Theresa Barone is the first face you’ll see when you walk into 106 Walnut Place, and she’s probably the voice you’ll hear on the phone if you call the Syracuse Abroad office. She began her work as the Syracuse Abroad Front Desk Coordinator in early March, where she coordinates the office’s work-study students, processes forms and applications, and directs any and all inquiries coming into the office.
What has been your career path so far?
I was self-employed for 15 years. I owned a clothing store on Marshall Street. It was women’s contemporary clothing and then we moved down to Amory Square. Then I took a gap to stay at home with my kids. I then took a position with the book store, worked in accounts payable and that’s how I got here!
Did you study abroad?
No, but I lived abroad in London when my husband’s job took us there. I loved traveling Europe, every weekend we went somewhere different.
What country have you always wanted to visit?
I always wanted to get to Greece, and I finally got there when we were living in London in 2009. The food was spectacular, and the water was so blue.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
Probably because I lived abroad with two small kids and I saw what it did for them. They pick languages up so easily so I saw an immense growth in them.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
My favorite traveling story has to be when my family was in the Alps in Austria. My daughter was young and we turned away for a moment and she was climbing a snow bank next to an avalanche warning sign! She was fine, but it was definitely a crazy moment.
Twelve seniors have been named as the 2018 Syracuse University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor that the University bestows. Eight of the students are alumni of Syracuse Abroad programs. Congratulations to all!
University Scholars will represent the entire graduating class at the May 13 Commencement ceremony. On Wednesday, May 9, the scholars will be honored at a reception at the Chancellor’s house hosted by Chancellor Kent Syverud and Dr. Ruth Chen, at which they will receive special medallions to be worn at Commencement. The scholars will also be honored at the One University awards ceremony on Friday, April 20, at Hendricks Chapel.
The Syracuse University Scholars Selection Committee, a University-wide faculty committee, selected the 2018 scholars using criteria that included coursework and academic achievement, independent research and creative work, evidence of intellectual growth and/or innovation in their disciplinary field, a personal statement and faculty letters of recommendation.
Joelle Orecki isn’t new to the Syracuse Abroad staff – she has been the front desk coordinator since late 2016. But she recently moved into a new position as the admissions counselor for the Syracuse London and Strasbourg centers, where she’ll coordinate the admissions and pre-departure process for about 300 students each semester!
Did you study abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?
I studied in Paris in 2014, through the SUNY Oswego program. I was a French major at SUNY Geneseo, so I wanted to use my major while abroad.
What country have you always wanted to visit?
Australia! My sister studied abroad there.
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
It’s all about perspective. If you can immerse yourself in a culture, you can see how people from around the world think and act. I think it’s especially important in today’s day and age which is moving towards globalization.
What was your favorite traveling experience?
I was on a train from Cannes to Monaco and a very nice old man was telling me about the book he was reading in French and I could understand him! And respond in French! This was the last week of my abroad experience, had it been my first week I wouldn’t have been able to understand him.
What language have you always wanted to learn and why?
Spanish. I mostly know the food words and so many people speak it, so I’d definitely like to learn. Also Irish is fascinating, but dying out so I don’t have any plans to learn it, I just think it’s interesting.
What is the best story you’ve heard from a returning student?
A boy who studied abroad in London went hiking in the Lake District as an activity to represent different countries and groups. The hike separated the groups into Londoners, Americans, and refugees. He said he learned so much about the refugee crisis and how we can work together to solve it.
Do you have any advice for students about to go abroad?
Take advantage of your city while you’re there! Explore your city, don’t just go to different countries every weekend.
Joelle Orecki is a graduate of SUNY Geneseo and the current London and Strasbourg admissions counselor.
Syracuse University Abroad will host its annual Study Abroad Day on Thursday, February 8 from 12 – 3 p.m. Schine 304ABC. Study Abroad Day is a chance for students in every major and at every class level to explore over 100 study abroad options available to them through Syracuse Abroad.
In addition to Syracuse Abroad staff, representatives from 13 partner programs will be present to share information with prospective students. SU students can meet with representatives from the University of Sydney, CET Academic Programs, American University, SIT Study Abroad, SEA Semester, AMIDEAST, University College Dublin, CEA Study Abroad, South India Term Abroad, UPCES-Charles University, DIS (Copenhagen and Stockholm), the University of New South Wales, and Colgate University.
Staff members from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs will be available to talk to students about financing and budgeting for their abroad experience, and Syracuse Abroad’s global ambassadors will be on hand to share their personal experiences with prospective abroad students.
