Education Majors Participate in Study Abroad Program in Rome

Students immersed in their study abroad program in Rome

From left to right: Erin Christine McCoy, Alexander Paul Del Brocco, Emily Brooke Blickhahn, Gianna Fricano, Arianna Termini, Nathalie P. Baret, Angelina Leigh Casimirri, Madison Paige Amini, Maria Rose Dalle Ave, Gianna M. Marra, Alaisa Kay Garrido, Anthony Psaroudis, and Gianna May Ferriso.

February 6, 2024

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience for our students; it opens their eyes to different ways of life and promotes a deeper sense of understanding and tolerance. The School of Education (TSOE) Semester Study Abroad Program is designed for its undergraduate teacher education student population. The program offers the first and only semester-long study abroad experience in Italy based on a collaborative partnership between an American University's School of Education and local Italian schools. 

The goal of the program is to provide both theoretical coursework and practical teaching experiences for students in the program. The program offers core courses in liberal arts on the Rome, Italy campus taught by Italian professors and online courses aligned with the Spring semester in New York. The program also requires students to take education courses (EDU 1003/1053, 1016 and/or 1055) on the Rome campus and observe, team-teach, and solo teach in local Italian classrooms.

The journey begins with acceptance into the program by the School of Education and the Office of International Education (OIE). Then, students attend mandatory pre-departure meetings to prepare for the experience. They take cultural awareness workshops provided by the Office of International Education (OIE) and a series of pre-departure meetings required and offered by The School of Education.

"The School of Education is proud to run this program that embodies St. John's University's vision for global education. This experience changes our students' lives and makes them far better educators," said James D. Wolfinger, Ph.D., Dean, The School of Education.

During the 2024 spring semester-long program in Rome, the 12 childhood and adolescent education major students are busy! Students learn content and engage in intercultural communication in Italian and English throughout their interactions with Italian professors in their core courses. During their education courses and student teaching experiences, TSOE students grapple with the complexities of linking theory to practice when teaching English language learners in the Italian school setting. This year, students teach in the I.C. Claudio Abbado - Scuola Primaria "Ermenegildo Pistelli" and I.C. Claudio Abbado - Scuola Secondaria di I grado "Giovanni XXIII" (elementary and middle school, respectively).

The program also offers opportunities for students to pursue individual interests. TSOE students write and reflect on personal, professional, and cultural goals weekly. In addition, the students participate in extracurricular activities related to the intercultural experience. For example, service-learning activities, including a clothing drive for a local charity and a language exchange session with local Italian students, have linked our future teachers with the Roman community. Students also attend pizza- and gelato-making courses! TSOE students also participate in university-sponsored trips or organize their weekend travel in Italy and the European Union.

"As a result of the guided international educational experiences, we have witnessed students develop a unique and essential skill set to teach linguistically and culturally diverse students in their foreign setting" said Mary Ann Maslak, Ph.D., Professor and Program Facilitator."