17 thoughts on “Final thoughts”

  1. I am really grateful to have taken part of this study abroad experience. I have learned so much about the mountains which is an area I tend to steer clear of. I think the hikes in the mountains were very exciting and fun. I also enjoyed the guides we had which were really great experts on the region and offered great insight. I didn’t enjoy the old hydro-electric plant that was converted to an arts center as it didn’t connect well to the subjects in my opinion. In the future I think that the trip needs to be a little longer so everything is not so intense in the beginning of the trip. Also there needs to be a bit more free time in the future for working on final video.

  2. All in all this was one of the most eye opening experiences that will stick with me for a very long time. I think the best part of the trip for me was partaking in activities that allowed us to see behind the scenes whether it be cheese making, fish farming, or wine cultivation. I think it’s really important to see the work the goes into specific crafts like these and how they relate to the environment around us. I think the sociological and environmental components of this trip were very well balanced. Although I enjoyed every trip we took I think it would be a good idea to take some trips out and extend the whole course for a few days longer in order to give us more time to relax and work on the course load. I think that we should have one activity or visit a day instead of multiple in a day because it tended to tire me out. After a long day of activities it was a little hard to focus and feel motivated to do course work. The trips I would take out are the barite mine and the old hydro plant turned art warehouse as I don’t believe that they pertained to the course material. I also think it would be a good idea to visit just one hydro power plant because they all operate under a pretty similar system so seeing it once is enough to understand and learn from it. But again I believe that I gained so much knowledge that will stick with me for a very long time and allow me to live my life in a more sustainable way. I can’t wait to tell everyone at home all about it!

  3. To wrap things up, I first have to say that I really enjoyed the trip for the most part and thought it was a very cool experience to visit the cities that we saw and also some of the places that we went and toured. The differences between the towns we stayed at and visited was cool to see, as for me, on one end of the spectrum there was Ponte Arche, a very small town nestled up in the mountains of Trentino, whereas Trento was a much larger city in the valley of the surrounding mountains. Then Torbole, which was almost a happy mix of both, still a little small but lots of things to do and modernized much more with more stuff to do there. To sum up my favorite parts of the trip, to start, I liked all of the hikes, even though some were strenuous after back to back hiking day, and besides that, some of my other favorite experiences on this trip would have to be Castel Campo, seeing the Darzo Mines, Malga Tovre, Sartori Ambiente, the last hike up to Monte Baldo, and lastly spending time in Torbole, which has really been an awesome place to visit and stay. The sustainability aspects of the trip were also interesting to learn about, in particular learning about how Castel Campo farms sustainably and organically was very interesting to learn about, and also seeing the different lifestyles of the farmers at Malga Tovre was cool as well to see how their values and beliefs differ from that of what maybe a normal person thinks. There were also some aspects of the trip which I think we could have done without, such as the learning about the historical aspects of Centrale Fies project or how the Progetto Manifattura plant had been converted from a cigarette factory to what it is now. While it is interesting to know, I didn’t think it had much to do with sustainability or environmental science, unless the repurposing of the building is considered sustainable, but even then we visited multiple places that were repurposed so some of it just seemed redundant. All in all, the experience was really fun, and I definitely will remember all the good times had and the all the you guys that experienced this with me. Juri, Manola, and Anna will not be forgotten either, and I thought that they were all excellent guides and hosts for us on this trip, and I’m thankful that we had them along on our journey.

  4. Learning about different sustainability efforts in different Regions has been such an amazing experience. I really enjoyed hiking through the Dolomite mountains and meeting individuals who are working hard to create change to better the environment. This trip wouldn’t have been the same without Juri and Manola, I think they were a big part of excursions and I really appreciated their knowledge and help. I didn’t enjoy visiting the old WW2 historic sites (the second one)- especially since we just walked around the cement bunker. I loved seeing Castel Campo, especially since it’s a perfect example of how much work someone can put into being sustainable, yet how little of an impact they may make. I think that in itself, was a really important message that I took away and it reinforced the concept that we’re all in this change together.

  5. As a whole, this trip has been pretty great! Before this class, I had never even heard of Trentino and would have never visited a place like it. I have always had a love of the mountains and to have been surrounded by them and have to opportunity to explore them and the culture surrounding them has been both a privilege and a treat. All of the visits and adventures that we went on together were fantastic but the one that I think will stick with me the most is the hike in the Dolomites and, if anything, I wish that I had more time here and was able to explore them more on my own. They were like nothing I had ever seen and I’m still awestruck by the sheer beauty of them as I reflect on it now. As far as the course itself goes, I felt that it had more of an environmental studies feel than an environmental science class. This isn’t a bad thing but overall, the class had more business aspects embedded in the curriculum than I originally thought it would have. With all of this being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am grateful for all of the things I was able to experience in such a short amount of time, it was really a time in my life that opened my eyes to the way the rest of the world works and how it differs from that of my own perspective.

