Gruppo Italia makes education abroad a virtual experience for 2020
Gruppo Italia made history in 2020 as one of the first education abroad programs to go remote at Texas State University.
Each summer, Moira Di Mauro-Jackson, a senior lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literature, leads a group of students to Florence and the Amalfi Coast, Italy, for a five-week study abroad program that highlights the importance of service learning and volunteering while teaching Italian life, language and culture
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that and other traditional education abroad programs at Texas State were put on hold. That didn't stop Di Mauro-Jackson from working to ensure her students had the most immersive experience short of visiting Italy. In addition to watching videos and completed projects related to Italy, the course incorporated several international opportunities via Zoom, enabling students to have live chats with a survivor of fascism during World War II. Students also connected with Croce Rossa Italiana—Comitato di Ardea (Italian Red Cross, Rome, Italy) and Associazione Isola di Santa Croce, Firenze (Florence, Italy). Because of these innovative efforts, students were able to maintain their Service Learning Excellence components for the course.
"As I reviewed all of the student blogs and info sent to me via the students, I collected some additional comments, that in my opinion, prove that this was the toughest semester not-abroad, but also fully satisfying and in the end," Di Mauro-Jackson said. "The results were almost the same: opening the student's eyes and minds to the world."
For more information on Di Mauro-Jackson's Gruppo Italia, visit https://servicelearning.txstate.edu/resoucres/Best_faculty/march_2020.html.