Student/Artist Gnome Collaboration Covered by NY1

NY1 reporter Nicole Ashley recently came to campus to cover the unveiling of the College’s latest sculpture addition, a giant sleeping gnome. The work is a result of a collaboration between visiting Finnish artist Kalle Mustonen and CSI students. Ashley’s report is available online.

Arlinda Draga enjoys a feast of art and cuisine in Florence

Arlinda Draga ’16 is a Verrazano student studying Biology with a Biochemistry minor and took advantage of a study abroad opportunity to travel abroad to Florence, Italy, in the winter of 2016 to feast on the arts and the cuisine.

I had an amazing experience on my study abroad trip to Florence, Italy this past winter. Florence was defiantly a huge culture shock for me.  I had the opportunity to live with three other students from New York on the top floor of an apartment next to Duomo di Firenze.  Duomo di Firenze is the main church of Florence and is considered to be one of the largest churches in the world.  Everyday my roommates and I would walk past the Duomo and get our cappuccinos before going to class.  I had the privilege of taking an introductory drawing class that was taught by an Italian artist who lived in Florence.

My professor taught us many different ways to draw and made us appreciate all the famous art work of Florence.  During class we would walk to museums and do sketches of famous paintings and sculptures.  We also had the privilege of drawing live nude models to help us practice for our final drawings.  For one of our final projects we were told to go to the top of Piazza Michelangelo and sketch a drawing of the view at the top of the hill.  We were also told to go to three famous areas of Italy and complete a drawing of our view.

My roommates and I went to the leaning tower of Pisa, the Coliseum in Rome and the top of the duomo in Florence and did three separate sketches of these breathtaking views.  This art class not only taught me how to draw, but it gave me the experience to travel Italy and see the real lifestyle of an Italian.

Throughout my trip, I tried some of the most amazing Tuscany dishes which included truffle pasta, T-bone steak, caprese salad, gelato and much more.  Florence is definitely an experience like no other.  Every other store down most of the blocks either sold wine, leather jackets or pizza.

During the night there were secret bakeries at different corners that would sell the freshest pastries.  The people of Florence would tell us to find the bakeries by following the smells in the streets of the pastries being prepared.  I believe that I adapted to the Italian culture very well on this trip.  I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to Florence at such a young age.  This humbling experience not only made me more open minded to different cultures but it made me want to travel all over the world.

 

 

To read more about the adventures of Verrazano students, visit the Verrazano Voyager Web page.

Ni Hao Shanghai!

Veronica LaManna

Veronica LaManna ’16 is a Verrazano student majoring in International Business with a business finance and a French minor. She has taken advantage of Verrazano Study Abroad scholarships on more than one occasion!  She shares her latest adventure here.

If I were to build a time machine and go back in time to tell freshman Veronica that she would study abroad two times in two different countries before she graduated, freshman Veronica would think future her was crazy.  Over the Winter 2016 Semester I was blessed to have a second opportunity to study abroad in Shanghai, China.  Even though it was a last minute decision, I can say that this experience changed my life once again.  Before studying abroad in China, I spent a semester in Nice, France.  Well, France and China couldn’t be more different from each other.  As I got on the plane and started my journey to the Far East, I began to question my decision and myself.  Was this the right place to study abroad? Will I be able to survive without knowing the language or without Facebook for one month? (The use of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat is banned in China.)  I was expecting to be in complete culture shock as soon as I landed in China.  Well my expectations were correct.

Veronica LaManna and friends

I had never experienced that much culture shock since my trip to Morocco, except it was a very different type of culture shock.  As we took our stop in Japan, we began to enter what seemed like the future.  Finally after twenty-four hours of traveling we finally arrived in Shanghai, or I should call it the future.

The bright lights and the metro were just two things that felt like the future for us.  The first time taking the metro was an experience in itself.  First you are overwhelmed by the amount of people rushing to catch the train, then you are overwhelmed by the amount of futuristic vending machines selling anything from Sony Headphones to freshly squeezed orange juice, finally you are overwhelmed by the skill needed to actually get on the train without being closed in the doors.  Besides my fear of the metro, the other culture shocks I experienced in Shanghai were well worth it.

