Westminster College Students Take Course in Italy

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Seventeen Westminster College students and their professor traveled throughout Italy from May 23-31 as part of the "Italy in Literature and Film" course.

They first studied in the classroom by reading literature and watching films set in Italy, then traveled to Venice, Bologna, Florence, Assisi and Rome. Along the way they discussed why American and English authors and filmmakers often choose Italy as a backdrop for their stories, and how poets such as John Keats, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron were influenced by their travels throughout the country.

"With these texts, and others, we discovered how Italy itself becomes a character, infusing each work with its own personality while enriching and influencing the lives of the other characters," said Dr. Deborah Mitchell, professor of English and course instructor.

For example, the group's trip to Florence was enhanced by reading E.M. Forester's A Room with a View, which addresses Italian society's view on class and culture in early 20th century Florence.

"I find myself immensely fortunate to have been able to travel to Italy with Westminster College," said Eleni Yargo, a May graduate in biology from Campbell, Ohio. "My experiences with those from the College and the beautiful people of Italy will always be among my most treasured memories. I have been able to indulge myself in a culture that has been an immensely important part of our world's history."

The course was not solely geared toward English majors, but was intended for all students who wanted to experience a non-traditional style of learning. Majors represented on the trip included religion, psychology, business administration, environmental science, and education.

"It was truly one of the highlights of my college experience," said Marshall Finelli, a senior environmental science student from Girard, Ohio. "As a student, who always wanted to study a semester abroad, but was never able to manage it, this trip provided me with a unique opportunity to have an overseas experience and be able to learn outside the classroom."

Dr. Elizabeth Ford, professor emerita of English, also served as a leader on the trip.

Contact Mitchell at (724) 946-7030 or email for additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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Westminster College Students Tour Italy