Kate Walchester and Filippo Menozzi visited Italy last month to promote and develop LJMU English’s exciting new links with the University of Naples ‘L’ Orientale’. They asked the five undergraduate students who accompanied them, Alexa Spanghero, Charlotte Westwood, Ruth Childerhouse, Emma Oudheusen and Gabi Cummings, to write a brief report on their experiences. Here’s what they came up with:
‘In times when the fate of international mobility is uncertain, what better way to restore students’ faith in multicultural collaboration than to send five of them on a mission to Naples, Italy (and why not enjoy a bit of sunshine too while we are there)?’
This is the thought that I imagine went through the heads of Kate Walchester and Filippo Menozzi when they were organising our recent trip to the city. Brilliant idea that it is, it does not stand alone. It is in fact part of the International English Project that, since March 2018, has kept six interns busy using film and photography to communicate ideas about diversity, tradition, and internationalization.
When the time finally came in May, Naples struck us with its overwhelming beauty and the heart-warming kindness of its people. Of course, food, captivating glimpses of side streets and astonishing views of the gulf delighted us throughout our stay, but one of the greatest treasures of the city truly is its people. Intern Ruth Childerhouse noted that ‘having contacts in universities abroad is really great and helped us see Naples from a different perspective’. We visited different buildings of the University L’ Orientale and met both professors and students, who allowed us glimpses into what studying abroad could look like. As another intern, Charlotte Westwood, observed, Naples has so much to offer that ‘as a student you could never get bored here!’
Special thanks go to Marina, Alessia and Ersilio, three students who offered to show us around the city during our stay. Marina spoke of her enthusiasm for the university and at the prospect of potential LJMU students attending. Alessia and Ersilio attended a semester at LJMU in 2017, and they are just as excited as Marina at the prospect of sharing their experience of Erasmus students and their knowledge of what Naples has to offer.
Finally, more than anything else, this trip to Naples had us hoping for a future in which international agreements between universities still stand and offer their students the most important aspect of a university level education: cultural enrichment.