Veronica LaManna

Everyday the other students and I would try our best to try every type of street food Shanghai had to offer and even try to speak Chinese, or what sounded like Chinese to us, with the locals.  We all felt like we were gaining about two hundred pounds but thankfully all the walking we did exploring evened it out for us.   I would say the only negative side to studying abroad in Shanghai was the amount of time we had there.  We wanted to do so many things but since we only had three weeks and had to attend Chinese classes every day it made it difficult to complete every adventure.  Nonetheless studying abroad in Shanghai has given me not only unforgettable memories but also valuable friendships.

Veronica LaManna and friends

After we left China, some other students and I even got to take a four-day stop in Japan.   I’m so grateful to have received the study abroad scholarship and the student government travel grant in order to make this experience possible.  Xie Xie!

 

 

To read more about the adventures of Verrazano students, visit the Verrazano Voyager Web page.

 

 

 

 

A Personal, Professional, and Spiritual Journey to Costa Rica

Farzeen Kanwal ’16 is completing her Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing. She decided to take advantage of the College of Staten Island’s study abroad program in her final year of school and was transformed by the experience.
From the first day of joining of the Verrazano Honors Program, I remember hearing about how important it is to study abroad. I admit I did not have a strong interest at first since it did not seem financially realistic for my family and I, but still I made sure to keep the option open. As I entered my final year of college, I thought to myself: “it is now or never, Farzeen” and I could definitely say that I am glad I took advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I participated in a three week faculty led program in San Jose, Costa Rica with seventeen other CSI students and every day was a new adventure. On weekday mornings, we would wake up at about 5 am for clinical and visit various hospitals and clinics. We would interact with patients, see surgeries, and were given lectures by Costa Rican healthcare professionals. Afterwards, we would have Spanish class and explore the local neighborhood before our day had come to an end. On the weekends, we went on several trips in other cities such as ziplining, chocolate tours, hot springs, beach resorts, and national parks.Here are some memorable experiences that I would like to share:

This picture was from our very first clinical rotation in Costa Rica. We visited a senior citizen daycare called Hogar Magdala, where we were told about the history of the place as well as given information on who resides there. In the picture below, it was my first time taking blood pressure since completing the nursing associate degree program. I admit I was quite nervous at first because I was not sure how to approach them, especially considering the language barrier. The frustration disappeared when one of the patients smiled and held out her arm for a blood pressure reading. When I told her the result, she was quite happy that it was within the normal range. In future practice, I will remember not to be nervous when approaching a patient, instead I will remind myself that I am helping them reach their goals to lead a healthier lifestyle and there’s absolutely no reason to be scared about that.
This picture was taken when we visited the shaman in the mountains. I was looking forward to this the most on the trip since I have always wanted to learn more about their spiritual practices. He gave us a lecture about the indigenous population and how it was attacked by the people of Spain. He also shed light on a matter I never seemed to think about – spiritual healing is as important as medicine. This type of natural healing is very important to them. In America, we do not necessarily ignore spiritual health, we just do not give it as much consideration as we do for medicine. We tend to go after physical medicine before asking the patient about their own views on ways of healing. He gave us the advice to be open- minded about spiritual healing, and not solely rely on what we are taught.
During our last night of the farewell dinner, I decided to reflect upon what I have learned in Costa Rica. From the nursing knowledge I obtained which I could apply to future practice to the places I have seen, I am very thankful for this experience. Before coming to Costa Rica, I was honestly not sure what to expect. All I really knew about the country was that it was located in Central America. The most interesting aspect about my trip was understanding Costa Rica’s approach to healthcare. They do not have an army to fund; therefore 8% of the tax payer’s money goes to their healthcare system and education. I liked that they have primary care delivery options and how involved they are in getting to know information about the health of the community. We do not really do that here in America, but I think it is a great idea to implement. Aside from that, I thought about the lessons I have learned with the people I was able to call family in such a short period of time. We all helped each other grow in numerous ways and made so many fun memories along our journey.My advice to those thinking about traveling (whether it is to study abroad or not) would be to just do it. Immersing yourself into a new culture will help you grow as a person in ways you would not have imagined.

To read more about the adventures of Verrazano students, visit the Verrazano Voyager Web page.

Adventures in Shanghai

Kashef Razi’ 18 is a Business Management and Computer Science major with a minor in Chinese. He participated in the College of Staten Island’s winter program in Shanghai, China.

