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International Social Work: An Italian Perspective : Reviews (Milan)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Office of Study Abroad
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Kira Maria Collins, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of this program was visiting the different agencies and hearing the great accomplishments they have made in the social services world.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I don't know if I can pinpoint my favorite part of the program. I enjoyed everything from visiting the social service agencies and learning about them to spending time and getting to know the group I traveled with.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Being able to interact with patients at some of the social service agencies, such as doing crafts with patients with disabilities and meeting some of the patients at the psychiatric community we visited.
Florence was my favorite city that we visited.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of the program was seeing the beauty Italy has to offer. Our trips to Como and Bergamo were absolutely beautiful and fulfilling.

 

Alexis Nicole Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of this program overall was being given the opportunity to work with such a wide group of people. However, going into further detail, we got to visit a facility for people with disabilities and it really opened my eyes up to a new passion I might have. Seeing these people work with the agency program to make their everyday lives easier was amazing. Simple things to me, I realized were not so simple to others, making a bed, putting together a meal, taking a shower, etc. It was interesting to learn and interact with a few of the members who had nothing but smiles on their faces.

 

Glenda Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of the program was visiting the various social agencies around Milan and the interactions we had with the people from those agencies. I particularly enjoyed learning their perspective and beliefs. The way they do social work was very interesting and very valuable for me. It was great to see the interest these agencies for welfare of their clients and they seem to do the best they can in making their client’s lives better.
I also enjoyed visiting historic sites and gaining cultural knowledge from the varaious places visited.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The site visits that allowed us to work one on one with the clients. Getting to talk to the people receiving services made me feel like I was getting a better idea of the places we were visiting.

 

Cynthia Christine Marta, Summer 2013 Participant
We were able to explore a variety of social work topics through site visits as well as a multitude of cultural experiences all at once. I felt like I accomplished so much more than I anticipated from 12 days.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the site visits. It is one thing to learn about how policies work in Italy. It is an entirely different thing to have the opportunity to experience how the policies work.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
This program was a perfect balance of learning, challenge, and fun. The food was amazing, the content interesting, and the leadership was terrific.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
I enjoyed the site visits. It was amazing to see social work in practice in another country and be able to talk to workers in areas in which I was interested.

 

Emily Husen Stortenbecker, Summer 2015 Participant
My favorite part of the program was one of our site visits. We went to a local homeless shelter to see how it functioned in comparison to those in the United States. There was a little Italian boy about 5 years old there who came up and poked me in the back. He kept following me around and wanting to show me his cool tricks. When I was leaving he leaned out the window and ask to hold my hand. When I was walking away down the street he was yelling goodbye in Italian. It was just so cool to have a connection with him even though there was a language barrier.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of the program was the vast amount of opportunities I had to learn about the culture and how social work was implemented in Italy.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of this program was learning what another country deems important in terms of social services in comparison to the US.

 

Taylor Starling, Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of studying abroad in Italy was having the opportunity to interact and build friendships with locals.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My Favorite part of this program was the cultural experience. It was life changing to see how people in other countries are affected by social work and what social workers do to help them. The places we visited were very different from the United States and offered an opportunity to change my mindset about my career work.

 

Derek Sampson Hobling, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part about the Summer Study Abroad Program was the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture different from my own while learning more about my profession and myself with the support and companionship of other KU students and staff. It was a life changing experience and one that I highly recommend!

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the opportunity to encounter unique experiences and people at the different social work agencies. We were able to meet both service users and staff in both professional and personal environments, which was a special way to soak up Italian culture and its social work.

 

Brittany Morgan Perez, Summer 2017 Participant
I really enjoyed learning about the different agencies that are offered to the public in Milan but would have loved to see different agencies in the southern not so rich part of Italy.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Touring the social service agencies was such a unique experience. I was able to compare and contrast US services with Italian.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
Being able to gain a different perspective on how other cultures view social work while also gaining cultural experience was something that could never be learned in the classroom!

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part about the Italian Perspective program were the site visits. It was really neat to see the various agencies and the work that they do with their clients (guests).

 

Kimberly S Van Dorn-Robinson, Summer 2018 Participant
I truly enjoyed the site visits. It gave us the opportunity to go into social work agencies, ask questions and tour the agencies. I learned a great deal about the differences in social agencies in Italy and the United States.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Being exposed to a completely different culture, language, customs, beliefs, and so on. It was such an amazing experience!!!

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I believe getting familiar to other cultures is very rewarding. Being exposed to a new language, cuisine, and environment can really teach someone a lot about themselves.

 

Alexis Nicole Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
A lot of the meals we ate were paid for and I was very thankful for this. Also, we ate together as a group and got to talk about our experiences throughout our days. This was very rewarding because I got to hear other students perspectives and what they thought of the different site visits. Also, getting to know other students who have the same interests, but want to focus more on a different area of study was great too!

 

Glenda Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
To me the most rewarding thing aspect of this experience was recognizing that there is a world existing outside the United States, and that it necessarily does not rotate the way we sometimes think. I feel that many times, we as Americans can be impatient and have a sense of entitlement. It was a great to appreciate and actually take in the fact that there is a bigger picture. It was a good to recognize that despite borders, physical boundaries, language, backgrounds, etc. people around world experience and face similar problems and success. At the same time, it was rewarding to see that there are people around the world who are willing to work with people in adverse situations and make their lives better. I enjoyed learning that people value different things than we do in the US. Overall it was a great reminder in the fact there is a world outside the US, and that when it comes down to it we are all humans and have a connection someway somehow.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The site visits, feeling a connection with someone who I only understood after he or she was translated was cool because our guide would say something I whole heartedly agreed with and knew many of the people in our group felt that same spark of hope that our mindset is universal.