By Meghan Stark, Abroad Alumna: Spring 2017 University College Dublin
Get ready for some new tastes
As a pretty picky eater, I figured going abroad was going to be tough on my limited palate, but once I opened up to the local tastes I realized I could find some super tasty things! I felt closer to my new home when I could appreciate the local cuisine.
Be a penny pincher
You already know that living in another country is going to come with some added expenses, but it’s important to remember that if you’re studying abroad you can’t get a job for some extra cash on the side. So save extra for those “what if” moments.
Being cautious should be an everywhere rule, but it’s especially important while abroad. Your passport and credit cards are your lifeline because you’re oceans away from your home bank! Carry your credit cards close to your body in an over the shoulder bag. Keep your passport locked in your room unless traveling, and make a copy of it to carry with you during your day-to-day travels.
I wish I researched the city I was living/studying in more extensively rather than the cities I was just visiting for a few days.
Interact with the locals
They’re your new neighbors! I wish I knew how enriching it was to get to know the people in my new home.
Keep a journal or a blog
I wish I had kept some type of log of my journey from the beginning. It was so special to look back on the way other students decided to commemorate their abroad experience and I wish I had done the same!
Public transit RULES
Research your city’s options for public transport! I wish I knew how easy getting around town in a foreign place could be.
Get out and explore!
You’re living in an incredible international city – get to know that city! Then get to know the country you’re living in – explore places off the beaten track. And then visit the surrounding countries! Before I went abroad, I wish I knew how rewarding international travel could be. You’re on your own in a brand new country, and you learn so much about yourself. Have fun!
Congratulations to all 11 Syracuse Abroad students who received Gilman Scholarships for their abroad programs this spring! Eleven students is a sharp uptick from the six students who received awards for the fall 2017 semester. In addition to the 11 winners, two students were named as alternates. The total amount won by the students is $46,500!
The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide. We encourage all Syracuse Abroad students who meet the qualifications to apply for awards that can reach up to $8,000!
The next deadline (for summer/fall 2018 programs) is March 6, 2018.
Thirty years is a long time; some may even say it is a lifetime. And if you want to maintain a relationship, it is a lot of hard work. But that’s exactly what we were able to do.
This year, my friend, Karin, and I celebrated our 50th birthdays and we wanted to do something big to mark the occasion. We are both married, her with two boys, me with one. We both work full-time in metropolitan cities and are generally exhausted. But 50 years calls for something big.
Thirty years ago, we were both year-long students with SU Abroad (then called the Division of International Programs Abroad, or DIPA). We had both been studying French and were accepted into the Strasbourg program, where we would be living with a host family for a full year. When we arrived, the director asked if there were any volunteers to “buddy up” so we shrugged and said, pourquoi pas? As we met our host mother, Monique (Mo for short) for the first time, she looked at us and said, “huh, I thought you would be boys.” We were not (we are not), but we did become known in our house as La Petite et La Grande.
We spent a lot of time with Mo: we ate breakfasts and dinners together; we visited her sons and met her first grandchild in Paris; we traveled in and out of quaint Alsacian towns and villages; we went pottery shopping together; we drank wine and ate tarte flambée; we were special guests at her “English Speaking Community”; she took us to hear Handel’s Messiah performed live at L’Eglise St. Paul; she went with us to Germany to watch a German movie about Wagner with French subtitles; at home we watched bad French variety shows and talked about the U.S. stock market crash; she helped us through parental health scares and the death of a beloved aunt; she corrected our French and scolded us for staying out late and hanging out with boys instead of studying. She was – in every way – family.
We were both fortunate enough to have our American families come visit at different times of the year. Mo was a warm and generous hostess and our relationship with her expanded. When we left Strasbourg, she came and visited us in our respective U.S. homes. We each went back to Strasbourg to visit her on separate occasions with husbands or friends. Every year, Karin would send her a Christmas card with pictures of her family (I was more hit or miss, making every 2 – 3 years). When Karin and I would gather with our own families every summer, we’d be sure to take a photo and send it to her. I would, occasionally, get up the guts to write her a newsy letter in (horrible) French. We did our best to stay in touch.
But time marches on and we all continue to age. For Monique, who had always had problems with her hips and knees, her health issue became limited mobility. Gone were the days of traveling to the U.S., zipping around France in her Toyota, and (eventually) even walking. We would hear from her or her sons about various surgeries and recoveries in the South of France. But this last time, she suffered a post-surgical infection and her recovery was somewhat dicey; not surprising for someone who is 85 years old, but worrisome nonetheless. Karin and I decided we needed to return to Strasbourg.
