Julia Pazzano had never been to the place her family calls home—until now.
 
Pazzano, a second-year student who grew up in Stouffville, Ontario, was part of a group of St. Thomas students who travelled to Italy to participate in a three-week travel-study experience.
 
The multi-city travel experience is part of the Introduction to Italian Literature and Civilization course offered at STU and taught by Dr. Mark Temelini. The study tour of Italy offers a blend of language, culture and countryside, and presents an overview of Italian civilization from its origins to the present day.
 
“We explored the culture and beautiful scenery that Italy has to offer,” Pazzano said. “As a student it was an amazing learning opportunity—what better way to study the history and language than to experience it?”
 
It wasn’t just a yearning for travel that inspired Pazzano to take part in the travel-study course. Her interest in the trip was more personal.
 
“My grandparents on both sides came from Italy, and though we still have family there, my immediate family has never visited the country,” Pazzano said. “I wanted to learn more about where I come from and the culture and history of the country my family calls home.”
 
Travelling across northern and central Italy, Pazzano said she explored the winding canals and narrow streets of Venice, the beautiful artwork and evening scenery of Florence, and visited the islands of Murano and Burano, known for their lace and glasswork.
 
Pompeii was Pazzano’s favourite part of the trip.
 
“We spent an entire day exploring the ruins, seeing the remains of an entire city—houses, sidewalks, and all of the statues and pots that were left behind,” she said.
 
Pazzano said she learned a lot about Italian culture on the trip, and what really made the experience special was that it helped her feel more connected to her family.
 
“I was able to see and experience the culture my grandparents grew up in, and that helped me feel closer to them.”
 
Pazzano, who was apprehensive about travelling so far before this trip, said she’s excited to plan her next trip and hopes to return to Italy again in the near future.
 
Travel-Study Opportunities at STU
 
Travel-Study offers students the opportunity to travel abroad while earning university credit for three to four weeks. Students travel in small groups with a professor to an international destination where they engage in study together using the local setting and culture as materials. Recent Travel Study opportunities were also offered to New York City, Ireland, Spain, and England.