Tag Archives: ACA

You Will Never Regret Studying Abroad

Sarah West graduated from PUC this past school year with a Bachelor of Social Work & Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Studies. One year during college, she enrolled in the ACA Argentina program and loved the experience so much that she wanted to do a summer program- so she did. Sarah recently returned stateside after spending the majority of her summer studying abroad at Villa Aurora in Italy. Although there were a few setbacks, she shares that you will never regret going abroad. 

Tell us about your time in Italy. 

My time in Italy was amazing, even with the few bumps in the road. I got COVID my first week there, so I had to isolate for a week. But once I was freed (tested negative), I was able to return to class with ease. The classes all students take are Conversation, Grammar, art for tours, art history, and Italian culture. If you are not in the intermediate level, then you also take Phonetics. With the ACA program, we visited Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Venice, and Siena. All of them are day trips, except Rome, which is an overnight stay. 

What made you want to study in Italy?

I loved the ACA Argentina program so much that I knew I wanted to do a summer program before I graduate. So for me, it was between Italy and Spain. I had heard great things about the Italian cafeteria and that made my choice. I also had been to Italy once before and loved it, so I wanted to spend more time there. 

You’ve also studied in Argentina. How have these experiences been different from each other? 

The differences between the Argentina and Italy programs are the ability to travel. Italy is about the size of California, so with access to a car, bus, or train, you can really go anywhere in the county. Argentina on the other hand is about as long as the United States, and there are little pockets of towns/cities with nothing in-between. Argentina is good if your goal is to learn Spanish and experience the culture of Argentina. Italy, and I assume other European programs, are good for traveling, but more people will probably know English, so finding a push to learn the language may be a little more difficult. 

Describe your time in Italy in three words.  

Amazing food/travel. 

What have been your favorite things about studying abroad in Italy?

I have loved learning about different cultures and history of the countries. I also like meeting people. While I was at the school in Italy, I ran into someone who I had met at the school in Argentina, and that was one of the craziest things I will probably ever experience. 

Did PUC play a part in your preparation for Italy?

Yes, because one of my friends had done the ACA Italy year program, and she gave me some good heads up on what to expect. I was also able to conquer the hills of Italy due to the cardio of running around PUC campus. 

What would you say to someone who is interested in ACA?

If you are interested in it, DO IT. You will never regret going, and all was regret not doing it. There will never be a time in your life when you will live in Italy for 6 weeks or Argentina for a year. You grow so much as a person and have a better understanding of yourself and the world. 

A Leap of Faith in Italy 

Natalia Gomez recently flew back to her hometown of Santa Barbara after spending most of her summer studying abroad at Villa Aurora in Italy. Applying through ACA (Adventist Colleges Abroad), she saw that she didn’t know anyone in the program but decided to take a leap of faith and go on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure before her senior year. By facing her fears, Natalia met amazing people on campus, learned Italian, explored new places, and indulged in delicious food every day. From her “HOT!, inspiring, and yummy” time in Italy, Natalia couldn’t have asked for a better study abroad experience.

How has your time in Italy been? 

My time in Italy has been great! I’ve been able to visit and explore a new Italian city every week as well as really familiarize myself with Florence. It’s pretty exciting to be living in Florence and find my favorite spots to study or get gelato. I have definitely indulged and gotten gelato almost every day I’ve been here. School in Italy is not structured the same as back home, and learning a new language comes with its challenges, but it has been a lot of fun learning a new language and immersing yourself in the culture. I’d definitely say that I’ve gotten the most practice with speaking in Italian through talking with salespeople or waiters at restaurants. I didn’t always understand what they were saying at first or even what I was saying, but it made for some funny moments, and after a few weeks, I got the hang of it. I’m definitely not fluent, but I’ve really enjoyed being able to speak with locals in Italian as best as I can. 

What inspired you to study in Italy?

I have to be honest, the foodie in me is what really determined me to study in Italy. I love pasta, and I love ice cream, and the thought of having the best of the best in Italy, on a regular basis? Sold! But of course, I also thought it would be really exciting to make new friends from all over the world. I really enjoyed going on an ADRA missions trip a few years back, and I made incredible friendships from that experience, and I was also hoping the same would come out of studying abroad! I actually took a really big leap of faith and decided to go abroad alone, without knowing anyone else in the program. And after my time here, I honestly would recommend going even if you don’t know anyone. 

