Students fall in love with Europe during ‘I (Heart) Travel’ week


Employee for the Office of Global Education Nick Vasiloff holds up his sign saying his dream place to travel would be Israel at the “I (Heart) Travel Week” event in the Kent State library Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014.

Chelsey Milkovich

Attendance reached its highest point during “I (Heart) Travel” week when students showed up on Wednesday for a day-long session on exploring Europe.  The event filled the fourth floor of the library with students with past study abroad experience, students with future study abroad interest, advisors, professors, and international education experts.

“I (Heart) Travel” week was organized by the Office of International Programs and Education Abroad in the College of Arts and Sciences and sponsored by the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication, Education Health and Human Services and the Office of Global Education at Kent State.

Kristin Stasiowski, Director of International Programs and Education Abroad, Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors Nina Mikulandra and Margalit Schindler, senior art history major were the core trio to organize the events of  “I (Heart) Travel” week.

With Wednesday’s session titled “Exploring Europe,” Mikulandra was prepared for the highest interest and attendance to come from this day. “We expected today to be our biggest day and we are so excited about the turn out,” Mikulandra said.

Coinciding with Valentine’s Day, this week’s events inspired students to “fall in love” with travel and different countries and cultures to get interested in study abroad.

“Everyone is so in love with Europe and we encourage falling even harder!” Stasiowski said.

Senior public relations majors Hannah Hamner and Julie Myers recall their experiences studying abroad in Europe as unforgettable. 

“The great thing about Europe is it’s so easy to travel within and you can go to so many different countries within hours and see so many different cultures,” Hamner said in regards to studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. 

Hamner said she loved and respected Europe because of the way the people of Spain took day-to-day life. “It’s a much slower pace. I can tell that the people in Spain really know how to take each hour of the day as it comes and really enjoy life.”

Myers also respected the people of Dublin, Ireland after spending a semester there and took them into account of why she is so passionate about Europe. 

“While studying abroad in Europe, I learned that the people in Ireland as a whole seemed extremely non-materialistic.  It’s definitely something that reflects on the country itself and makes you really appreciate and admire them,” Myers said. 

Education Abroad Advisors Amber Bollinger and Nick Vasiloff gave students interested in the 2014 Summer Florence Institute in Italy a brief introduction of what to expect out of the program such as course descriptions and opportunities, living and housing arrangements, and financial options and chances for scholarships. 

“The summer program is incredible because you get to learn about some really unique things such as the history of the Italian mafia and intercultural communications,” Bollinger said. 

Vasiloff and Bollinger also encouraged students who have yet to apply to the Florence Institute for Summer 2014 be aware that the deadline for application is Tues. Apr 1, so there is still an efficient amount of time for students to complete the application process.

Elizabeth Coccia, a freshman managerial marketing major is one of the students traveling to the Florence institute this summer.

“Since I’m Italian, Italy has always been an absolute dream for me,” Coccia said.  “I’m really interested in finding out how other cultures live. It’s going to be a whole different world and I can’t wait to experience it.”

With students interested in the familiar culture of Europe, there are a few quirky perks to the culture as well.  Gus Medicus showed students a slide show and spoke of the nudeness found in the renaissance and all over Italy.  Nudity can be seen on the streets of Italy in forms of sculpture, engravings, paintings, jewelry, and even saltshakers. It is respected in the fact that they live every day surrounded by so many nudes in such a nonchalant, casual manner.

“There are nudes all over the place in the Florence,” Medicus said. “The presence of the nude is everywhere in Florence and it’s to the point where nobody bats an eye to nudity.  It’s all a part of the culture. You just cannot escape the nudes in Florence!”

Senior cellular molecular biology major Elizabeth Sylvestor spoke of her study abroad experience.

Sylvestor spent a semester studying abroad in Leicester, England and was able to travel to Scotland in her downtime.  She said that studying in Leicester was an amazing and engaging intellectual experience, but her favorite place to travel to was Scotland.  “Scotland is the most amazing place in the world. I swear they all have the best sense of humor,” Sylvestor said.

Ediz Kaykayoglu, Education Abroad advisor wants to intrigue students to fall in love with Europe as well as all other parts of the world and take away as much as they can from “I (Heart) Travel” week.

 “It’s important that students know that the world is not just made up of Kent or Portage County.  There is so much more out there, more experiences to be had and more stories to be told,” Kaykayoglu said.

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Contact Chelsey Milkovich at [email protected].