and acting like a member of their family.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
I loved getting to stay with a host family and traveling to different places on the weekends.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
I loved living with my host family, participating in their daily life, and getting to exchange our cultures.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was getting emerged in the cultural completely. I learned so much from he new experiences I had.

 

Lauren Margaret Hotchkiss, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this experience was living with a host family. Being completely immersed into the culture living with a true Italian family gave me a new perspective of their culture as well as helped me grow as an individual. It gave me a clear glimpse of what their daily lives were. I was able to compare and contrast our two cultures to one another in ways they are similar or different. Not only did I get exposed to their culture and language but I also formed a great relationship with my host parents and brother. It was a once in a life time experience!!

 

Summer 2017 Participant
MY favorite part of this program was living with my host family. My host family opened their home to me and made me feel like I was apart of their family. I was able to learn so much from them about their culture and language. I have built a strong relationship with my host family and I keep in touch with them once I arrived back in the states. My wonderful experience would not have been the same without them.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part was living with a great host family and the weekend trips!

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of the program was staying with my host family. They were an amazing family and I truly miss them. They have contacted me since I have been home and wanted to make sure that I was doing well and adjusting back to my home life. They made the program so great for me and made sure that I had everything that I needed. They also opened their home up completely and wanted to make sure that I was part of their life.

 

Autumn C Rodriguez, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was being able to explore a new country with the comfort of new and old friends. Carpi was small enough that on free afternoons, we were able to message each other and meet at the city square for an afternoon of shopping or gelato! It also had some a small town feel that my Italian teachers were able to tell me things they found interesting in Carpi as well.

 

Sophia Lin Sears, Summer 2017 Participant
I really enjoyed the location Carpi, Italy was a cute small Italian town full of rich history and not many tourists. I was truly able to observed and experience the Italian culture and lifestyle. I also loved my host family Davide, Barbara, Ester and Zoe they were the cutest family. They were so warm and welcoming, they made me feel apart of their family. The school I worked at was also wonderful place to teach because it was filled with kind passionate teachers and eager learners.

 

Laura Marie Sharp, Summer 2017 Participant
I loved getting to teach in the school, and live with the host family!

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the unique ability for me to be immersed in an actual Italian classroom, and not only be able to take on the role of a teacher but also to learn from the Italian school system/structure. The way that education is done over there is very different than what I was used to over here in the states, and being able to compare and contrast the two systems has taught me so much as a future educator. We were not simply observing but teaching real lessons that we cultivated, and that made for a very valuable experience.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part was my Italian Elementary school I was placed in during the program. I LOVED it! My host classrooms were all so welcoming and loving to me. Even though most of them didn't speak English at all, I was able to grow close to my teachers and my students. We connected through action and heart. Actions truly speak louder than words.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part of the program was living with my host family. It was the best way to learn about Italian culture and the language. It was amazing, even with the language and cultural differences, I was able to form very strong connections with my host family, and I still am in contact with them after the program.

 

Janelle Kathryn Dempsey, Summer 2018 Participant
The best aspect of this program was the opportunity to connect with locals by living with a host family and teaching in a school. I was able to experience first hand the Italian culture and lifestyle. I loved walking to school with my host brother and then going over to my host grandmother's house for lunch each day. I felt as though I was one of the locals.

 

Ashley Lauren Fox, Summer 2018 Participant
When I decided to participate in the program, I was most nervous about living with a host family, however, this easily became my favorite part of the program. I loved getting to form relationships with each family member and experience authentic Italian culture in many different aspects through them.

 

Madeline Nicole Lasater, Summer 2018 Participant
What made this experience absolutely amazing was the fact that we were able to stay with a host family. Being fully immersed in the culture helped me to get the most out of this program, and I met several wonderful people because of it!