  6. I applied for this course because I’ve always wanted to go abroad, especially to Europe. This course has exceeded my expectations in so many ways! The scenery was gorgeous, as expected, and I loved trying the different traditional foods of the region. My favorite part, in general, was experiencing the Italian culture, in a moderately “touristy” way, as well as seeing “behind the scenes,” where no one else gets to see, such as the WWII bunker. I also loved all the beautiful views we saw during our hikes.

    Having almost no experience with the concept of sustainability, I have learned a lot during these past two and a half weeks, including that “sustainability”, can be applied to everything, even physical therapy. Juri, Manola, Anna, and everyone else we met were amazing and helped us learn all about the history of Trentino (I don’t think any of us will be able to forget that Trentino was once part of Austria) as well as the flora and fauna here.

    For me, this trip was about what I expected in terms of how many activities we did in a day, although with the addition of coursework, it was a little challenging learning how to manage my time. Even though I came alone having just finished my first year, I still really enjoyed my trip, and I want to thank everyone who made this trip so great!

  7. This trip was such an amazing experience for me personally, because Italy has always been number one on my list of places to see, and seeing it through the eyes of such amazing people like Juri and Manola, in a region I probably would never have gone to on my own, was incredible. Everyone we met was so nice and accommodating, and truly seemed like they wanted to share these pieces of their lives with us.
    As far as what I would change about the trip, I think that I agree with others that the old hydro plant was not as exciting or memorable in comparison to the others. I also think that (with mostly everyone knowing someone else who came) we should have been able to pick our own groups, but I also understand that was an effort to get us to branch out and it was helpful in that way. I don’t think the amount of activities each day was too crazy, but I do agree that it felt like a lot at times; however, I’m really thankful we were able to squeeze in so much. Learning about these varying sustainability efforts, as well as seeing how they coincide in so many different areas, was eye-opening and life changing.

  8. I am so grateful for the experience I had on this trip. The hikes were amazing and I’m very thankful I brought the right kind of shoes for all the walking we did. I think using public transportation wasn’t that great, although I do understand it is environmentally better than using a private coach to go everywhere. Our guides were amazing and so helpful and kind throughout the whole trip. I think the days where we had full days from 7am-7pm were a little much to handle and really tired us out, so maybe spreading the activities out longer or even extending the trip so there is enough time to do the same amount would be efficient.

  9. I fully enjoyed this study abroad trip. This is so because I got to learn about sustainability abroad, and also the connections people have to the land which they have inhabited for centuries. I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit areas that most tourists do not get the chance to see. Now I have a very unique view of the Italian alps. Overall, I had a great time and I am very glad about the decision I made to come on the excursion.

  10. I really enjoyed this study abroad, and it was totally different from my expectations. It gave a unique experience with our ability to meet with the locals and have an in-depth discussion. I realize now how little I knew about true sustainability, more than just recycling the ability to not produce waste period. Learning about the steps people were taking, specifically Marina, to get back to our natural was inspiring. In addition, this was not a place I would necessarily plan on visiting, so I was blindsided by all of the amazing areas we were able to see. Our guides were amazing and incredibly easy to talk to and eager to teach us about Italian culture. Professor Fissore was an amazing guide through the country, she made the trip go from good to great, both with her passion for environmentalism, and her desire to introduce us to the authentic culture. Overall this trip was fantastic, and I would do it all over in a heartbeat.

  11. In conclusion of this trip, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of traveling abroad. Even though it was tiring at times, I am really glad I went because this trip will be unforgettable. If I were to change the trip, I would make the hiking days unconsecutive, but I would not change the hikes themselves, because they were amazing. I would also make less academic coursework WiFi dependent, because I was unable to connect to the WiFi some nights, and I was forced to use my cellular data. I would also make due dates, project info, and itineraries much more specific and available to students much more ahead of time, so they could plan ahead. Overall, I enjoyed this experience, and I definitely hope that one day I will return to northern Italy!

