Nicole Whiteman’s recent trip to Italy with some fellow student has turned into an even bigger opportunity that will take her beyond her graduation this May. In the same month, she will return to Italy to teach English as a second language at an all-boys’ high school in Verona which specializes in technology and electronics.
Whiteman, a senior art education major from New Concord, traveled to Italy last Thanksgiving as a part of an education course taught by Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Filiz Shine Edizer. As a part of the trip, the students made a Power Point presentation at the school, the Istituto Tecnico Industriale G. Marconi, to explain to students and teachers there the differences between the American and Italian educational systems.
"These students did an outstanding job,” recalled Dr. Shine Edizer. “I couldn’t have been more proud to be associated with them.”
Following their return to the United States, Dr. Shine Edizer began communicating with the school in Verona, and Whiteman’s opportunity rose from that correspondence.
Despite the fact that she does not speak Italian fluently, Whiteman will teach at the school for nearly a month, and she is already communicating both with her teaching supervisor and the family with whom she’ll be staying.
“I met the English teacher, Fiorenza Congedo, during my visit in November, and since then I’ve been emailing back and forth with her,” Whiteman explained. “I will be staying with a family in Verona, and have been emailing with the son, Matteo Montaperto, who speaks very good English. He told that his parents don't know very much English, and I only know a little Italian, so that will be interesting.”
Even though she is working in Italy beyond her graduation from Muskingum, the trip will further her work at the college. Whiteman intends to pursue a graduate education degree at the college, and this assignment abroad will be used as a graduate-level independent study with Dr. Shine Edizer.
“Nicole will represent both herself and Muskingum very well,” Dr. Shine Edizer said, “It’s a great opportunity for her, for the college and for the students and teachers in Verona who will meet and work with her.”
Dr. Shine Edizer said that she hopes the relationship between Muskingum and the school in Verona can continue to grow in the future. “Everyone benefits from these experiences,” she said, “and that’s something very important on the way to a great education.”