Study abroad students become “Angels of Beauty”

South Puget Sound Community College student Jasmine Sanborn currently joins other students from around Washington State in Florence, Italy as part of the Washington Community College Consortium for Study Abroad (WCCCSA) program.

The WCCCSA partners with the American International Foreign Study (AIFS) in Florence to help students with their study abroad experience. Each week, Sherrie Buendel, the study abroad advisor at SPSCC receives an email update from AIFS on what the students are up to.

Last month students participated in a local volunteer activity as part of the “Angeli del Bello” (Angels of Beauty”) initiative. The project is a volunteer-based foundation that aims to curb urban deterioration in Florence.

The group of students and their faculty helped clean up cigarette butts and trash at Piazza Santa Croce, a main square of the center of Florence. Their volunteer work was featured in a short article for the local English speaking newspaper The Florentine. In the email update to Buendel, Sophie Monkman of AFIS said students enjoyed their activity very much and will participate again in the following weeks.

“This is our home, too, and we want to keep it clean,” one of the students, who was not cited, said.

That same week, a portion of the study abroad student group participated in an oil tasting, spent time on the Amalfi coast, time in Capri, and even visited Pompeii and climbed the volcano known for destroying the city. Other activities included “boat rides, a chair lift, guided tours and lots of amazing views,” said Monkman.

Students also had the chance to tour the Uffizi art gallery and attend a cultural lecture on Italian politics. The lecture was about religion and the importance of the Catholic Church to Italians. The students were then taken on a tour of the local church Santa Croce. They also took in an opera; a production of Carmen in St. Mark’s English church.

Students have been living and studying in Italy for approximately five weeks and will be there until the beginning of June. With the completion of the program they will earn a total of 15 college credits towards their degree.

There are several other study abroad opportunities available within the coming years, including trips to Costa Rica, Australia/New Zealand, London, Japan, South Africa, Spain, and Florence. Scholarships and financial aid are available for those who qualify. Buendel says it is never too early to start your application process. If students are interested in applying or inquiring about funding or programs, Sherrie encourages them to visit the study abroad page on the SPSCC website, the WCCCSA website, and www.iie.org/gilman for scholarship opportunities. Students can also stop by Buendel’s office located in building 21 room 292-A.