Nikki Beck
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Journalism
Urbino Experience: My experience at Urbino has been one I will not forget. Being immersed in the culture of Italy has opened my eyes to the different ways that people live life all around us. I’ve fallen in love with the food and the people from day one. I’ve loved working with so many experienced professors and being able to get helpful feedback on anything from video to writing. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences I could ask for.

Kaitlin Birkbeck
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Converged Media
Urbino Experience: Participating in the Urbino Project has been one of the most rewarding experiences. The past four weeks I have spent immersed in this historically rich city have opened my eyes to a new culture and way of life. I will always cherish the bonds created with the students and professors; we will forever be a family. I cannot wait for my return visit to the cobblestone streets of this remarkable city.

Bethany Blakeman
University: Georgetown University
Major: Undeclared
Urbino Experience: Living and studying in Urbino for a month has changed the way I approach my interactions with people. Being able to walk around and talk to the different people of Urbino with an Italian student as my interpreter allowed me to slow down and appreciate the beauty of language and understanding. The people are great, and so is the way of life. The Urbino Project is the perfect study abroad program, as it has given me the opportunity to connect with people, both Italian and American, in a way I never thought was possible.

Jessica Christian
University: San Francisco State University
Major: Photojournalism
Urbino Experience: Having the rewarding experience of being a part of the Urbino Project has been an adventure that I will always cherish. I have grown tremendously as a journalist and have been challenged every day to continue to learn more about photojournalism and myself as well. Being able to practice what I love and be in such a historic city is something I’ve always wanted to accomplish and Urbino has exceeded my expectations. I have met so many talented and influential people who have taught me so much and I am truly grateful to have been a part of this program.

Connor Drew
University: James Madison University
Major: Writing, Rhetoric, & Technical Communication
Urbino Experience: Urbino seems to have not aged a single day throughout the centuries and I can’t believe something as majestic as it still exists. You step inside the walls and you immediately wish you could stay there forever. The people, too, are welcoming and exciting; never once did I feel like an outsider. This was the perfect town to expose us to Italian culture and to bond with each other throughout our experiences. This town and these people will always be a part of who I am.

Kirsten Fenn
University: Carleton University
Major: Journalism
Urbino Experience:The Urbino Project has taught me that today’s journalist needs to be able to do it all – photos, video, text, and more. Working with talented faculty and students has helped me develop my writing and research abilities and served as a valuable networking opportunity. The Italian culture has changed my perspective of the world and encouraged me to continue towards a career in international reporting.

Rachel Green
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Digital Video & Cinema
Urbino Experience: Urbino is not somewhere I’d think to vacation or ever really visit on my own. But, living in Urbino gave me the opportunity to experience real Italian life, without tourists crowding the streets. After only a few days here it felt like I’d already walked the streets a hundred times and I saw many of the same over and over again. The warm air and rich food lulled me into a state of content that comes with the seeming simplicity of life here. It becomes easy to take the view of the valley sprawling toward the coast and the clever Italian students, who it’s so easy to get along with despite the language barrier, for granted. The media program encourages students to feel this way by embracing the culture to create a truly meaningful story.

Stephanie Gross
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design (Corporate Communication) and Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication
Urbino Experience: Italy was just as beautiful as I had imagined, but this course exceeded all of my expectations. I came to Urbino not knowing what any of the buttons did on my simple point-and-shoot camera, and in four weeks that went by too quickly, I became comfortable working with DSLRs, iMovie, and using the different settings on my camera proficiently. The students, teachers, and interpreters all worked so well together, from helping each other come up with new ideas for stories to giving advice on the best gelato flavors, this experience has been unforgettable.

Tory Hallenburg
University: Westminster College
Major: Mass Communication and Multimedia
Urbino Experience: After sending in my application for this program I was hit by the realization that I had absolutely no idea what I just signed up for. What I did know was that my world would indefinitely change. Studying on the other side of the world, outside of the U.S. and with a language barrier pushes your limits like never before. I fell in love with the city as well as the people around me. My stories from here will last a lifetime.