 

Emily Maria Mauer, Summer 2018 Participant
I loved this program! My favorited part was having the opportunity to teach abroad. It was such a wonderful experience to work with the students, learn about a different educational system, and also gain the perspective of what an international language learner may feel.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part about this program was the relationships that I gained. Through this program, you become so close to the students you are with, your host family, your teachers and your students. When you leave you have so many new friends and people in your life. These people make the experience and I know they will be in my life for a very long time.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
The most rewarding thing about this program was the relationships I built. I am still in contact with my Italian host family and plan on seeing them again within the next year. I made very good friends with all of the Americans and feel so fortunate to have these new connections across the country and across the globe.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
The cultural immersion was incredibly rewarding. I learned a lot from my host family, host school, and the students I worked with.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
I loved teaching in the schools! It was my favorite part. I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a teacher right away when I graduated from KU, but now I know for sure that I want to be a teacher.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
The thing I found most rewarding was knowing that I had taught my students and host siblings things, and have made an impact on their life.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
Even though the children knew I could not speak their language, they still welcomed me everyday with hugs and kisses. I felt honored to be a part of their classroom and watch how their culture goes about their daily preschool routines.

 

Maris Shannon Ayers, Summer 2013 Participant
I found that living in a small town where there were not many tourists or English speakers helped me to really become immersed in the culture and understand what it feels like to be culturally diverse.

 

Taylour Nicole Beamer, Summer 2013 Participant
One element I found most rewarding was working in the Elementary school in Carpi, Italy. I got to experience what a day was like for an Italian teacher and student. I loved working with all the children. They brought a smile to my face everyday. Working with these children also made me even more sure that I wanted to be a teacher.

 

Alexa M Clausen, Summer 2013 Participant
I found the experience of working within schools so different from those in American one of the most important experiences I could have had. It is a real challenge to understand that situation unless you have been placed within it and it is an experience that I believe every teacher should have to go through.

 

Michaela Paige Cohen, Summer 2013 Participant
The most rewarding elements of the program certainly came from social interactions. Of course, the teaching itself was an incredible and I came away with a lot more confidence and experience. However, the connections I made with my host family, my students and teachers, as well as the other American students were certainly the most rewarding. It truly warms my heart--as cheesy as that sounds--when I think about the time I spent in Italy during this program. Everyone was so eager to help, learn, and bridge the cultural gaps in order to understand each other. People want to be heard and people want to learn. The most rewarding moments came from broken English-Italian conversations with my students and family. It may not have been 100% clear what we were trying to say to each other, but the fact that they wanted to know what I had to say and wanted me to know their opinions as well really spoke a lot to a universal curiosity. These interactions opened many more doors into the education world than I expected. I originally thought I would be only interested in becoming an instructor, but after this program I am so much more interested in the research behind learning and how that goes along with cultural differences.

 

Kathryn Leigh Freedman, Summer 2013 Participant
By the last week I began to understand why I chose this program in the first place, not only did I grow as a person, but I will forever be a better teacher because of my time abroad.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I feel that the most rewarding part of the study abroad program was being able to teach inside an Italian school and getting to experience the other side of what it is like to be a learner of a second language, given that I will inevitably have an English language learner in my future classroom. It was wonderful to be able to experience what they will experience first hand, because I really feel like I will be able to relate to them directly now.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The teaching in a cultural diverse classroom really challenged me to be aware of aspects I was never aware of before.

 

Megan Nicole Stahl, Summer 2013 Participant
As an education major we are constantly being reminded that we must think of our non-native English speakers and make accommodations for them. This study abroad experience had me trade places with the student as I was in an environment where I spoke very little of the native language. I will never be able to overlook those students in my classroom.

 

Shelby Anne Stephens, Summer 2013 Participant
The fact that I was able to observe and teach in a classroom was the most rewarding element. Even though most of the day was spent in another language that I really didn't understand, I still learned so much about their behavior management and how they run the day in the school. Children all over the world have many similarities and it was amazing to see how many similarities I found between schools and techniques that I want to incorporate into my future classroom that I haven't seen here in America.

