By Alex Patton
At the Spring Hill College Italy Center, students take part in a Social Justice Internship program at various sites around Bologna.
The Spring Hill College (SHC) Italy Center, a study abroad program for U.S. students in Bologna, allows students to become involved in various social justice internship sites around the city. These internships cover a range of disciplines, from teaching English classes to coordinating workshops for migrants. Through the program, students become involved and immersed in the Bolognese community.
The SHC Italy Center runs an EFL program available to the San Donato community in Bologna. It serves as both an educational and social program. Gavin Cosgrove, the intern for this site, is responsible for advertising the program, working with student volunteers, and making lesson plans. Gavin hopes to develop the program further, potentially turning it into a degree program.
Another Italy Center student, Catherine Perseghin, is a teaching assistant for the English Language at the Farini School. Mainly teaching English to 11 to 14-year olds, this program does not conform to typical teaching methods. For instance, students are taught poetry because it is thought that rhythm helps with learning a language. Catherine expresses optimism towards the impact of her internship, saying “I hope that my proficiency in English will help these students expand their English lexicon and knowledge. This can allow students to advance in so many areas, specifically career-wise.”
Beyond EFL programs, students also work with migrants in Bologna through Arte Migrante and Laboratori Migranti. Arte Migrante coordinates weekly meetings and social programs where migrants and Italians can share their art in a welcoming environment. Annie Huynh, a student from New Jersey, says that “Each meeting is filled with the kindest and most welcoming people who always emphasize community and friendship above everything else.” Annie also works with Laboratori Migranti, which offers a variety of educational workshops to migrants. “Similar to Arte Migrante, Laboratori Migranti focuses on community-building between all people: young and old, local and foreign, rich and poor.”
Maddy Freese, from New Orleans, is an intern at the Bologna branch of Susan G. Komen. Susan G. Komen is one of the largest breast cancer foundations in the world. The foundation raises money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Race for the Cure, one of its main fundraising events, takes place annually in both Bologna and many other cities around the world. As an intern, Maddy’s duties involve crowdfunding and other tasks. She described Komen’s latest project in Bologna, saying that the foundation is fundraising for “Donna al Centro,” a potential center that will provide support and assistance to women with breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
These internships are a way for the American students to experience an internship abroad, an uncommon opportunity for some. Their various sites allow them to make an impact in the Bologna community while also immersing them in an Italian work culture. These students are in the initial stages of their internships and seem optimistic for what the future may hold and the impact their internship may have.