by Grace Ibrahimian
Carly Parker has always wanted to go to Italy, so when the opportunity presented itself to take a trip as a part of her classwork while earning credits, she knew that she could not pass on the opportunity. Parker is a Junior and is a JMS student. She took part of the trip going to Italy as a part of the new class Writing the Mediterranean , however, due to religious reasons she had to travel a day earlier than the rest of the class. While wandering around Rome with nothing but a map, r came across a coffee bar. Being adventurous and feeling courageous, she decided to go behind it because she knew that there was scenery. “After going behind the coffee bar, I saw the entire city from the view of the mountain that the bar was on. You could see the beautiful Italian mountains.” Parker described her most memorable moment. Writing the Mediterranean is a once in a lifetime opportunity for JMS student.
The class is taught by Assistant Professor of Practice Mary D’Ambrosio and it is a three-credit course. It was offered in the spring 2017, While the class is not exclusive to Journalism and Media Studies majors, they get priority upon a first come first serve basis. Writing the Mediterranean is a journalism course with a reporting and writing trip to Italy’s most famous areas; Rome, Florence and the region of Tuscany, where the students can practice their reporting, interviewing, and writing skills, and it is scheduled during spring break of 2017.
The course is a part of a bigger study abroad program at the School of Communication and Information (SC&I) at Rutgers University. The program consists of five courses, with many destinations. The trip to Italy for “Writing the Mediterranean” is notably short. While most study abroad programs involve a semester or year abroad, the trip for this course lasts just nine days. Students also meet twice a week, students particularly love writing travel stories about the food, culture, and art of the region, but some have also written about politics or the environment. “The Mediterranean is my specialty. I was born there and I wrote there.” says D’Ambrosio. She feels connected to it, and is even writing a book about the Albanian Migration to Europe caused by the collapse of the Communist regime of Eastern Europe. She’s eager to pass on her knowledge to her students and offer them the same opportunities that she’s enjoyed in her career.
Students fly out together but go off on their own to complete their reporting during the day. Students are in charge of all aspects of their work, with many projects incorporating photos and videos. In the evening, students can explore the city and enjoy a few dinners where everyone meets up, including D’Ambrosio. There are plenty of other study abroad opportunities at SC&I, too. Global Journalism students travel to Bologna, Italy during the Summer, as a part of their studies in foreign correspondence as well as another course that takes you to Guatemala. Students have translators and they shoot photos as well as videos for their individual stories .
To follow the students along on their journey, you can check out their Facebook page, “Writing the Mediterranean: Italy 2017” as well as you can read their stories on the school’s biannually published magazine, Kairos, published in the fall and spring.