I had the opportunity to take Global Activism, Art and Leadership at the OU Arezzo campus over the course of 3 weeks this summer, and I will be forever changed by the time I spent abroad through OU. I completely altered my expectation of the classroom experience, challenged how I thought and processed education and learning, and changed the way I travel.
Going and meeting Italian activist organizations was one of the most memorable and unique parts of my study abroad experience. Going with my friends who have leadership experience at OU added a dynamic to the experience that was different than going alone because they were all active participants in the conversations facilitated by the organizations we had the opportunity to converse and engage with. We met with Libera, an Anti-Mafia activist group, as well as Oxfam and others. These groups are active in the current refugee crisis along with other issues in Italy. They work to find solutions and raise awareness for the issues that matter to them, and genuinely wanted our help to raise awareness for the problems at hand.
Seeing firsthand the art and historical artifacts in Italy was just incredible. From touring Pompeii with Dr. DuCleaux to seeing the Vatican, Colosseum, and museums like the Uffizi and Duomo, my perception of the Roman and Italian world changed immensely, as well as my perception of history and our active involvement with it. I can truly say after being abroad that I returned as a student ready to participate in hands-on learning experiences, face challenges and problem-solve on campus, and engage with a move diverse population of students on OU’s campus.