As a Vira Heinz Scholarship recipient, Miranda spent a meaningful six weeks in Sorrento, Italy studying at Sant’Anna Institute. While in Italy, Miranda took courses in both the Italian language, and Marine Biology. She gained immense knowledge of important subjects such as ocean currents, ocean floor topography, and marine conservation. Visiting marine protected areas and engaging in conversation with marine biologists opened her eyes to just how negatively pollution has affected marine environments. With fellow classmates, she visited Crapolla Cove, where she kayaked and snorkeled in the crystal-clear water and experienced first-hand the plants, organisms, and marine life she had been studying. Miranda had the opportunity to witness the conservation efforts of local environmentalists that strive to protect not only marine life, but the overall ecosystem of the Mediterranean. While travelling throughout southern and northern Italy, she could observe the differences in culture between regions, and learned how unique each different Italian city is. The connections and friendships she gained in Italy taught her about the true Italian lifestyle, improved her Italian language skills, and expanded her worldview.
CEE Title: The American Abroad: Discussing Social Identity and Positionality in a Global and Domestic Environment
My cohort started this adventure by greeting guests and asking them to take a label, writing labels they felt comfortable sharing. For example, I put “white, heterosexual, woman, daughter, and sister.” Once they placed the label on however, we asked them to place a sticky note over top of it, to be explained later in our program. Once everyone was settled, my cohort and I began a short overview of where we studied abroad, the impact traveling made on us, and the discrimination that we experienced or witnessed while abroad. The program then moved into the interactive and discussion based section. My cohort created a poll via PollMe, where guests could answer questions, and receive feedback on their answer, and the answers of others participating. Our main ticket questions were, “have you witnessed or experienced harassment/discrimination in another country,” “are you part of a marginalized group?” and “as a US American, I feel that the country I traveled to has a positive opinion of the US.” Once the main question was asked, and the results were announced, my cohort went to each group to facilitate deeper discussion about the topic. We then asked the guests to remove their sticky note, if they believe that they would not experience discrimination because of any part of their identity. Groups discussed discrimination, and how they might react/act differently if they saw it occur abroad versus. home in the US. Hitting on difficult questions, we even asked attendees if a stereotype, or how someone looked, has ever made them act differently around someone. We wrapped up our CEE by opening the floor for questions, and thanked everyone for making our event a success.