 

Haley Nicole Becker, Summer 2014 Participant
The part of the program that I found most rewarding was being paired with an Italian classroom. I found it very benefitting to be paired with a classroom in a culture and language that I was not familiar with. It challenged me everyday, but when the students gave me a hug or understood a concept, all of my hard work and frustration was worth it. If I can teach in a classroom where no one speaks my home language, I can teach in any classroom.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
Going into the program I didnt expect that I would be able to teach that much. I thought I would be assigned a few days and I would give my lesson and I would be done. I was completely wrong. I gave 2 lessons everyday to 2 different grades ranging from 1st-5th. This experience was so rewarding because I actually felt like I was helping not only the students with their english but the teachers as well.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
The elements I found most rewarding was working as a teacher in my Italian school and being able to compare their system of schooling to our own. Even though I did not speak the language, I was still able to feel a real connection to my students. Although communication was extremely difficult at times, it was an eye-opening experience in that I was able to truly feel what it might be like for one of my own future students who might not know the language. Being able to compare and contrast the American system of schooling to the Italian one was also beneficial. Without ever making a comparison, there could be a failure to see what the American system is lacking or exceeding in. This comparison changed me as a teacher, giving me more insight on the education system. Having said that, I feel like I am now a more confident and sympathetic teacher, which I find extremely rewarding.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
Teaching in the classrooms I was placed in was definitely rewarding. There was one point during the program that I helped an individual student finish a math worksheet and it was much more difficult to do than I expected, but we finished it. It really gave me some insight on how difficult it is to teach students who speak another language. And this was working with an indiviual student, with one-on-one attention. From this experience I was able to begin to grasp how difficult it would be to try and reach that student when teaching to the whole class. Another extremely rewarding part of this program was watching my host family go from complete strangers to people calling me their daughter in less than a month. This trip allowed me to form quite a few strong and hopefully lifelong relationships/friendships not only with my host family, but also with other Americans from other universities that were participating in this program.

 

Travis Michael Kesinger, Summer 2015 Participant
I found the time I spent working with kids to be the most rewarding. I had a variety of different experiences from one-on-one work, to teaching lessons to an entire class, and small group work as well. It offered me the chance to apply what I have been learning at KU in a tangible way.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding element of the program was the ability to travel to another country.

 

Christian A Espinosa, Summer 2017 Participant
It was rewarding to overcome the language barrier in the classrooms. I was forced to do lots of physical and verbal demonstration to ensure that the students understood my lessons in English.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I found the cultural experience in the classroom most rewarding. I did not know what to expect, but I learned so much by comparing and contrasting classes I have observed in the US and my second grade class in Italy. I now feel like I can empathize with English Language Learners in US classrooms, because I had the experience of being in a classroom where all instruction was in a language I didn't know well. I also gained valuable teaching experience through teaching English lessons to my second graders.

 

Lauren Margaret Hotchkiss, Summer 2017 Participant
Through this experience, something I found most rewarding was being on the other side noticing what it is like being the 2nd language learner. For students that would come into my class back in the states as English language learners, I had sympathy for them and wanted to help them succeed but never really knew how since I have never experienced that myself personally. But through this program, I was able to actually have first hand experience. I had to learn ways to function in the classroom other than language. My teachers spoke little to no English and my students spoke only the most basic vocabulary they picked up in their English class. Most of the time I would sit in class very confused because their lectures, textbooks, and conversations were all in a language I could not speak or understand. Even though this was happening and it was very difficult, I was able to pick up some strategies that helped me along the way. Because of this, I feel more prepared and sympathetic to ELL's that will be coming into my classroom. No matter what I will always have ELL's in my class in the future, and this program has only prepared me more to help them along their journey.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding elements of this program and seeing how happy the Italian students are that they have an American teacher in their classroom. They have been looking forward for us to come for months and as soon as I walked in a was receiving hugs and big smiles. They would give their full attention and all effort into learning english because it is very important to them. Any little thing that you teach or do for them means the world to them.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
It was most rewarding getting to build relationships with my host family that will last a lifetime. Also, getting to see another country and how their school system operates.

