Pursuing my intellectual and professional goals in different countries
Candice Whitney '15
Study Abroad: Indiana-Bologna Consortial Studies Program, Bologna, Italy
As a double major in Italian and Anthropology, studying Italian at Mount Holyoke prepared me to pursue exciting and new opportunities that would broaden my knowledge of human cultures across the Mediterranean.
I knew I wanted to travel to Italy while taking Professor Svaldi’s Intermediate Italian course, as we learned and discussed current political and social issues, such as the political group, the Lega Nord, and contemporary perspectives on race after watching the film Bianco e Nero. At the end of my year-long study abroad experience in Bologna with the Indiana-Bologna Consortial Studies Program, I stayed in the city for the summer to conduct my proposed independent research project as a Global Research Fellow of the McCulloch Center funded by the Lynk (UAF) grant.
My ethnographic project became the subject of my senior thesis under the Italian department, of which I focused on how Italian immigration policies in Italy and their enforcement in Bologna shape the daily experience of West African merchants in Bologna.
During the summer of 2015, I began looking for new professional and academic opportunities that would build on my previous research. Since I wanted to expand my pedagogy knowledge after teaching ceramics at day camps over the summers, I received my TESOL certificate from Mount Holyoke in the summer of 2015.
During this time, I also began my Fulbright Research to Italy application, where I wanted to build on my previous research as a Global Research Fellow and explore how the identities of North African businesswomen in the Emilia Romagna shape their motivations, goals, and strategies of perseverance. Thanks to the mentorship of the Italian department and the connections I made while I was abroad, I easily established institutional affiliations that support my research, such as the Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione (Department of Education Sciences) at the University of Bologna, the International Women’s Forum of Bologna, and the association Universo Interculturale
During the Fall of 2015, I moved to Casablanca, Morocco to teach English at private language school called AMIDEAST in anticipation of the competition results. My Italian language skills helped me learn the basics of French and Moroccan Arabic, and also became useful in communicating with some of my students who were also fluent in Italian. Outside of my job, most of my friends were also Italian, which eased my transition into Morocco.
After completing the academic year in Morocco, I moved back to Bologna this September to pursue my Fulbright research. Professor Svaldi’s course sparked my desire to go to Italy and pursue my intellectual and professional goals in different countries.
I am extremely grateful for all that I gained during my years as a student at Mount Holyoke, and I know that the foundations for my success started in the Italian language classrooms.