 

Cynthia Christine Marta, Summer 2013 Participant
There was a constant wide variety of interactions with people which is the most rewarding thing because that's what social work is focused on: interacting with people and exploring being human together.

 

Catelyn Rose Smith, Summer 2013 Participant
I found that the connections we made as social workers together with these agencies were incredibly rewarding. We did so much in such a small period of time. We all really came close and were able to enjoy Italia.

 

Erica Marie Davis, Summer 2015 Participant
Visiting the social services was the most rewarding because it made me critically think about the social policy or welfare that we may have in the United States, and it allowed me to think about how we can possible improve the way we may do things in the United states based off the things I had learned in Italy

 

Summer 2015 Participant
What I found most rewarding was being able to see how social services were administered in a different country. I also felt that being able to compare Italian social services with The United States was a good way to see how the field of social work has progressed in Europe as well as the United States.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
The most rewarding part of this program was gaining an international perspective on social work and seeing where the US can have more improvement for our citizens.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding thing about traveling abroad for school was the traveling. I feel more cultured and confident in my travel abilities and communication skills. It offered a great opportunity for me to network and plan more travels.

 

Derek Sampson Hobling, Summer 2017 Participant
I found the interaction with both host university and local agency clients/staff to be the most rewarding aspect in terms of the academic portion of the program. In terms of personal growth, having the opportunity to travel to Europe and visit in person many historical sites that I had only previously read about gave me a true sense of connection with those different culturally from me and also brought about a desire to explore and experience different cultures as much as I can in the years to come. It was a life changing experience where I experienced both personal and professional growth.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding part of the program was connecting with agency staff and service users, as well as our interpreter. They were warm people willing to share a lot of information.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The connection with the Catholic University including professors and students was beneficial.

 

Kimberly S Van Dorn-Robinson, Summer 2018 Participant
We were able to tour the social work agencies and in some of the agencies we were able to spend time with the clients and residents. In some instances, the clients/residents would have a presentation about their agency and invites us to share their experiences. I found these times the most heart warming and rewarding.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
I learned that I should have reviewed the basics of Italian before traveling, such as "hello," "thank you," "please," and "restroom," to name a few. It would have been a lot easier for me to communicate the first day with people that live there rather than learn it as I went, but I was still able to communicate and learn throughout the trip!

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Go into the experience with an open mind. The culture is different from the United States, but that is what is great about it.

 

Alexis Nicole Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
I learned that although you may be set on one area of social work, study abroad gives you the opportunity to have a little “taste” of everything. There are areas I never thought I would be interested in, but after this program I would definitely consider them! I also learned that before studying abroad I had my own perception of what Italy should look like and how the people are. Some of my assumptions were correct however I learned a lot more about Italy by really being there then just thinking what it would be like.

 

Glenda Hernandez, Summer 2013 Participant
I think the most helpful advice for future students is to remember that not every nation around the world is like the US and that life is not carried on the way we it is here. Being respectul of the host country, being open to differences and new experiences, remembering to relax and just enjoying the time(because it goes by fast, would be my best advice.

 

Cynthia Christine Marta, Summer 2013 Participant
There were several cultural things that differed from the U.S. 1) People in Italy generally take their time and enjoy things instead of rushing so it's best not to get extremely anxious over the time 2)Italian culture places a large emphasis on family, Catholicism, and story telling 3) They are very polite during conversation and wait to have their turn to speak; whoever is speaking at that time has the floor and shouldn't be interrupted 4) the weather was similar to that of Kansas: varied unpredictably from moment to moment 5) beware of strangers offering to help you in train stations 6) restrooms in train stations require you pay 1 Euro to use the facility 7) never ask for parmesan cheese on your pizza because it's considered offensive 8) if you want to eat lasagna you have to go during lunch time because they're always out by dinner time 9) In Florence, restaurants outside the Duomo close in the afternoon from 2-7ish 10) bring nice clothes, because Italians don't wear jeans and t-shirts everywhere 11) bring cloth bags for groceries 12) remember water isn't free

 

Summer 2016 Participant
I could give a lecture on how I feel that this program would be helpful to future students, but I will try to keep it simple. I learned more than I thought I would. Every country does social work differently and I feel that it's important to know how other areas around the world are implementing social work policies. I think students could benefit and take some of the skills that are seen in other places and use them to help them become a more well-rounded individual and social worker. Any student who wants to step out of their comfort zone and become more open-minded should take this trip.

 

Michelle Richardson Ridley, Summer 2016 Participant
I learned stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing. Learning and trying new things can be scary but in the end it brings great rewards.

 

Taylor Starling, Summer 2016 Participant
It was a wonderful experience that aided my internal and external growth.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
This program taught me that its important to pack light! I traveled pretty light for the length of my program but there were some things i never touched. Its tricky getting luggage on public transportation in general and especially in foreign countries.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I did some research for the class work before we left, but I should have explored more than just my 1 topic. I learned a lot about Italian social work, but I would recommend doing some background research before going.

 

Yuliana Negrete, Summer 2018 Participant
I learned that you have to be really open- minded, especially if you are traveling to a new country. You also realize how important it is to learn a new language other than your own to be able to communicate well with others.