Describe your typical day studying abroad.

My typical day abroad: I wake up around 7 a.m. to get ready for breakfast at 7:30 at the caf or a quick trip to a nearby cafe. Then I go to classes from 8:40-1:15, usually getting some snacks from the vending machines during class breaks. Once I’m out of classes, I run over to the caf for lunch to be in the front of the lunch line because lunch is the best meal of the day on campus! And after lunch, some friends and I take off to our favorite spots to do homework and study. Then we explore Florence or go shopping before dinner. If I don’t eat dinner in town, I go back to campus for dinner, but regardless- I will always go out with friends after dinner for gelato. Then it’s time for an ice-cold shower before bed, it’s so hot in the summer, that’s the only way to fall asleep peacefully. (keep in mind, I was in Italy during Europe’s record-breaking heat wave). I usually fall asleep around midnight. 

What have been your favorite things about studying abroad?

Surprisingly meeting new people has been my favorite thing! I’m actually a pretty shy person and studying in Italy without knowing anyone seemed scary at first. However, I’ve met amazing people while being here, from students to teachers and the volunteers who work on campus! I’ve had so much fun going out with everyone here that I’ve actually already made plans to travel and go out with some new friends after returning home! 

What will you miss the most about your time abroad? 

That’s tough, I miss so much! But I’d have to say exploring Florence in the afternoons after school was the best time. Practicing our Italian, finding new places, trying new foods – just adventuring without a plan was so fun! Some of the funniest memories came from us just taking advantage of our time and exploring. Was there an afternoon where at one point there were dark clouds and lightning off in the distance? Yes. Did we have jackets or umbrellas? Nope. Did we get caught in a rainstorm and end up running in the rain all over the city? Yes, we did, and it was one of the funniest nights ever. Truly just do it all!

Recommend an Italian dish or restaurant. 

Medici’s has the best gelato and this has been confirmed by multiple locals! I went here almost every day of the summer- all the flavors are amazing! Although I’d have to say that Stracciatella is my favorite flavor of gelato, and this was the best place to get it. Everywhere else I went did not compare.

What would you say to someone who is interested in ACA?

Just go for it! Don’t let any of your fears or worries stop you from having once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It sounds so cheesy, but when else will you have the opportunity to be 18-22 ish running around a foreign city with friends, trying new foods, seeing beautiful landscapes, and learning about another culture? It’s probably one of the last times you’ll have a summer camp type of experience before you graduate and start working.

Explore World Languages at PUC With Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti 

Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti, also known as Professoressa Gregorutti to her students, has been teaching at PUC since 1993. She was chair for about 20 years and is now the associate chair of the Department of Communication and World Languages, since their departments merged in 2019.

One of her favorite things about teaching is seeing students study abroad and hearing about their unforgettable experiences. She loves being involved in ACA (Adventist College Abroad) and seeing how it changes students’ lives. Sylvia generously answered some questions for us to learn more about the Department of World Languages.

What makes your department unique compared to other departments at PUC?

World Languages has collaborative relationships with many departments on campus, and most of our students are double majors or are working on an Allied Health degree or some type of pre-professional program. We strongly encourage getting the most out of the college experience and our majors are easy to combine with many others. The one thing that makes us unique among departments: Nearly 100% of our World Languages majors spend a year of their college experience studying in another country. Top choices are Spain, Italy, France, Argentina, Austria, Lebanon, and other countries have also been hosts to PUC students. There are actually students who are heading abroad even as I type this. I’m praying for their safe travels. After personally sending about a thousand students abroad, I can confidently say ACA is hands down the best year out of their college experience. Also, it’s ACA for * ALL * In other words, you don’t have to be a major in World Languages to go abroad — though we do make it really appealing to major in one of our degrees! The year abroad is transformative to so many – it confirms your career choice or helps you see who you are and choose better. It’s also one of the greatest regrets of those who didn’t make time for it during their college years.

What makes your department unique compared to the same program at other colleges and universities?