 

Autumn C Rodriguez, Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding part of the program was being in the schools. I did not speak an ounce of Italian before going this program, but my host family and teachers were so understanding and really taught me a lot about the culture but even more than that my students still kissed and hugged me even though I was this strange person in their classroom who sounded probably so silly to them. With this program I truly got to see what English Language Learners in American classrooms go through.

 

Sophia Lin Sears, Summer 2017 Participant
I think the most rewarding part was teaching English in the schools. My students loved me and I loved seeing their faces when they learned a new word in English.

 

Laura Marie Sharp, Summer 2017 Participant
I found teaching in the school the most rewarding experience, as well as learning all the cultural differences the school held.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
It was so rewarding to teach English lessons to my Italian students planned or unplanned. It truly brought me joy and I was even able to learn Italian at the same time!

 

Janelle Kathryn Dempsey, Summer 2018 Participant
The most rewarding elements of the program were the opportunities to live with an Italian family and teach in a middle school. I was able to form authentic, long-lasting friendships with my family, my students and the teachers that I worked alongside. I benefitted tremendously from living life as the locals did. I wasn't a tourist, therefore, I was able to see beneath the surface and authentically learn about life across the world.

 

Ashley Lauren Fox, Summer 2018 Participant
Teaching English lessons in the school was the most rewarding part of the program because it allowed me to stretch my own abilities as a teacher by teaching in a language that was not the students' native language.

 

Madeline Nicole Lasater, Summer 2018 Participant
During this program I was able to be an Italian Language Learner and developed empathy towards students that will be in my future classrooms. Learning another language isn't easy, and I was able to better understand the difference between academic language and social language on an entirely new level.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
The most rewarding part of this experience was seeing that I was still able to teach my students and my students were still able to learn from me despite the language barrier.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
The elements of the program that I found most rewarding were being able to work alongside the teachers in the Italian schools, but also being able to be a part of a family during my time abroad.

 

Breana Mercedes Sharee Thomas, Summer 2018 Participant
I think living with my host family was the most rewarding aspect of the program, because I've gained a second family and home.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
Keep an open mind. Be willing to try new things, and flexible when something is different or a bit uncomfortable. The more you are willing to put into the experience, the more you will get out. Participate in as many activities as you can with your host family, offer your help, bring them activities- just stay involved. It will be so rewarding and provide you with an unforgettable experience.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
I learned about how to interact, work, and communicate with people who do not speak the same language as I do in a respectful and meaningful way.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
The biggest thing that I learned was that I can be independent and go to a foreign country and learn new things. I also learned what it is like to feel out of my comfort zone.

 

Katherine Lynn Schlichter, Summer 2012 Participant
I think the most valuable thing I learned was actually being on my own in a foreign country, now I feel like I could conquer the world by how much more independent I am after going on this trip!
Also in education all I learned about last year in class was how to teach to all different cultures and types of students. Actually getting to go emerge myself fully in another culture by living in their country and experiencing how they live and learn first handedly was the best way to sum up everything I learned this past year and help me fully understand the importance of it. The best way for future teachers to learn and grow is by hands on experience, so this was the absolute best way to help me grow into the best teacher I can be.

 

Olivia Rosetta Amick, Summer 2013 Participant
I learned many things about myself and even though this experience was challenging, it helped me grow as a person. I became more aware of myself and how to be an educator. I learned about a different people, country, and culture and that experience will be with me forever.