And so, on the occasion of our 50th birthdays, we decided to travel back for our 30th Strasbourg anniversary to spend time with Monique and conduct our own Nostalgia Tour (no husbands or sons allowed!). Preparation was cumbersome as Monique does not have email and our French hasdeteriorated over time, but we managed – with the help of her technologically savvy sons – to make arrangements to visit her for about a week. She invited us to stay with her, which we gratefully and eagerly accepted.
When we arrived, all the memories came flooding back: same street, same door, same elevator to get upstairs, and when the door opened…same Mo! It was truly like coming home. Familiar furniture, turns of phrase, and smells allowed our memories to open up. Things that we had forgotten came flooding back, including our French (much diminished but not completely lacking); every turn of a street sparked an image or story. It was truly a journey of rediscovery, whether it was our favorite café, finding the DIPA center, or stopping at Mo’s boulangerie.
While we stayed with her, we asked for all the stories behind her knick-knacks and paintings, and went through all of her old photo albums together. They were full of all the photos Karin and I had been sending for thirty years, plus photos of us as twenty-year old students and some of her other hosted students, of whom there were many. But not all of them continued strong over the course of the years, with most petering out after just one or two photos of a marriage or the birth of a child. There was one student who rivaled us in amount of space earned in the albums, but very few who came after us in the chronology. We discussed this with Mo and realized that our bond with her was unique – as she mentioned on that first day, she thought we would be boys. Mo raised three boys of her own and as a result, she always hosted male students. When we came along, she had hosted one girl for just a short period, a summer program of some sort; our longevity was unique and new. We were able to give her a glimpse into what a mother-daughter relationship might look like, how the companionship of women is something different from men and how the tie is made of different material. We had a year together to forge this bond and it has lasted for thirty years.
We will continue to send her pictures, write grammatically incorrect letters and make nearly unintelligible phone calls, but we will probably never again have the opportunity to spend quality in-person time with our French host mother. We are grateful for the time we’ve had together and the humor, lessons and texture that our year with Mo has added to our lives. Thank you, Syracuse University, for providing the back-drop for our experience. We each have our own personalities and curiosity about people which serves to make each of our lives rich and interesting. But we believe that 1987 – 1988 was a time of deep connection spent learning about a people, a language, and a culture that has enabled us to approach every life experience with an eye towards long-lasting impact, not the least of which is on our relationship with Mo and our friendship with each other.
Each semester, Syracuse Florence students compete against other American study abroad students in a calcetto (five-on-five soccer) tournament. The Fall 2017 team came in first in the 25th edition of the Fiorenza International School Cup! Alessandro Pugliese, the captain of the team, won MVP of the tournament.
A big thank you goes to Alessandro and Taylor Watson, who was captain of the second Syracuse team. On behalf of all the players, a very special thank you to Coach Alessandro Verri, who helped guide them to victory! Forza ‘Cuse!
Fall 2017 Calcetto Tournament Teams:
SYRACUSE A: Alessandro Pugliese (Captain), Joey Lino, Olivia Arboneaux, Rachel Maglio, Alana Franceski, Jessie Goodman, John Banner, Ben Lefkowitz, Lorenzo Bellini (Syracuse Staff)
SYRACUSE 1: Taylor Watson (Captain), Sierra Mortimer, Kiran Ramsey, Lillian Tsegaye, Katelyn Bajorek, Nate Raphael, Ian Masters, Sang Ha Jung, Gui Vendemiatti, Richard Holway, Suzanne Finnerty, Rachel Bortman
It kept showing up on a lot on College Confidential and other sites. I wanted to one-up my brother and sister, who had gone to college on the other side of Washington.
What’s your major?
Political science. It was originally earth science
What made you decide to go abroad your first semester on the Discovery Florence program?
I always loved the idea of traveling even though I didn’t do a lot of it. I always watched a lot of Travel Channel. Also I figured if it cost the same to go to Syracuse versus abroad, I should go to Italy. I was already not gonna know anyone at Syracuse so I might as well not know anyone in Florence.
Do you have any advice for those going abroad their first semester?
Appreciate where you are and explore your own backyard. Florence had so many great museums that were incredible to explore. Some tourist things are really popular just because they’re actually awesome. Also to just travel outside your home country – I went to Amsterdam on fall break and absolutely loved it.
Do you have a favorite memory from abroad?
On one of our last nights, my roommate and I went out for food and got all the expensive foods we didn’t get a chance to try during our trip.
Jessie Santillan, a senior in political science, is an innovator in the field of mini-bios. In his early years, Jessie decided that his default “fun fact” would be that his favorite Netflix show is Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.” This long-time wearer of wool socks and Washington State resident has had minimal issues adapting to the Syracuse Snow™. When he graduates this spring, he hopes to finally have time to start the second season of Stranger Things.