Vienna and Sicily Preview: Transfer Students

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 11, 2011

Transfer students chose this year between Vienna Preview , where they will learn about the pivotal role that Austria played in both world wars and see this story told through the amazing art and architecture of the city—and Italy Preview to Sicily, where they will investigate the historical and current processes of transnational migration and cross-cultural interaction in two multilingual and multicultural contexts—Philadelphia and Sicily.

A photojournalist, Rhiannon Volpe will be taking her camera to Vienna, the city of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, theatre, the home of the Alps, the Sound of Music, and the Hapsburg dynasty that ruled Europe for over 600 years. “I like to take pictures, and I’m more of a city person,” she says of why she chose Vienna. Volpe also will spend the summer abroad in Florence.

“Why not,” says Shaun McQuade of his decision to take the Vienna Preview course and experience. McQuade has been to Africa, “but I’ve never been to Europe.” In the 2-credit course, students are exploring the history of Vienna, from its disparate states and ethnic groups into the cosmopolitan, innovative city it is today. This summer, McQuade will head to Bonn, Germany, to study renewable energy. “Look at all these wars started around oil,” he says. “As a political science major, I wanted to get involved in renewable energy. We can’t be depending on oil anymore.”

Christian Coen is “stoked” to be headed to Sicily. “I already have family over there. My mom is supposed to hit me up on Facebook and tell me where they are.”

“This is too good of an experience to pass up,” adds Pete Chekemain. The Sicily course—From Sicily to the Italian Market: Global Migration in Italian/U.S. Contexts—questions what it means to belong, as a newcomer and/or an old-timer, in two distinct yet interconnected contexts in very different parts of the world. Students spent time with residents of Italian, Vietnamese, and Mexican descent in Philadelphia’s Italian Market before traveling to the city of Syracuse in the Sicily region of Italy to explore its multilingual and multicultural past and present.

For Kyle Grier, this is his first time traveling to another country, “and also I need to graduate,” he adds, smiling. The 2-credit course along with the Reflection course fulfills his Global Connections Experience.

Megan Preedy also will be traveling out of the country for the first time and is excited to be going to Sicily. “My family is from Sicily…my grandmom’s grandmom.”

“I’m excited for her, “ adds her mother, Barbara Preedy, as they waited for the other student to arrive. “I think it’s incredible. I wish they’d let me be a chaperone and I could go, too!”