Ashleigh Hodgson
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Converged Media
Urbino Experience: Having the opportunity to not only travel to Italy, but to study in a city that is so full of history, diversity and culture has been an experience that I will cherish forever. I have grown as a media student, learning from wonderful professors and I have been blessed to meet so many new people. The best part about Urbino has been the friendships that were created. I met an art student that I have so much in common with. She was the subject of my story soI was able to spend hours talking to her and getting to know her. My interpreters have also become good friends not only because of all the help they gave me, but because we are so interested in where each other are from. Meeting the people and getting to know them is one of the best ways to “experience” a new country. I have been sight seeing, spent time with my studies, and have tasted some great food, but above all, my new friends and interactions with the Italian people have been the most memorable part of the past four weeks.

Haley Johnston
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Corporate Communication
Urbino Experience: My summer abroad studying in Urbino was more than just a vacation in Italy. It was a chance to learn a new way of life, communication and tradition. The workload was worth the chance to assimilate into the vibrant culture of Urbino, which is easy to do through the friendships we made with the translators. Learning video production and ways to communicate a story visually was much easier and entertaining in such a beautiful and romantic setting, despite some challenges we had to overcome. Overall, I gained an unexpected affinity for the Italian culture and hope to pursue my studies in all things Italian even further after the program.

Myra Krieger-Coen
University: Iowa State University
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication
Urbino Experience: Traveling abroad is always an incredible experience, but to sum up Urbino as ‘an incredible experience’ doesn’t quite do it justice. Spending a month surrounded by the striking renaissance architecture and rolling green hills that make up the Marche region is one thing – wandering through it all next to some of the most gifted, driven and personable individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting is another. I will bring invaluable memories, journalism experience and friendships back with me, but I am certain a piece of me will always remain in Urbino.

Rachel Lake
University: Iowa State University
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication
Urbino Experience: This experience in Urbino has been my first trip outside of the United States, and the bar could not have been set higher. Throughout the trip, I have been unable to soak in all of the beauty and history around me. It has left me at a loss for words… but I’ll give it a shot. I am grateful for the training that I have received in my field of study, but more than anything, I am grateful for the cultural experience of a lifetime. Here in Urbino, I have seen the city through the eyes of several community members. Whether it’s a 75-year old artist who continues to find inspiration after fifty years of observing the city or a young college student who shares my dreams of travelling the world and journeying beyond the safety of their backyard, every single person I have met on this trip has taught me something new that I will never forget. I have also become close friends with people who would not have been brought into my life without this program. There’s something about being in a beautiful, historical country that can bring any group of people together and build friendships that will last. I am already dreading the moment when I will be forced to leave this beautiful city and these amazing, new friends.

Teddy LaMotta
University: Lynchburg College
Major: Convergent Journalism
Urbino Experience: After coming to Urbino I learned that not all of Europe hates the U.S.A, that people love it. After the first few days of receiving negative glares I realized that they are not all trying to avoid me, but many wish to be friends. As human beings we tend to stick to those we relate with, and in this case, Americans stuck together with Americans. Because of the large number of us, resulting in the lack of friendship with Italians. Once you break into a smaller group, the Italians no longer feel timid and try to be your friends. I came to Urbino to not only experience the culture and learn from the best, but to interact with the culture. Learning from these teachers have been amazing, I go to a small Liberal Arts school that lacks a direct focus in the world of journalism, and the classes we have had have helped me direct my story telling abilities. I will miss this place, but at least I have made so many friends.

Laura Miele
University: Carleton University
Major: Journalism and Video Production
Urbino Experience: I had always planned to return to Italy to see the great sites of Rome and Venice. However, this opportunity to visit the small town of Urbino has enriched me with new insight into Italian culture. Urbino may be small and hard to find on a map, but the piazza at night feels as though it is the centre of the world. The liveliness of the students and families that reside here is just as beautiful as the rolling hills and architecture. Urbino has preserved the renaissance so well that you cannot help but feel revived when walking through the narrow alleys and grazing the antique bricks on either side of you. This has truly been one of the most unique and amazing experiences of my life.

