Upper Iowa University students, faculty and staff traveling to Italy for the May term humanities general education course stop to pose with the most recent issue of the University magazine, The Bridge, near Ponte Vecchio. Pictured are (front, left) Olivia Munkel, Jenna Sutton, Meredith Worrall, UIU Assistant Professor of Art Elissa Wenthe, Troy Parker, Daphne Barness and UIU custodian Carol Langerman-Aten holding The Bridge. In the back, from left are Cathy Reinke, Connie Reinke, Daniel Rasmussen, Amanda Millard, Corrine Wronski, Carmen Lezpona, Kaitlyn Emanuel, Danielle Weiss, Kelsey Taldone, Colton Wood, UIU administrative/lab assistant Linda Figdore, UIU Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics Dr. Scott Figdore and Steve Aten.
FAYETTE, Iowa (July 3, 2013) – There is no better way to study human culture than to immerse yourself in it. Twenty-two students, faculty and staff from Upper Iowa University did just that during the recent May term humanities general education course trip to Italy. Not only did they experience the more well-known attractions like the Coliseum, Vatican Museum, St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice and Uffizi Gallery, but they wandered off the beaten path to surround themselves in everyday life in Italy as well.
"Italy was yet another experience that I can add to the many amazing and life-changing opportunities that Upper Iowa University has allowed me to experience," said art major Daphne Barness from Ossian, Iowa. "This trip was an amazing opportunity that allowed for me to step out of my comfort zone at times and become one step closer to being a global citizen. As an artist, this trip expanded my horizons and gave me new inspiration for future pieces, and I cannot wait to get to work on expanding my portfolio in the near future!"
The UIU group hit the ground running once they arrived in Rome. After checking in, co-leaders and UIU Assistant Professors of Art Dr. Sarahh Scher and Elissa Wenthe quickly assembled the group for a walk to the Santa Maria della Vittoria where they saw the "Ecstasy of St. Theresa."
"It was an amazing site with so much to take in all at once that I finally just sat down to reflect on it all," said Carol Langerman-Aten, student and UIU custodian. "The church was covered from ceiling to floor with priceless works of art and even had tombs in the floor. I think a person would need to walk through it several more times to really see it all."
Scher and Wenthe did their best to provide opportunities for the students to experience Italian life and see the magnitude of the world's oldest and priceless works of art. Despite having a couple of "free" days to wander the streets and get lost in the rich histories of Rome, Florence and Venice, and collecting photos for their photo scavenger hunt, the group came together for each other's presentations on various works of art throughout the trip. Barness presented on the sculpture, "Laocoon and His Sons," which is located at the Vatican Museum.
"Just the mere experience of being at the Vatican was intimidating and I was beyond nervous and found myself tripping over my own words," she said. "Words cannot express the complete awestruck feeling I had when I finally saw several of the famous art pieces that I have read about in textbooks for years. I could have only dreamt that I ever would have had the opportunity to see these pieces in real life – the School of Athens, the amazing Sistine Chapel and many more! I never could have imagined the feeling I got when I looked up at these massive paintings or stood under the massive domes and looming sculptures. Pictures in textbooks could never explain the pieces and do them justice for what they actually look like."
An important component of any culture immersion is its food. From Italy's famous gelato to gnocchi and pizza, Upper Iowa students ate some of the finest cuisines in the world full of flavor and a major highlight of the trip, according to Scher. "We wanted them to explore the cities we were in to see things they wouldn't normally see and eat things they wouldn't normally eat," she said.
"The whole trip was a huge success for the students and the faculty," said Wenthe. "We found a balance between structured and unstructured activities, and overall the students were able to become immersed in a different culture and lifestyle for 10 days."
This was the second trip class trip to Italy for both Scher and Wenthe. They plan on repeating the trip every other year as part of the UIU humanities curriculum.
Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy
Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
UIU Milwaukee Center student Yvonne Broadnax captures a photo of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs and leadership development opportunities to some 6,200 students—nationally and internationally—at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and independent study. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
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