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Giving Back: Service Learning in Rome, Italy

by AIFS Study Abroad
Giving Back While Studying Abroad: Service Learning in Rome, Italy | AIFS Study Abroad | Community Service and Volunteering

We caught up with four AIFS students studying abroad in Rome, Italy to chat with them about how their volunteer and service learning opportunities are going. With all four with different organization, it’s clear that there is such a wide variety of ways to get involved. Check out what they had to say: 

Aleeyia Henderson-Watson

Student at North Carolina A&T State University with a Major in Criminal Justice.

Aleeyia talks about her Service Learning experience at Regina Margherita School in Rome:

“Every exercise or activity I do with children in English language class, I make sure that a portion of the activity focuses on spelling and the other focuses on pronunciation. For example, I played a game with one of the classes last week. For this game, I split the class into 5 groups and whispered a word in the ear of one person from each group. That person then whispered the same word into the ear of another group member and so on, until they got to the last person. This portion of the game was to help with recognizing the English word. The last person then wrote the word on the board. This portion was to help with spelling. The team with the most words right won. The winner of the game got a prize! This method is useful most of the time and I will keep using it in the future.”

Jerry Farmer

Student at Colorado Christian University with a Major in Communications.

Jerry discusses his Service Learning opportunity at Sant’Eustachio Church in Rome:

“This week I learned a little bit more about the organization at Sant’Eustachio Church. All of the food that is provided to the guests is received for free. I have yet to find out where the food comes from however. Strangely, I ran into a few guests who did not speak Italian. I learned that the guests at the church come from all over Europe and even the Americas. One man I met was from Canada. I did not get to hear his full story but he was extremely grateful for what the church is doing by giving out hot meals. Another woman I spoke with was from Columbia. I was able to speak to her in Spanish and find out where she was from. Again, she was also extremely happy about being able to eat at the church. What I hope to learn in the future is what brought these people from across the globe to Italy of all places. It is fascinating that so many different countries are represented in just these small groups of people.”

Grace Murphy

Student at Manhattan College with a Major in Elementary and Special Education.

Grace reflects on her Service Learning experience at Guido Alessi School in Rome:

“This week was my first official week in the classroom at the Guido Alessi School. I waked to school and observed/worked in the classroom from 9:15-12:15. When I first arrived, the language barrier was immediately known because I had to communicate with the secretary who did not speak English. Once I got to the room, the students were all ecstatic. They were told that Stephanie and I would be coming and they all had a lot of questions.

Last week I started to realize that I wanted to become more of a teacher than an observer in the class. I was able to help with a lesson in class that put me in that position. I had the students fill in sentences about themselves. It started with their name, nationality, favorite animal, and where they go to school. Then, I went around with Stephanie and we interviewed each student and helped them with their pronunciation. I want to continue to try to take small lessons!”

Stephanie Vazquez

Student at Mount St. Mary’s University with a Major in Sociology, Film and Media.

Stephanie shares what it’s like to do Service Learning at Guido Alessi School in Rome:

“My goal for the week was to try and take some more initiative to help out or talk about something when it’s my turn to speak. I was able to accomplish my goal because I took the initiative to walk around the classroom and monitor the students.

I learned this week that I can do a lot when I set my mind to it even if I’m afraid, I just have to take the chance. During the beginning of my time there I tried to mainly keep to myself but now I’m able to try and communicate better with the kids despite our language barriers. I’m also able to see the areas these kids need help in and what the school is missing in terms of supplies or staff. We’ve also had some issues with computer equipment and have been able to find alternative ways of doing things and teaching. This will always be useful because where there is a will, there is a way.”


Interested in studying abroad in Rome? Click here to learn more about semester, academic year, summer, and January-term program opportunities.

Giving Back While Studying Abroad: Service Learning in Rome, Italy | AIFS Study Abroad | Community Service and Volunteering

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