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  • Stepping Outside the Classroom: A Comprehensive Look at Study Abroad Syllabi

    Studying refugee and forced migration is a complex and multi-faceted endeavor. Before I start digging into the actual classroom studies and field placement work, I'd like to share what the courses are for our program. This will give a nice overview of what we will be learning, discussing, writing about, and creating projects for this quarter. Program Title: Honors Rome - The Global Refugee Crisis: From devastation to diaspora, the physical, mental, and cultural challenges of refugee migration Courses: Honors 381: Global Refugee Crisis: From Devastation to Diaspora Honors 284: Colonization, Assimilation, and Slavery in Ancient and Medieval Rome Honors 233: Service Learning or Field Placement Italian 199: Italian language study What do these titles actually mean? Let me share from our study abroad classroom syllabi. Duomo in Florence. 2006. Author's personal collection. H381: Global Refugee Crisis: From Devastation to Diaspora Using Italy and the US as case studies in refugee resettlement, the connecting thread of this course is the lived experience of refugees and asylum seekers as they traverse the extensive journey from their home country to the country of final asylum. The perspective of migration for specific streams from Ukraine, East Africa, and the Middle East to Southern Europe and the U.S. will be reviewed in detail and contrasted with legacy migrations from Southeast Asia. This will include the lived experience and layers of loss as refugees move through countries of first and second asylum, including refugee camp lie, and detention. We will discuss prevalent mental health sequelae, common infections, and the many challenges faced from language and culture, to racism, class, and poverty in host countries. H284: Colonization, Assimilation, and Slavery in Ancient and Medieval Rome This course explores the monuments, churches, and built environment of Rome from foundation through Mussolini to the present to look at contemporary themes also present in ancient Rome, many of which had origins there, This is a study in the discourse of monumentization and the cultural and social narrative monuments express and the collective memory they pass on to subsequent generations. Many of these themes are salient contemporary issues as well. For example, how do we establish and justify the borders of an expanding empire? Who is a citizen? What are the conditions of slavery and why? What was the role of the Church in the colonization of Africa and Latic America and how was it celebrated and justified in christendom? How did Mussolini try to make Italy great again and what narratives did he employ? H233: Field Placement I will working with an Italian film maker and casting director who creates films that showcase refugees. She also works with refugees in a theatre production capacity. I only have a brief framework for field placement and will learn more about my role, what the exact focus of the placement, in the first week when I go onsite. Italian: Language Study We will have in class studies and then in the street practice. Last quarter I took Italian 101, so this will be perfect to continue learning and have direct application to help the words, phrases, and grammar stick a little better in my brain. Each week, one of our assignments is to write a reflection on all that we've read and learned across our courses and field placement. Those reflections will be posted on the blog each week, as a minimum for my content on here. But, they are just a minimum. I have a running list of writing and video ideas that I will be experimenting with and posting while in Italy, in addition to the academic reflections. What sounds intriguing to you from the course descriptions? What sort of questions do you have that you would want to know? Be sure to comment, and I'd be glad to incorporate your questions into class discussions and gain even deeper insight. Source: Course Syllabi

  • 2024 begins with a flight

    Flights are booked, apartment reserved, packing list actively in the works, and the excitement continues to build. 2024 begins starts with an international flight! This isn't just any trip, though. For the first 3 months of 2024, I will be based in Rome, on a study abroad assignment through the University of Washington. As a cohort, we will focus on the global refugee crisis - the multitude of reasons why people flee their homeland, the lived experience of refugees and asylum seekers, systems and policies, and local organizations that provide services. We will discuss, wrestle with, observe, and engage in field work on this critical humanitarian issue. I'm excited, yet that feels incomplete in describing the emotions running through me. Excited, yes, but humbled, honored, and a little nervous that I will be seen as another white woman in over her head trying to appease guilt. The truth is that I know I have experienced levels of privilege as a white woman. Yet, I have lived experience of leaving home and moving to a location with no external supports. Of having to leave an abusive relationship. Of picking up the pieces with no financial security and starting over. Again. And even though these experience are not the same as being forced to flee my homeland and never return, they give me a deeper level of empathy and a sense of responsibility to honor the hard work ahead. This blog will be a space to share what I am learning and processing, the hard and the joy. It will also be a space to share the beauty and marvel of living in Rome for 2 and 1/2 months. The dichotomy is not lost on me, and I aim to share the juxtoposition of beauty and pain, joy and sorrow, and how they intertwine, like a rose bush. So, I offer this space as way to join along this journey together.

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