for consortium members
and associated universities
March/April 2011, newsletter. N. 6


Trip to Tuscany
Exchange Party
Student Events and Excursions
Student Spotlights

(Marta, Ariella, Davide)

A total of 50 students are currently studying in Bologna through BCSP: 21 annual, 29 spring semester. BCSP course exams took place in April. Exams at the University of Bologna are in May and June. The program will end on June 30.

Just a reminder that past BCSP Newsletters are available on our website under About the Program.

During spring break (April 21 - 26), Ariella Phillips (University of Notre Dame, BCSP Spring Semester 2011), travelled to the city of Lecce, in the Puglia region, with her Italian flat mate, Marta, a student of Cosmology, and their friend, Davide, a Pharmaceutical studies major, in order to experience a 'huge, grand, crazy southern family Easter'- as Ariella enthusiastically put it. See Ariella in the photo on the left.

Special thanks to student Leo Guillermo, University of Wisconsin/BCSP Spring '11, for the Tuscany trip pictures featured in this newsletter. See Leo and Harrison (Cornell University/BCSP Spring '11) admire the sun rise from behind the hills in the picture above.

View from the monastery Sant'Anna in Camprena

Group picture taken at the Piombaia farmhouse


The BCSP annual trip to Tuscany took place May 5 - 6. Students stay overnight at Sant'Anna in Camprena, a monastery-turned-hotel in the picturesque Valdorcia. The purpose of the trip is to visit Tuscan towns that students would not be able to reach on their own. The first stop is in Monteriggioni, a medieval hill-top fortress built in 1213 and still perfectly intact. In the afternoon students explore Siena with a guided tour of the Piazza del Campo, famous for the traditional Palio festival, and cathedral Santa Maria Assunta.

The following morning includes a stop in Pienza. During his papacy from 1459 - 1464, Pio II transformed his humble native hamlet into an architecturally perfect Renaissance village. The group then proceeds on to Montalcino, another medieval town with a castle on top surrounded by vineyards producing the world - renowned Brunello di Montalcino.

This year BCSP added to the itinerary a guided tour of a family-run farm, called Piombaia, located just outside Montalcino. Students met the father, Roberto, and two of his three children, Francesco and Cecilia, who gave a tour of their terrain and explained the detailed task in making a living off their land producing wines, including Brunello, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

From Piombaia, the group began a two hour trek to the Sant'Antimo abbey, an enchanting example of Romanesque architecture immersed in olive groves set against the emerald backdrop of the hillside.


A mixer for the BCSP and UniBo exchange students was held on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The UniBo students that attended have been assigned the Overseas scholarship to study abroad at the BCSP consortium institutions for a semester or an academic year. They were curious to meet the American students that will be on campus with them next year. The American students were eager to make new Italian friends and talk to them about life in the U.S. In the spirit of the exchange, the BCSP students prepared American dishes and desserts and the UniBo students brought Italian culinary specialties.


Viist the BCSP Facebook page to see photos of the
Holiday Party, Exchange Party, group picture in Ravenna, and Trip to Tuscany

Lauren Woodward UIUC






Allie Cooper IU - Paige Goodlett UNC

Becky Lee CU - Harrison Warren CU

Jessica Wehr IU

Meghan McFadden UMN - Claudine Baccheschi UWM


University of Illinois
Lauren interned during the Fall 2010 semester at The Paddock (, an equine therapy center for children and adults with disabilities. Lauren's main tasks included grooming and preparing the horses for riding and assisting head volunteers during therapy sessions.

"I volunteer at a horse rescue at the University of Illinois and have recently started riding within the past year, so I'm comfortable working with horses. I also have experience working with young autistic children, so when I discovered the Paddock, I knew it would be a unique dynamic to put the two together.

My Italian speaking skills definitely improved and I expanded my vocabulary.

I think the most difficult part, but the most important, was the therapy. Since each participant had a different disability, as well as a different personality, how the therapy lesson was conducted was crucial. There were times when the person riding would have good days and bad days and the lessons were "molded" to suit the individual. Horses are very unique in personality, intelligence and behavior and are matched to the rider based on compatibility. Thus, during the lessons the volunteers must be aware of both the person riding as well as the horse, and how they are interacting with each other in addition to providing therapy exercises.

Volunteering and working with horses is a huge part of my life and to be able to find a place in Bologna to continue my passion has really enhanced my experience in Italy. I encourage current and future BCSP students that want to initiate their own internship to pursue it!" - Lauren W.


Students from Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and University of Wisconsin - Madison interned at a local middle school, the Scuola Media Gandino. English is taught three times a week at the middle school. The young Italian students (around 11-12-13 years old) were very curious about their American visitors that participated in class at least once a week and inspired various conversation topics.

Becky Lee and Harrison Warren, both Cornell University/BCSP Spring '11, describe their experiences:

"I taught two very different classes. One class was extremely rowdy and the teacher subsequently imposed significantly harsher disciplinary tactics. The other teacher was very soft-spoken and pretty much let me run her shy yet well-behaved classroom. Each class posed different challenges - in the former, I spent a lot of time trying to get them to stop talking and in the latter, I spent most of my time getting them to start talking! It was extremely rewarding when I felt like the students were not only learning something, but enjoying my lectures too.

In order to get some visuals going, I played games like Hangman or had the students draw pictures on the board and always tried to facilitate conversations between the students themselves.
I had always considered teaching in the future and this experience has definitely opened my eyes both to how short of an attention span 13-year-olds have as well as to the possibilities that I have to connect with students, language barrier or not." - Becky L.

"I taught one class a week to about 20 12-year-old Italian students. Working with the young Italian students gave me the opportunity to learn more about Italian culture, but it also helped me to understand what, exactly, is the American culture. Planning out lessons to teach them about the United States not only gave them a better understanding of where I come from, it also allowed me to really think about what it means to be an American abroad and how we project our culture and how this projection is received.

Though my time at the school was short, it was some of the most rewarding work I have done abroad. I was especially touched when I walked in on my birthday and a student signaled the rest of his classmates to sing Happy Birthday (the American version) enthusiastically and presenting me with a small replica of the Two Towers of Bologna. At times the class could get rowdy (but who wasn't rowdy at 12-years-old), but in the end they were always brimming with questions and on more than one occasion I had to stay extra time in order to satisfy the appetite of the kids in my class."
- Harrison W.