I remember the first day I heard about the study abroad program. I was utterly fascinated and thought of it as an unattainable dream. I use to joke around with my friends and sister saying that I would definitely go one day but knew all too well that it was too difficult a task to accomplish, or so I thought. The program made it all too easy to take a trip across the globe; all I had to do was take the first step and so I did. It was one of the greatest achievements that I have ever accomplished and I will always look back at it and recommend it to others.

I distinctly remember the day we stepped out of that airplane and the exciting feelings I had. I knew that it was the start of an adventure and I could feel it underneath my skin. Even though we arrived at night, when most things were closed, I just wanted to explore. I wanted to see the people, the culture, the new scenery, and of course try the amazingly delicious food I have been hearing so much about. Shanghai became my new home those three weeks and I did not want to leave.

The people, the architecture, and the culture it all fascinated me. The trains were extremely crowded during rush hour, so much so that you would be cheek to cheek with someone for quite a few stops but even so, I loved it. Shanghai was extremely clean and sophisticated. I expected to see an overly populated China town but instead I entered a sophisticated and advanced metropolis. Watching people do tai chi in the morning and dance routines at night was definitely a sight worth seeing.

I’m back from China and it feels like it was only yesterday that we would grab a hot mango green tea between class breaks and travel to all different parts of Shanghai. The last week had us all feeling sad that it was almost time for us to go back and all we could say was that we would make the most of the final days that we had in Shanghai. We made sure not to waste a minute while we were there. The only regret I had was that I didn’t stay longer. Studying abroad in China was a worthwhile experience and taught me so much. It gave me a new perspective and helped guide me towards my future endeavors. I hope, and firmly recommend, that anyone who reads this has gained even a slight interest in studying abroad and all I have to say is that you will not regret it.

To read more about the adventures of Verrazano students, visit the Verrazano Voyager Web page.

Studying Abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica

Georgiy Lyzhin '16

Georgiy Lyzhin ’16 completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in January 2016, but not before he traveled to Costa Rica with CSI’s faculty-led program, where he earned nursing credit!

Hola! My name is Georgiy Lyzhin and I just graduated the College of Staten Island with a major in Nursing.  Over the January 2016 Intersession, I had the chance to study abroad in Costa Rica for 3 weeks.  It was a Faculty-Led program from the Nursing department that gives students the opportunity to be immersed in an entirely different culture, studying the Spanish language, and experiencing firsthand the healthcare system that is followed there.

Being in a foreign country with a language different from yours for 3 weeks is an unreal and absolutely amazing experience.  It is a rare opportunity that everyone should experience.  I was assigned to a family that welcomed me with open arms and opened up their house to me; even though there was a huge language barrier between us.  Just imagine both parties having minimal knowledge of the other person’s language and trying to communicate basic needs or wants.  Looking back and comparing day 1 to day 21, I was surprised of my and the whole groups’ new language abilities.

Costa Rica is truly an incredible, beautiful country that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.  It is filled with lush rainforest, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking mountainous landscape.  Costa Rica is well known for their chocolate, coffee, and tourism.  The locals there, called ticas and ticos follow the Pura Vida lifestyle, which, translates to Pure Life, and is a perspective of a relaxed, laidback, and positive life.  Living the Pura Vida lifestyle has really inspired me and had me advocating this type of living to everyone back home.

While abroad, I’ve met so many wonderful people that I will always remember, from my host mom and her family, to our drivers and tour guides, to the staff at the university where we studied and the clinics, and of course, to the students that were part of our trip.  Spending so much time with these people, you form relationships that are truly unforgettable.

Apart from the trips to the national parks, volcanoes, beach resorts, spas and local city tours, we spent a great deal of time understanding and experiencing the healthcare system of this country.  Costa Rica heavily invests in its healthcare system, to provide public health to working citizens.  Visualizing the equipment in the hospitals and clinics, and comparing and contrasting nursing in Costa Rica to nursing in the United States, I was able to attain a whole new perspective on this field.

Throughout my entire undergraduate career, I have been dreaming of studying abroad.  Having finally gone in my last semester, I could not be happier.  It was an amazing experience and I would like to thank CSI, my professors, and the Verrazano school for guiding me and helping me make my dream become a reality.  Pura Vida!!

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.

Mahwish Razi: China, guys, China!