 

Maris Shannon Ayers, Summer 2013 Participant
You really need to be open-minded, appreciative, and flexible while living among people of a different culture. Sometimes you will be frustrated and confused, but you just have to go with it and learn to enjoy every minute. You may never have the opportunity to live like this again. I also learned how privileged I am as an American, and how important it is to not only appreciate what I have, but to venture out to learn about other cultures and appreciate their language and way of living.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The biggest thing I learned was how to interact with foreign exchange students and their families in my classroom. I saw how the teachers interacted with the pakistani kids that new little italian and little english. It gives me more of an idea how much effort I need to put out to help the international families feel at home and connected. Being on the outside not knowing the language helped me to put myself in the shoes of my students I may have that don't know English. It helped me to get a feel for what it's like being new to language and culture, and things I can do for them that helped me while I was abroad.

 

Michaela Paige Cohen, Summer 2013 Participant
Something I learned on this program that would be helpful to future students would be just keep an open mind. There are going to be days where you have to eat something you don't like, or engage in an activity you're not used to. There will probably be a lot of days where you take a shower in a very small, cramped stall for about five minutes at most. But that is part of the experience! You may not miss those specific instances once you're back in America, but you will without a doubt miss the experience as a whole--including all the mishaps that came along with it!

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I became much more confident before I begin my process as a student teacher. If I can teach students who don't speak English and make it work, I can do anything!

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I learned how to communicate with a different variety of people who do not speak my language. It was interesting shuffling around communication techniques and working with them in order to be successful. I can use this when I have ESL students or students who are struggling to understand the academic language I am teaching.

 

Kassandra Renee Betz, Summer 2015 Participant
This experience has helped me as a future teacher. It has given me insight on different teaching strategies and helped me find out what type of teacher I want to be one day.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
Being in an Italian classroom everyday and not knowing Italian makes you realize what ELL students go through everyday in any classroom. It was a great tool to learn from and way to become a better teacher by understanding what needs ELL students need to be met.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
Relax, and go with the flow. You will be fine.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
That you should take full advantage of every opportunity to go out with your family or your friends instead of sitting at home!

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Just enjoy every moment, even when you're exhausted.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
This program is very valuable because you get the experience of living with a host family and the experience of teaching abroad! My best advice would be to go in with few expectations, and to always be open to trying new activities or foods. I stepped out of my comfort zone in the home I was staying in and in my school, and I learned a lot from it.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
From this program I have learned that even though it is good to have a general idea of what you need to teach, you should learn to be very flexible and be willing to change things as you go. Time is also something that does not exist and to not worry if you run out of time because there will always be time to finish at some point.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
You must learn to be incredibly flexible and comfortable in difficult situations. You learn to navigate life in another country where you don't speak the language.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Learning another language is very important. If you can start learning another language at any age it will help you in the long run. I also learned to go with the flow. Sometimes your family just decides on a whim that there is something they have to do and you have to adjust to either go with them or say you need to hang back. Living with a family was super great. It allowed you to branch out of your comfort zone and you were able to see how another family was run in another country,

 

Autumn C Rodriguez, Summer 2017 Participant
I was able to put myself in the shoes of an ELL. Being in an environment that was new and unfamiliar was pretty intimidating and I have so much more respect for people who up and move from what they know to start a new life.

 

Sophia Lin Sears, Summer 2017 Participant
This experience has helped me increase my cultural awareness. I learned a lot about the Italian culture, including the food, history, music, and their education system. I learned a lot from my teaching experience and I feel more prepared to take on English Language Learners in my future classroom. I know to be patient, positive and supportive when trying to teach another language

 

Summer 2017 Participant
You really have to go with the flow. There were so many times when things did not go as I had planned. It's important to remember to be patient. Be prepared to sacrifice your time and energy in various ways throughout the trip. Just know, that you will be a far more well-rounded person and educator after this experience. I promise! It is mentally, emotionally, and physically draining at times because of the language and culture barriers; however, you will make it and you will have lots of support! Have fun and learn lots!

 

Summer 2018 Participant
I think the most important thing I learned was how to open myself up to others and that language barriers aren't communication barriers.

 

Ashley Lauren Fox, Summer 2018 Participant
I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and really think about putting others before myself through living with a host family. In the schools, I really learned to see a classroom from the perspective of an English Language Learner.