This one’s easy! Compared to our sister institutions, at PUC’s World Languages Dept., you can complete a major in Language & Culture Studies with an emphasis in Italian, German, Arabic, French, or Portuguese in addition to the more common Spanish. One of the courses we offer in the L&C major is Language, Culture, and Humanitarian Issues — great for students aiming for international humanitarian work. We also offer a major in Spanish Studies that’s especially relevant to future educators. Compared to larger institutions, we provide abundant one-on-one time. We have a comfortable student lounge next to our offices and classrooms where we get together to talk and sometimes worship together. In true World Languages style, our lounge is open to all.

What is something new students can look forward to about joining your department?

World Languages is a very welcoming department. We actively celebrate variety. Diversity is in our very DNA – we not only accept it, we revel in it and encourage its proliferation! New students to our department can expect to be embraced, seen, and heard. We agree with French philosopher Chateaubriand who observed that each person “carries within himself a world.” We’re eager to benefit from the ‘worlds” our students bring to our campus. Our aim is to enrich them with knowledge of other languages and cultures, and different ways of seeing the world. Critical thinking expands by quantum leaps when you understand different ways of solving human problems and needs: What to eat, what to wear, what shelter to build, how to interact, and what to value – the solutions vary around the world.

What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?

There are so many things I enjoy, but I think my favorite thing about teaching is seeing students decide to go abroad for a year. And then, when they return, it’s fabulous to talk with them in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese – to hear about their unforgettable experiences, and to see how they have become better versions of themselves, more open to the world, more empathetic, and sure of what they want to do with their lives. That is the single most transformative activity I get to be involved in, and it’s incredibly rewarding. Lifelong international friendships are made and a lifetime of memories, too. In Spanish, we say, “Nadie te puede quitar lo bailado.” No one can take away what you have danced – and the study abroad experience is just that – something you have for life. 

What is your department well known for, and why?

We’re known for our enthusiastic teachers who are native speakers or they have spent time living in the countries whose languages they teach. For students heading abroad, we offer a high-quality orientation prior to departure and support from our home campus during each quarter spent abroad. World Languages is innovative and versatile: In addition to the majors mentioned, we offer introductory Chinese and Korean, and our popular Spanish for Health Care courses, which provides language skills and cultural competence to better serve Spanish-speaking patients, clients, and customers. This year, we’re trying out an intermediate level of this course. We’re also expanding our Spanish for the Professions emphasis to our first beginning Spanish class. Tailoring courses to students’ interests and professional objectives creates greater motivation and makes learning another language more applicable. Our upper-division courses contribute to the rich offerings of our liberal arts college – from my specialty, linguistics, to literature, film, and humanitarian issues. Our aim is to create engaged, competent, and compassionate global citizens.

Learn more about the Department of World Languages on our website. If you have any questions, our admissions team will gladly assist you. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu.

Give Yourself A Cultural Education 

Ally Romanes

Have you ever wanted to just pack up and leave, to travel somewhere unknown? Are you interested in adventure, learning about another culture, picking up a new language? Consider studying abroad. If you’re on the fence, here are some reasons why you might want to take a chance! 

See The World

It’s not every day you are able to walk around the Colosseum in Rome, ride a camel in Morocco, or visit Buckingham Palace. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to see the world. Not only will you be experiencing life and learning in a new country, but you’ll also have the opportunity to travel to EVEN MORE places with your school! 

Taking In A New Culture 

It can be scary leaving home and going to a country you’ve never been too before, but studying abroad is a fantastic and safe way to do it. This is an opportunity to really immerse yourself in a new culture. Try new foods, participate in new traditions, and explore! 

Education 

Learn outside of the traditional four-wall classroom. Why have your head stuck in a book learning about history and art when you could be out in the world seeing these places in real life! Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to experience college education in different ways. There’s more to learning than just a classroom. 

Learning A New Language 

Learning a new language in class is one thing, but learning out in the real world is a whole different experience. By studying abroad you have the opportunity to learn by hearing and speaking it on a daily basis with everyone around you. 

Career Opportunities 

Studying abroad can help you stand out in the workplace. You are showing to future employers that you are open-minded, adaptable, and flexible. It also shows you are open to new challenges and you aren’t afraid to go out of your comfort zone. 

