Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Steven Arriaga (Class of 2017) has just joined the Verrazano School Honors Program. A study abroad experience changed his life and led him to more travel, and to Verrazano. In addition to studying English with a linguistics concentration, Steven will earn a minor in French, and some serious travelling credentials! 

A CSI/Italy Connection
My name is Steven Arriaga, a Verrazano student and Linguistics major at the College of Staten Island, and I’m currently studying abroad in Italy! Enrolled in an Italian Food, Culture, and Society course at Florence University of the Arts, this is officially my second time attending an overseas program (Vive la France!). Before arriving to Italy, I had the pleasure of traveling with my college mentor, Professor Tortora, where she presented our research project at the University of Iceland. Soon after, I enjoyed some time in my home country of Spain, anticipating a huge Barcelona soccer game among the Catalonians (nevertheless, Hala Madrid!). Aiming to visit ten countries before turning 21, I’ve been to Mexico, France, the UK, Belgium, Iceland, Spain, Italy, The Vatican (this totally counts), and will be going to Austria and Denmark before ending my journey in the City of Light. Although I return home in about 3 weeks, this trip has been nothing short of amazing. A unique program, we traveled during our first week throughout Italy before reaching the beautiful Firenze. Having visited various places including Rome, Viterbo, Populonia, and Viareggio, every city helped me appreciate the traditions that Italians so proudly represent. Although I have an utmost passion for French culture, Italy definitely gives them a run for their money and as an avid photographer, I’m making sure that I capture every breathtaking moment. We also cook and taste different Italian food and wine in class, so what’s not to love? I’ve had the pleasure of meeting students from other CUNYs as well as other states including Massachusetts and Tennessee. Best of all, however, is the fact that I’m slowly but surely picking up Italian as my fourth language! It greatly complements my major and goal to become a college professor, so this trip has already been worthwhile to say the least.

Travel is bliss.
      Studying abroad has definitely been the highlight of my college career and after working as a peer advisor at CSI’s Center for International Service for a year, my desire to continue traveling is greater than ever! I can’t begin to explain how much I’ve grown since I’ve begun traveling, but I can definitely say that I’m a more than twice the person I was a year ago. Europe is the place where I grew passionate for soccer, fine art, photography, literature and surprisingly, fashion, so it’s easily been the most influential time in my life. My future goals include winning a Gilman scholarship to return to Europe for a full semester before applying for a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship and there’s no doubt in my mind that these feats are possible! I could continue writing for hours about how life-changing Europe is but I have to start packing now for Vienna before going out for some amazing focaccia and gelato. Ciao!

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