Study abroad programs provide students with an opportunity to enrich their academic experiences, as well as immerse themselves in a new cultural reality.
For these, and many other reasons, Fairmont State University and the University of Calabria, Italy, have enjoyed a relationship of partnership and collaboration since 2007. In fact, the two universities have engaged in the construction of an exchange program that was attended by 20 Calabrian students this past academic year.
Located in the natural reserve of the mountains of Appalachia, Fairmont is a small, rural town in West Virginia. The university is located within a short driving distance of hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and banks. In addition, it is located just two hours from the city of Pittsburgh, and three hours from Washington D.C.
The collaborative program involves a period of study abroad at Fairmont State University, with the possibility of performing research in advanced technologies.
The exchange program includes, among other things, a system of mentoring, guidance, and ongoing support on campus. Each student is guaranteed the opportunity to attend an advanced course in English (ESL – English as a Second Language) that will help them better communicate and study without difficulty as an international student in the United States. ESL is an intensive program that offers 20 hours of English instruction per week to improve language skills, conversation, listening, and writing.
Fairmont State University offers a wide variety of services to make the stay of students on campus more enjoyable and worthwhile. Some of those services include health care, libraries, dormitories, a dining hall, swimming pool, gymnasiums, indoor walking/running track, exercise equipment, and sports fields. Moreover, students will get a chance to become immersed in a culturally diverse environment facilitated by the activities they are involved in while on campus.
Thanks to the presence of a hospitable and loving community of Calabrian immigrants on campus, and representatives of the West Virginia Italian Heritage Association, the first students of Calabria were welcomed to the Fairmont State University campus community wholeheartedly. The students were presented with an opportunity to become involved in many cultural events and were welcomed by the many immigrant families who live in Fairmont. The students also went to many area schools to share their thoughts regarding the cultural differences they experienced during their stay. In addition, they participated in many festivals where they were able to represent their local region.
|Emanuele- Student of Natural Sciences
Studying at Fairmont State University was an experience that allowed me to grow as a person. At Fairmont, I met many people who loved me and helped me to appreciate the American educational system. My professors were helpful and knowledgeable. I am studying Natural Science, and at Fairmont I was able to enjoy the hands on side of my field rather than just classroom experience. I really appreciated the friendliness of the entire campus community.
|Giusy-Student of Historical Sciences
I came to Fairmont in order to deepen my historical research on the Calabrian communities present in West Virginia, but what I have found is much more than I expected. Many people were willing to tell me their stories. My advisor helped me with each step of my work; she not only provided guidelines for good writing of the manuscript, but also accompanied me in the places where the Calabrian community developed. All of these things allowed me to have a well-rounded view of this overseas reality and realize that, even though these immigrant families are so far Italy, the spirit of Calabria still lies on the slopes of Appalachia.
|Stefania -Student of Management Engineering
I spent the fall semester of 2010 at Fairmont State University along with 13 other students from the University of Calabria. Here I attended, in addition to ESL classes, three courses related to my degree course in Management. I had the opportunity to learn a different system of corporate governance and to bring a new system, based mostly on practice, acquiring new knowledge. Without doubt, all the time I was here, I never felt far from home.
Giuseppe -Student of Communication Sciences and Dams
Alfredo- Student of Economics