Autumn Morowitz
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Corporate Communication
Urbino Experience: This trip to Urbino has meant stepping out of comfort zones and overcoming difficult obstacles. There are always going to be unexpected bumps in the road and this has been the perfect way for me to practice handling them.

Teddy Nelson
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Converged Media
Urbino Experience: The Urbino program has provided me with skills and experiences that will continuously benefit and impact my future endeavors. It has thrown me into a foreign environment and forced me to dive into the Italian culture in order to discover and produce my story. This uneasy and difficult situation has ultimately allowed me to form strong friendships with numerous Italian students, and has properly prepared me for the obstacles one might face as a photographer, videographer, or journalist in a foreign country. Urbino is the perfect training grounds for an aspiring artist in these fields of study.

Amanda Presley
University: Colorado State University
Major: (To Come)
Urbino Experience: It’s not about trying to experience Urbino; it’s about experiencing it, audaciously. My relationships with classmates, professors and locals defined my trip. Over long meals, sweaty walks, and daily glasses of vino we learned that language is a valuable, yet disposable form of communication. I mastered charades, fell in-and-out of love, and met people I don’t want to live without. The program allowed me to build a strong rapport with my sources and provided a beautiful environment to hone my photography skills. Salute!

William Price
University: Iowa State University
Major: Journalism and Mass Communications
Urbino Experience: This program has taught me to keep my expectations flexible because it is impossible to know what to expect. The Urbino Project has given me valuable experience and it has been a joy working with such highly skilled professionals. It has been fun getting to know Italians and Americans alike, and I feel especially lucky to have shared this experience with such a kind, helpful group of students. The language barrier has been one of many rewarding challenges, and I am grateful to have seized such an excellent opportunity to learn and grow as a person.

Giovanna Rajao
University: Iowa State University
Major: Journalism and Mass Communication
Urbino Experience: In addition to becoming acquainted with the the Italian culture, I have learned how to be a well-rounded journalist. Not only am I now comfortable with shooting video, but also with writing, taking pictures, and communicating with people despite not speaking their language.

Zuogwi Reeves
University: Winston-Salem State University
Major: Mass Communication Electronic Broadcast
Urbino Experience: The experience here will truly be cherished. I am very proud and privileged to meet Wolf Blizter and learn the culture of Italy.

Kelsey Richmond
University: University of Illinois
Major: Broadcast Journalism
Urbino Experience: My time in Urbino has been such a rewarding experience. It is great to be surrounded by truly talented individuals who are willing to share their expertise in order to make me a better journalist. I came here wanting to meet new people and learn more about reporting. Having never traveled out of the states before, I was extremely nervous about coming to Italy. Now I am leaving with my eyes opened to the beauty of a different culture and the beauty of life beyond what I know.

Kathleen Riley
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Digital Video & Cinema
Urbino Experience: To say that the Urbino Project was incredible would be a grave understatement. The opportunity to explore Urbino’s stories was a once in a lifetime experience – as cliche as that may sound. I have learned so much more than I could have hoped, thanks to the encouragement of truly phenomenal professors and new friends. I know the knowledge and abilities I bring back with me to the States will prove invaluable – almost as invaluable as the relationships I leave with. Grazie Urbino, for all the beautiful memories!

Kelly Roden
University: James Madison University
Major: Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication
Urbino Experience: Urbino is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I love everything about the city: the rolling hills I see outside my window, the historic architecture, the great food, and all the people that bring life to the city. As a writing major, working on the Urbino promotional video has taught me many new skills relating to film that will be useful to me in my future career.The Urbino program has also pushed me to step outside my comfort zone both inside and outside of the classroom. I have made many new friends, and would especially like to thank the professors and our interpreters for all their help.

Steven Schmucker
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Converged Media
Urbino Experience: Urbino has been an enlightening trip. I have learned about a culture foreign to my own and was welcomed into it by the wonderful people of Urbino. It has been refreshing to be less dependent on the internet and iPhones, and only needing the technology necessary to the assignments. The experience has made me want to experience the smaller towns of places and stay away from the more touristy areas.

