My name is Taylor Chelo, and I am a Junior English Major enrolled in Quinnipiac’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program. I am so excited to announce that I am not only studying abroad in Perugia, Italy this coming Spring Semester, but I am also engaging in this cultural, Rite of Passage experience through the QU301 hybrid course!
Ever since my week-long mission trip in Montego Bay, Jamaica during my junior year of high school, I have become more eager to travel to countries outside of my home country in order to educate myself on diverse cultures, to step out of my comfort zone, to mature as both a student and an individual, to touch the lives of children in other countries, and, most importantly, to learn more about my place and purpose beyond America’s borders. Given my English Major and my enrollment in the MAT Elementary Education Program, I can see myself gaining a new perspective on the importance of education through a different culture and potentially teaching English as a second language to children in other countries. Taking this opportunity to study abroad during my time at Quinnipiac would allow me to broaden my horizons as I pursue my dream occupation as an educator. This all being said, I will be playing an active role in the global community as I travel to Perugia, Italy this Spring Semester.
To be honest, I originally had my heart set on studying in Australia. I wanted to travel somewhere much farther away from the U.S than Europe so I could truly take advantage of studying abroad being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What better way than doing so than taking a flight 16+ hours away to a beautiful, English-speaking country? However, after consulting with my mentor, Mark Tortora, regarding my interest in traveling here, he informed me that there have been difficulties in placing MAT students, like myself, into Australian school systems to conduct field work. Although this was disheartening at first given my fervent desire–entrenched in 16+ hour “wanderlust”–, changing the location of where I study abroad proved to be beneficial in the end, especially in creating a more culturally diverse experience for me.
After Mark presented me with alternative abroad options that would provide me with an Elementary Education fieldwork component, I finally determined my destination of study: the Umbra Institute of Perugia, Italy. Instead of traveling to a country that was predominantly English-speaking, I will be tackling the Italian language for the first time, especially via my field work in Italian Elementary classrooms. Although this will be a challenge for me, I hope to embrace it and see it as an opportunity to get truly immersed into the Italian culture, as well as use my extensive background in Spanish, using cognates to assist me in grasping the Italian language. Not only will I become connected to Italy through learning their linguistics, but I will also identify closely with the predominance of their Roman Catholic tradition. I have come to learn and love my faith, and I am eager to delve into my spiritual identity more by visiting the Vatican and exposing myself to its historical origins. My study abroad experience will truly be a Rite of Passage beyond learning about the language and religious culture of Italy. This QU301 hybrid course will certainly allow me to do so.
“It is my time.” This short yet profound phrase comes to mind when I think of the term, “Rite of Passage.” Undergoing a rite of passage allows one to take advantage of new opportunities for personal growth and development. This all being said, I hope to live by the wise words of essayist Jonathan Swift:
“Every day is an opportunity to make a new happy ending. May you live all the days of your life.”
Now that the opportunity has presented itself to take my education to Perugia, Italy, I know that this is my time.