Finding New Interests 

Studying in a different country gives you a chance to experience new activities and develop new interests. By exploring new places, meeting locals, or becoming inspired by a class or city, something is bound to spark your interest. 

Personal Developments 

Studying abroad allows you to be independent and gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself. While you learn to adapt to a new environment you’ll have to rely on yourself to learn how to navigate around a new place and through situations you might feel slightly uncomfortable in. It might be overwhelming at first but soon you’ll realize how capable you truly are.

Making Lifelong Friends 

We’ve all heard the friends you make in college become your friends for life. Well, while studying abroad, you will meet students from all over the world. This will allow you to create lifelong friendships with an even larger variety of people. 

Take a chance and try something new. There’s no better time for an adventure! You can find more information on the ACA website, by contacting ACA Director Sandra Esteves (aca@nad.adventist.org), or PUC’s ACA representative Dr. Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti (srasi@puc.edu). 

 

Viva Italia!

VeniceI get a lot of questions from students asking what study abroad opportunities PUC offers. It’s exciting to me that students are interested in traveling and learning about different cultures. Many students aren’t aware there are Adventist colleges and universities all over the world. As a PUC student, you have an opportunity to study at any of them for a summer or even a full year, in such places as Spain, France, Germany, Italy, England, Argentina, and even Israel, through Adventist Colleges Abroad, more often referred to as ACA.

You might be wondering, why would anyone want to “go ACA”? There are many reasons! It’s important for students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities PUC offers because students can:

  • Gain real life experiences a classroom could never provide
  • Develop an expanded worldview and multicultural perspective
  • Strengthen proficiency in a foreign language
  • Experience personal growth
  • Travel
  • Make new friends
  • Increase career marketability, and more!

I didn’t have the courage to be away from my friends and family for an entire school year, so I chose instead to spend a summer at Istituto Avventista Villa Aurora in Florence, Italy. I had never been to Europe before and was pretty intimidated, but thankfully I was going with my brother and several good friends from PUC. When we arrived, the staff and faculty at Villa Aurora couldn’t have been more helpful getting us settled in and making sure we knew the right bus route to take to town as well as recommending the best pizza place nearby. Despite their help, on our first night out in Florence a group of us got horribly lost for several hours, which is something we can laugh about now but wasn’t very funny at the time! Over the next few weeks however, we got very comfortable figuring out how to get to our favorite gelato shop, where to find the best deal for an Italian leather purse, and even talking with locals in basic Italian. “Un piccolo di menta gelato, per favore,” became a phrase I memorized. (“One cup of mint gelato, please.”)

Part of the reason I chose to spend a summer abroad was to fulfill the language requirement for PUC’s general education requirements. By spending a summer in Italy, I was able to get one year’s worth of language credits, as well as some history and elective credits since I took beginning Italian language classes in addition to classes in Italian art history, Italian cooking, and Italian popular culture. My mornings were filled with classes, and the afternoons were spent with friends exploring Florence, eating real Italian gelato and pizza while sitting on the steps of the Duomo, Florence’s famous cathedral. Our evenings were devoted to homework and downloading new episodes of the Office off iTunes. It was a ridiculous amount of fun.

Besides classes, the school also took us on several field trips. We visited the Cinque Terre, Venice, and Rome, seeing sights like Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican, and so much more. One of my favorite memories is a trip my friends and I took during a free weekend to see the ruins of Pompeii, and we inadvertently booked ourselves at a four-star hotel. After weeks of living in a dorm room without air conditioning, it was heaven!

I realize how cheesy it sounds, but spending a summer in Italy not only gave me a greater appreciation of the world – but I also gained an appreciation of home. After weeks of being able to only communicate with people in a combination of basic Italian and hand gestures, it was wonderful to come home to the good ol’ USA and speak English. And eat something besides pizza. Believe it or not, it is possible to get sick of pizza. I strongly encourage anyone who is thinking of going abroad to go! Go while you can receive college credit and maybe even use loans to pay for it. Go before you graduate from college, get married, have kids, and have a job. You won’t regret it.

Visit http://www.aca-noborders.com for more information about Adventist study abroad opportunities or talk with an Enrollment Counselor to find out how studying abroad can help you reach your career goals. Call 800.862.7080 option 2 or email enroll@puc.edu.