Kelly Sebetka
University: Iowa State University
Major: English and International Studies
Urbino Experience: As a creative nonfiction writer, Kelly has spent her college career explaining to folks how her work differs from journalism. The Urbino Project was her first experience in photography, videography, and journalism. She never expected to discover that the roots of photojournalism and creative writing are the same: find the human element, cast your subject in an interesting light, tell their story from a unique angle. The Urbino Project has strengthened Kelly’s storytelling skills and increased her photography capabilities beyond knowing how to press the shutter button.

Cory Smith
University: Washington and Lee University
Major: Journalism
Urbino Experience: Urbino was everything I expected it to be and more. The town is steeped in rich history and Italian culture, small enough to give you a picturesque outlook on Italy but big enough to where I would never get bored staying here. Whether it’s because of the friendly people, the great food, the wonderful sights and sounds, or simply the experience of being in Italy, i’ll remember my time in Urbino for the rest of my life.

Hannah Spurrier
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design (Journalism) and Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication.
Urbino Experience: Being in Urbino has shown me that I don’t need to have my cell phone out every five seconds. Life is happening right in front of me, at a slower pace, with some of the greatest people I have ever met. Combine that with a ton of pizza, pasta, wine, and the Piazza and I have one of the best months of my life.

Funda TekinFunda Tekin
University: Bahçeşehir University
Major: Journalism
Urbino Experience: Several experiences of study abroad, and working as an interpreter in Istanbul project 2011 lead me here, in Urbino, an outstanding Renaissance city, surrounded by a great nature. This experience has been different in terms of studying hard while trying to enjoy Italy, and being here with no familar faces at all. I came with a lot of worries, such as, thinking that I wouldn’t fit in with the group, having hard times to report in English. However, it hasn’t turned out as I thought, met many great people, welcoming me, both American and Italian. As a journalism student never reported in English before, I had chance to improve my journalism skills, and overcome the difficulties by the attention of our special professors. It was a one-time experience, with a lot of great memories and absorptions, which I will miss!

Stephanie Tormey
University: St. Petersburg College
Major: Photography
Urbino Experience: My experience in Urbino has been about more than just learning about a new language and culture. I have learned more about myself and feel more confident to go out into the world as a photographer and as an artist. I came into this program with no experience in journalism, and it was not easy, but in the end I learned more than I ever thought I would. This quaint little town of Urbino with its cobblestone hills and intriguing history and architecture has given me memories that I will someday tell my children about, and a lifetime of friendships. I will be back one day, just wait!

Megan Vaughan
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Digital Video & Cinema
Urbino Experience: The trip has been an eye opening experience for me. Urbino is such a beautiful place filled with history. Having this opportunity to learn about a new culture has been amazing. It’s an important part of life to understand how other cultures do things.

Casey Wagner
University: James Madison University
Major: Media Arts & Design – Corporate Communication
Urbino Experience: Studying in Urbino for the past month has been incredible. I loved being in a small town, surrounded by Italian culture and language. Urbino is a beautiful place where I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone, and take the time to appreciate the world around me. You will be dearly missed Urbino, but your memories will stay with me forever.

Gregory Zwiers
University: Iowa State University
Major: Journalism
Urbino Experience: The trip to Urbino has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. After coming to Le Marche, I have decided that sharing stories from around the world is what I want to spend my career working on. I have learned so much about the photo and video aspects of journalism from the faculty we have with us and I wish we could stay until I have absorbed every ounce of information they have to share. I began this trip only understanding a small amount of how to write a news article, but now feel that I have a base to tell a fully formed story through the multiple vehicles of journalism. The rolling hills and Renaissance architecture of Le Marche provide the perfect backdrop to tell the stories of the amazing people who live here. I cannot imagine a more welcoming or beautiful city than the birthplace of Raphael to experience and share a part of the Italian culture with the people who will read Urbino Now 2013.