Mark A. Flynn, Ph.D.
Benvenuto (Welcome) to the Italy Survival Guide blog!
Over the next three weeks, students enrolled in COMM 150: Media, Self, and the World through Coastal Carolina University will be documenting their experiences, developing blogging skills, and producing a practical guide for any traveler looking to explore Italy! I would like to start by telling you a bit about why we are embarking on this blogging journey, where we are staying, and what we will blog about.
Instead of asking why blog, I prefer to ask, why NOT blog?! Blogging, as opposed to reflection essays or journals assigned during study abroad sessions of the past, allows for an interactive experience for the blogger and the reader that is not only personal but also beneficial for both parties (Hence the “2.0” in the blog title). Through this blog, students will share their experiences in Italy and help new travelers with practical tips and advice.
Gaining blogging experience is also a great way to showcase written communication skills—skills that approximately 1 in 4 employers deem as “crucial” for job candidates. Our students will be able to demonstrate their blogging proficiency through the creation of multiple blog entries during our time in Italy. Each blog entry will feature the student contributor’s byline and photo.
In sum, our blog entries will focus on students’ ability to achieve several main learning outcomes:
- Learn effective interactive and social media techniques (blogging, collaboration, attractiveness/readability, engagement, etc…)
- Gain an understanding of the interdependence between language, cultural experiences, and effective communication techniques.
- Become global citizens by developing the skills necessary to successfully navigate real life situations abroad.
Where is our home base?
Arezzo is a great place for students to experience Italian culture. With over 100,000 residents, Arezzo has much to offer in cultural experiences, shopping, dining, and nightlife. Arezzo’s location also provides easy travel routes, with a 45-minute train ride to Florence and a 2-hour ride to Rome. Compared to some of the more tourism saturated Italian destinations, Arezzo’s size and smaller tourist market means that students will find an authentic Italian experience—including the need to learn some language basics (many of the residents speak little to no English).
What Italy survival skills will we cover?
Students will learn about 8 essential skills for survival in Italy. The skills have been selected by one of our faculty trip leaders, Dr. Scott Nelson, an expert in Italian language and culture. Dr. Nelson will lead students in applied learning scenarios that explore each of the survival skills. Students will then document the skills in an interactive blog entry here. The following survival skills for travel in Italy will be explored:
- Exploring an Italian city
- Dining out in Italy
- Café culture
- Where to stay when traveling
- The train station and train travel
- The importance of the local market
- How to ask for directions
- Interpersonal communication: making friends in Italy
What other useful content will we blog about?
Students will also blog about specific excursions and provide tips that will enable anyone who follows in our footsteps to successfully navigate the cultural nuances in Italy. Some examples of excursions will be cooking classes, vineyard tours, the opera, and museums. In addition, students will cover tips for traveling to specific locales, including Rome, Florence, and Orvieto.
In closing, I would like to thank you for your interest in our page. Please check back often, as we will be updating the blog on a regular basis throughout our trip. Also, we would love to hear from our readers, so please leave comments on blog entries of interest. Finally, follow us on Twitter at: CCUInTuscany for daily updates on our travels.