Winter session, 2019 – Argentina
I am forever grateful to Professor Darren Petronella (Study Abroad Coordinator) and the Nassau Community College Study Abroad Program for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion of human rights in the environment that it desperately requires. This would not have been financially possible without NCC and SUNY generously granting me the Santander Scholarship - and for this reason also, I am so thankful for this internship experience. Being able to study Law and Human Rights (through Projects Abroad) in Argentina this winter 2019 semester has immeasurably changed my understanding of the field as it gave me the first-hand knowledge that is necessary to have compassion for people who, due to distance, can feel quite separate from us.
My most memorable experiences were with CESAM, a correctional facility that housed adolescent girls involved in a criminal procedure. It was shocking to walk into the building- run down, barred, and unkempt, housing girls who sat around plastic tables and chipped chairs being the only available commodities in a concrete courtyard. Upon working with them, it was plaintively clear that these girls, aged just fourteen to eighteen, were not criminals. It was distressing to realize that they had been promised rehabilitation and care from their government, but instead, they were now forever altered by their time in a facility that imparted on them that they were criminals.
But once in Argentina, it wasn’t just the work I engaged in with other organizations such as FUNDEPS, a non-profit that advocates for a more equitable and participatory society, but also my daily experiences that taught me lessons. I learned that in the high, humid heat of summer I found myself in, many Argentinians slept with not as much as a fan on as the price of electricity was unaffordable, and that even my daily bus rides to and from work were luxuries that many couldn’t afford. Through conversations with my supervisor, Lucia, I learned how these problems resulted from corrupt government officials allowing the highest paying private corporations to control markets on such necessities. From this, I absorbed the universal importance of having a government that is accountable to the people, not corporations.
These experiences reaffirmed my belief that regardless of different cultures, languages, ancestries, and histories, we are united in our capacity to feel the pain from injustices and the desire to do better. I returned home, stepping off the airplane, breathing in the brisk winter air, so warm with the joy of everything I had learned and the understanding that my belief had solidified into a conviction that gave me the confirmation I needed to continue down the path of human rights. Argentina has been an experience of a lifetime.
Winter session, 2018 – Italy
I was given the unique opportunity to explore Italy during the winter 2018 semester on a program through SUNY Buffalo. It was a truly eye opening and unforgettable experience that exposed me to a culture and lifestyle much different than my own.
This program did not include formal lectures in classroom settings. Instead, the professors lectured during the bus rides to our destinations. The group spent 6 days in Naples where we visited Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum. Then, we spent 10 days in Rome where we explored the city, including visits to the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon. We were left free time to explore other iconic monuments, such as the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
I could not be more appreciative for the knowledge I have gained, as well as the memories and friends that I will cherish forever! Going abroad during my time at NCC is just one of the amazing opportunities this school has offered, and I cannot wait to go again! Thanks to Prof. Darren Petronella (Study Abroad Coordinator at NCC) for his help in planning my study abroad experience!