January 23, 2015
SECU Blog from Abroad: Day 7
By: Torie Johnson
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)
In Italiano … Aquila di Guerra (Friday, January 23, 2015)
The final day of the SECU visit to Italy in many ways ended as it began, with me and representatives from Auburn University. The difference today though is that rather than me getting them more acclimated to the SEC engineering student exchange program, they were educating me about their study abroad program in Ariccia, Italy.
Ariccia is about 30 kilometers from Rome (a 45-minute car ride through the scenic Italian countryside) and is a small town like Auburn, Alabama. Contrast its approximate 20,000 population with that of Rome’s four million, and it’s no wonder Auburn’s College of Human Sciences students have enjoyed studying here for 12 years. They get the community pace of Ariccia and the city possibilities in Rome.
Since 2002, Ariccia, specifically its Palazzo Chigi, has housed the 20 or 22 students (both men and women), provides classroom space and supports group excursions. The program, which gives students enough credit hours to earn an international minor, is endowed by the Bruno family who have a connection to the coastal Italian island of Sicily.
According to the program director, Linda Cain Ruth, the Ariccia experience is meant to be culturally wholistic and to teach students important life skills like conflict resolution and time management while giving them a global perspective to their classroom studies.
With the global perspective and presence comes global visibility. That visibility, on T-shirts, hats and notebooks, is distinctly Auburn. But perhaps nothing is more “visible” than the Auburn cry, which can be heard here year around, just maybe not in English. Here, it’s not always War Eagle, it’s just as likely to be the Italian version … Aquila di Guerra (Eagle of War).