SIS Study Abroad Program
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Italy-U.S. Mediated Exchange Project

COVID-19 needs to be addressed

The needs were linked to the impossibility of culture and language exchanges for high school and university students in Italy and in the U.S.

Country: Italy

Year: 2020-2021

Institution: SIS Study Abroad Program

# of students: 40

Person in charge: Lavinia Bracci


Interaction with beneficiaries: Virtual

Academic Degree: Undergraduate | High School students

Discipline(s): Medicine and Health | Foreign language | Anthropology

Community Service Area & ODS: Cultural Diversity | Good health and well-being

Brief description

This S-L experience is a hybrid example, joining international, domestic and virtual service-learning.

The exchange took place In March and April 2021 between College Mount Saint Vincent (Prof. Michelle Scollo), Siena Italian Studies Study Abroad Program (Prof. Lavinia Bracci, Prof. Fiora Biagi and student Matthew Bickman) and students from the Liceo Scientifico “Galilei” of Siena.

For this mediated exchange project, American students were split into groups and matched with Italian students. They met in five “mediated exchanges” (on Google Meet). The first of these exchanges was an introduction so that everyone could meet and confirm that the technology was working.

The next three meetings were interviews (questions provided) concerning:

(1) oral histories of the COVID-19 pandemic,

(2) public health behaviour in the COVID-19 pandemic, and

(3) healthcare and wellbeing in Italy and the U.S.

For each of these meetings, a U.S. student interviewed one of the Italian students and then an Italian student interviewed one of the U.S. students. The exchange also involved the participation of Italian adults (e.g., parent, aunt/uncle, teacher, grandparent) to be interviewed on each topic so that we had a diversity of ages and perspectives.

For the last meeting, the Italian and U.S. students shared and discussed three photos they each had taken (following guiding questions) about the COVID-19 pandemic: the sharing of and discussion about the photos were structured in order to help the reflection process.

The project reached around 40 people in total.
The data collected will be analysed in the next few months and hopefully published.

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