Monday, April 4, 2022

Lifelong Learning and the Journeys to Italy

Lifelong Learning and the Journeys to Italy -  Personal, Professional and Academic Reflections

By: Daniella Lubey - M.S. Organization Development

In writing my daily reflections I included some personal, professional and academic experiences that impact my views each day throughout the program. To provide context, I have learned about refugees in Italy from an academic point of view and also a personal experiential point of view. In my first experience studying abroad in Italy in 2014, I became friends with many refugees that came from the Balkans and more specifically Kosovo. I also learned from my roommate who was from Italy about different perspectives among her friend groups about migration and what they were experience as natives to the country and even the Italian people who were also migrating out of Italy at the same time where there was a larger influx of migrants moving into Italy. This shaped my career and passion for study abroad and international education with a specific interest in Italy and migration.

In my many trips back to Italy I continued to learn more, spend lengths of time with my friends, build upon my language skills, and grow as a human being in understanding the rights of people and equity necessary to support all humans of every race, gender, ethnicity, ability, etc. In my most simple viewpoint on life, I would echo many of the sentiments heard from different organizations while on the AGI Rome program – All humans have the same basic needs and wants for a better life. There are very few differences in understanding people despite language barriers and cultural differences. I appreciated hearing about the services offered and support given by various organizations in Italy and across the world. The testimonials shared were powerful to say the least and were impactful because of their willingness to be open and share the importance of their stories for other to learn and understand. This is something I do not always have the courage to do even with an experience much more minor than those experienced by migrants leaving their countries for various reasons.

In a previous experience, I had the opportunity to learn about migration from Tunisia into Palermo, Sicily. In that program we learned about the routes that Tunisian and other African migrants could take to get to Sicily, the services that may be offered, we heard from an immigration lawyer about the bureaucracy and processes, and work opportunities available once they receive documentation. My time spent in Palermo helped to inform what I was going to be learning on this AGI Rome program. Through my own experience, I felt well prepared to visit Rome and learn about migration in a completely different area of Italy than I had before. I grew to appreciate Catholic and ministry services that I did not have a great understanding of before attending this program. In my professional experience in international education and through what I study in Organization Development, I was able to observe cohorts of students on study abroad programs who all come from different backgrounds, academic experiences and personal experiences. For me, there was great power to this program as the participants all came from inter-disciplinary backgrounds and master’s programs.

In my daily reflections and analysis, I thought about many of my past experiences which helped to build upon my knowledge during the week-long program. I critically observed human rights as a whole, refugee/migration justice, social justice, systemic justice, civil rights justice and equity justice. In creating greater social impact, I think that the power of voice, storytelling, sharing knowledge is very important in this day and age. With media as powerful as it is in the most helpful and the most dangerous way, storytelling seems to be the best way to spread knowledge and impact emotionally and also academically through data. The program has informed and will inform my academic and professional research in the future.

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