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SPRINGFIELD –  Alexander Smith from Framingham was among 17 Western New England University students who traveled to Sorrento, Italy for three weeks this summer to immerse themselves in the study of Italian culture.

The students were accompanied by Professional Educator of Communication Brenda Garton-Sjoberg, Director of the Sorrento Study Abroad Program, and Professor of Psychology Dennis Kolodziejski. Also accompanying the group was Professor of Neuroscience Sheralee Tershner. Smith enrolled in two Western New England University courses, Business Communication, taught by Professor Garton-Sjoberg, and Italian Culture, taught by a professor from the Sant’Anna Institute, WNE’s international partner school in the study abroad program.

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Students describe the Sorrento Study Abroad Program as “life changing,” as they implemented international travel skills and experienced global business practices while studying and living in Italy.

“This trip abroad has been one that will be in our memories for countless years to come. Not only will we remember the many historic sites and all of the history we indulged in within the process. We will also be cherishing the friendships we have made for hopefully, many more years,” said Smith a junior Management and Leadership major. “Not only was this an amazing bonding experience with our fellow classmates, but with the staff and faculty, as well. The adversity and perseverance these individuals displayed to us students, goes to show that no matter what, if you stick together you can face any obstacle forth coming.”

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Tours, guest lectures, and site visits allowed students to learn beyond the classroom as they studied the Italian culture and business communication taught in the class. Throughout their stay, students had the opportunity to participate in various activities, such as making their own gelato, cooking an authentic Italian dinner, and touring the world-famous Amalfi Coast. In addition, they visited Naples, Pompeii Ruins, Villa Rufolo, Capri Island, Positano, Ravello, and the Royal Palace of Caserta. They immersed themselves in the Italian lifestyle with lectures from experts at olive oil and lemon farms, a mozzarella cheese factory, and a specialty coffee business.

“It is extremely rewarding to take students on this study abroad trip every summer. These three-weeks provide transformative educational experiences to see students grow and learn more about themselves as they learn about a new culture in another country,” said Professor Garton-Sjoberg. “These life-changing lessons in world-famous site visits provide instruction that could never be taught from a textbook or in a classroom. Besides lectures at our partner school, the classroom setting is every time students step outside into the beloved Italian culture. The entire region is their campus.”

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This unique learning opportunity for students to attend Western New England University’s Study Abroad Program at the Sant’Anna Institute is made possible through the longstanding partnership between the two schools. This was Western New England University’s 5th trip to Sorrento, Italy.

Western New England University (WNE) is a private, nationally ranked, comprehensive institution with a focus on preparing work-ready and world-ready graduates. Founded in 1919 in Springfield, Massachusetts as a division of Northeastern College, WNE’s 215-acre suburban campus serves more than 3,700 students, including over 2,500 full-time undergraduates.

More than 47,000 alumni have earned degrees through its 90+ undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs at Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and School of Law. Students come from 39 U.S. states and territories and 23 countries. Of 45,104 living alumni, 30% remain within the region, residing in the four Western Massachusetts counties and northern Connecticut.

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In full transparency, the press release and the photo were submitted to SOURCE media for publication.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.