students enjoy a different learning environment in study abroad
By Corrie Wann
Mass Communication senior
Buzzanell in Bassano del Grappa, Italy
From stepping outside her apartment door at the
foothills of the Alps to learning not to touch the fruit at the
grocery store, department associate professor Patrice Buzzanell's
experiences at the Study Abroad program in Asolo, Italy, have
Buzzanell is experiencing teaching abroad for the
first time at the Paderno del Grappa campus of the Consortium
of International Universities (CIU). She is also the first Purdue
faculty member to teach on the consortium campus.
The program has gone smoothly despite problems of
power outages and striking railway workers. The students and faculty
have made the semester memorable, Buzzanell said.
"The classes are small and the students are
curious and motivated," said Buzzanell. "The faculty
are deeply concerned about undergraduate education."
This combination of small class sizes and committed
faculty has created a unique experience for Purdue students participating
in the program. The small class sizes have enabled teachers to
move class meetings to more comfortable settings. Venessa Mindykowski,
a senior in the School of Liberal Arts, said one of her classes
now meets regularly at a local café.
Despite this laid-back learning environment, Buzzanell's
students point out that the workload is tough and attendance polices
are strictly enforced.
"Sometimes people expect to do no real work
when they're studying abroad, but that is definitely not the case
here," Mindykowski said. "You will do work and have
things you must do like go to class, but it's school and no one
should expect any less."
Although the pace of the program is demanding, Buzzanell
and her students have had many memorable experiences outside of
the classroom. Students and faculty have taken field trips to
historic landmarks, attended concerts, and even had the opportunity
to travel through the rest of Europe on the weekends.
Buzzanell recalled visiting northern Italy's Lake
Garda on one break from classes. "The lake water was aqua,
the little shops and narrow streets were incredible, and the old
churches with paintings and frescoes were unlike anything we have
in good old Indiana," she said.
Still, Buzzanell says she looks forward to returning
to the United States after the program ends on Dec. 11.
"I will miss the people of Paderno del Grappa,
the coffee and pastry shops, the campus, the beauty of the mountains,
the discussions with my student-colleagues in this learning
experience, and the laughter in the faculty office," she
said. "But I'll be ready to come back in December. I am looking
forward to seeing friends and family."