“It was the trip of a lifetime.”
“Italy was breathtaking.”
“The Italian people are so warm and generous. They not only opened their homes to us, they opened their hearts.”
During summer 2012, 14 COTC students took the trip of a lifetime when they travelled to Italy as part of the college’s third consecutive cultural exchange program. The group departed on July 28 for Regello, Italy, a town in the renowned region of Tuscany, 15 miles southeast of Florence. From a home base in Regello, the group travelled throughout western Italy to directly experience Italian life, language, and culture. The diverse student group, comprised of 10 women and four men, ranged in age from 20 to late 40s.
In addition to visiting iconic Italian treasures including the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and viewing works of Michelangelo, the group experienced the very heart of Italian culture by living with specially selected host families in Regello.
The trip was truly life changing, said electrical engineering student Trace Johnson.
“What really made the biggest impact was the time I was able to spend with my host family and other members of the Regello community,” said the Newark native. “I learned so much from their way of life, especially from how they treated each other. I was able to truly immerse myself in ways that an ordinary tourist could not and for this I am forever thankful for the extreme generosity of the Reese family and the opportunity presented by COTC.”
COTC’s cultural exchange program began in July 2010, when the first group comprised of 10 COTC students experienced the depth and beauty of Italian culture first hand during a 10-day trip similarly based with Regello host families. During summer 2011, the bookend trip for that inaugural experience occurred with Italian students living with Newark-area host families.
The cultural exchange program has been continuously sponsored through the generosity of Granville philanthropists J. Gilbert and Louella H. Reese, who once again graciously covered all program fees, including flight, in-country travel, meals, and all excursions and field trips.
“For three years, the Reeses have supported this incredible program, and we cannot thank them enough for their generosity.” said John Berry, Ph.D., COTC vice president for enrollment management and student life. “The Reeses have afforded our students a phenomenal opportunity; one that has changed lives forever.”