Mahwish Razi ’18, a Verrazano student, is a Computer Science major with minors in Chinese and Political Science. Not only does she study broadly, she travels broadly! Here she shares here experiences on a winter study abroad in China (and elsewhere!).

2/5/2016
Three countries, one month, and I am officially back and labeled, “Miss traveled the world”.  I spent three weeks living and studying in Shanghai, China, four days touring Tokyo, and one week on vacation in Dubai this past winter break. I came back Sunday night and in only a few hours was back on the CSI campus. Jetlagged? Like never before. Culture shocked? Well, only the fourth time in four weeks.

Both China and Japan were at the top of my bucket list, Japan above China even. Studying abroad for me was my lifelong dream; however, when I began college, it was almost a joke. As soon as I entered the Verrazano program, there was all this talk about studying abroad and I was constantly asked if it was in my plans, and I’d respond each time saying, “Yes!” while thinking to myself, “If only.”  It’s almost funny when I figured it out; the only thing holding me back really was myself. I’d always find myself wandering into the international center whether it was for an event or to inquire about one, when I finally decided to just get that application and go.
And so I went… It was the best decision I’ve ever made. On the way to Shanghai, we stopped in Japan as it was a connection flight, and although we didn’t leave the airport, I was fascinated beyond imagination. Those Japanese toilets were something, and I remember telling my friends how I wished we came to study abroad in Japan instead of China. However, it wasn’t long before I’d be whining about not leaving Shanghai and coming up with plans to live my life out there.

Shanghai became, in just three weeks, home. My friends became my family and although my tones were off and half the time I was speaking in Chinglish, I came to a point where all I wanted to do was speak Chinese. I find myself nostalgic about everything there. There is not a single thing that I don’t miss. My friends hated being pushed into the trains, but I, for one, loved it. Yes, ask me anything about China and I will say I loved it. It was nothing like what I imagined going there. I thought I’d be going to a bigger Chinatown; I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was a place with the most amazing infrastructure; I almost thought I was in the future. With such advanced technology and architecture, this was also a place rich in culture and cuisine. Although most shops were closed for breakfast, watching the early groups enjoy tai chi and the calligraphy being painted on the park tiles filled me up right to the brim.

I still can’t believe I went to China and I couldn’t believe it there either. I’d probably say it five times a day, if not more, “Guys can you believe we’re in China? China guys, China!” and towards the end I changed it up a bit: “Guys can you believe we’re leaving? We’re leaving China guys, China, aren’t you super duper sad?” Travelling to China was definitely an experience that changed my life for the better and gave me clarity as to where I need to be headed with my future goals. I think if anything, I have been blessed for this opportunity and for the friends that became so dear to me. Xièxiè for everything China and to everyone that helped me reach such an amazing place.

 

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.

Conducting Speech Research at the College of Staten Island

Jessica Spensieri ’17 received a Verrazano Research Grant in the Summer of 2015, and used it to conduct research in the CSI Speech Lab.

My name is Jessica Spensieri and I am a Verrazano student of the 2017 graduating class.  I am also a linguistics major and recipient of the Verrazano Research Study Grant for my work with Dr. Jason Bishop.  I have been working in the CSI Speech Laboratory alongside Dr. Bishop on a study about executive function and personality traits, and boundaries in speech.  Basically what this means is we are examining people’s speech and seeing where they pause, and determining if there is a connection with their personality traits and working memory.  We are still in the process of collecting data, so we don’t yet have results.  If you’re a native English speaker, you can actually help out by coming to the speech lab in 2S-216a to participate.  The study doesn’t take long, and you’ll even get paid for your participation, so everybody wins!

Even though I don’t have results to share, I would like to share my experience.  Working with a professor as an undergraduate and having the ability to present your findings at conferences is an amazing opportunity.  I am so fortunate that Professor Bishop took me under his wing and has given me this chance.  I am enjoying working with him in the lab and discovering new things, and am looking forward to what next semester and next year hold.  Not only have I gained this wonderful experience, but I have made friends along the way!  I have met girls that have the same dreams and aspirations as me, and I am so happy that I was able to meet them through this.  I encourage people to take part in research as undergraduates, because it makes you stand out from the rest and is an exciting way to learn new things and meet new people.  I am eager to narrow down our findings for this study and present them at the Undergraduate Research Conference in the spring!

To read more about exciting exploration, visit The Verrazano Voyager homepage.