  12. This trip has been an incredible experience. The tour guides that we had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with really helped me put this course into context. When someone from the area is able to articulate the importance of something, it makes for better comprehension and a lot more respect. The Dolomite hike was my all-time favorite. I also loved visiting Castle Campo, the hydroelectric power plants, and the science museum in Trento. I think what made these places so special was again, the people who guided us and the different types of relationship that each had with the environment. As much as I want to keep Trentino a secret, other cities and countries need to look at this landscape as an example. I think that this trip has also brought a lot of us inspiration. Such a small region is setting such a good example for the rest of Europe and even the world. I didn’t know what to expect on my first study abroad class, but I can now set the standard. I have learned so much about sustainability, farming, ecology and business. Although we were having fun, this trip truly was a college course. Thank you, Professor Fissore for leading such a great class abroad.

  13. This entire trip has been a complete learning experience for me in so many aspects. I was able to see Italy in a whole new light that is different than I had ever experienced it before. Who would have thought that Italy’s country side was so spectacular? I know for a fact that I will be coming back to visit the beautiful Lake Garda for some amazing hikes and relaxing beaches. Throughout the course I was able to learn about what the alpine region has to offer in regards to resources. Seeing how the water is utilized as a source of energy through hydroelectric power was so interesting to me – especially being the they have been utilizing it since before World War 1. I know that moving forward, northern Italy will prosper and show the world what they can do with the resources that have been given to them by the land. Thank you for this incredible experience to learned about the environment and the history of it. I’m leaving this trip with a wealth of new knowledge that I would have never know if I didn’t take this course.

  14. This class really showed me a side of Italy that I was unaware of. I learned a lot more than I expected and enjoyed it more than any normal class I’ve had. Between the hikes and daily adventures I never really got bored. I made new friends and had some amazing experiences and I would definitely do it again.

  15. This trip, overall, has been a very eye opening experience. I learned a lot about things that I didn’t even know I cared about. For me my favorite part about the trip was all the hiking we did. I truly enjoyed being outdoors in Europe because it is very different, obviously, from the hikes at home. Everything was extremely breathtaking and I am very happy I went on this trip and the way that it was set up was good and I understand that there will be cancellations due to rain and issues like that so with understanding that I think it was a successful study abroad trip!

  16. Having never traveled out of the country before, I was very excited for this trip. It was actually very different than I expected. I learned a lot that I didn’t know before and I feel so much more educated in the field of environmental science. Some of my favorite places we went to were Castel Campo, MuSe, and FEM. Having said that, I did feel a little exhausted and overwhelmed from all the hiking and walking. When I come back to Italy in the future, I would like to see the more urban/ tourist areas of Italy. The trips that we took were very suitable for the course and I know that when I come back I will visit some of them along with others that we did not see.

  17. This trip was AMAZING and I know this is going to sound so cheesy but it was truly life-changing. I feel so blessed that I was able to grow so much, learn about myself, my boundaries and passions while also learning about and exploring sustainable practices in Northern Italy.

    We didn’t write a blog post about this discussion but I do want to mention our talk with the Hotel Owner in Ponte Arche because a lot of what she said to us stuck with me. The purpose of her talk with us was to tell us why she is passionate about the career she is in. She started by reminding us that “everyone has a gift and talent and it’s important for us to help other people with your own gift without expecting to get something back. If you give, you receive.” I am entering my last year at Whittier and will be applying to law school in the Fall. I am excited but nervous about this next chapter and seeing her passion and reminding us that we all have a path meant for us was exactly what I needed to hear right now.
    Tanja worked very hard to get to the US and work there with her son. In the midst of telling us the story of her journey, she reminded us that “if you have a goal, you do everything! There is nothing that stops you.” This will stick with me because I need to work on goal setting and this trip was a reminder of that. When I was younger, my Father would always tell me there is no need to stress about anything, God will work it all out and stress can add nothing but negativity to your life. Tanja pretty much said the same thing. She said that in her opinion “it’s bad to keep everything inside, it creates stress! – keep yourself and your body free of bad feelings! – our subconscious is real and stress builds in your body and will show in your skin or cause other health issues.” There are a few people on this trip that I had a few negative experiences with, and as soon as Tanja said this, I decided to let go of the negative emotions I had harbored towards those individuals. This was really important for me to do and set up the rest of the trip to be much more positive through my lenses. I’ll never forget meeting Tanja or these nuggets she left us with.

    Sustainability-wise, I have so many great notes, pamphlets, and links to websites about green energy and information about the wonderful sites we visited. I am looking forward to talking to my friends about little lifestyle changes we can make to help make the world a more equitable place.

    I think that this trip was the perfect combination of business tours, hikes and free time. On days where we went on draining hikes, it was nice to be able to come back, eat dinner and shop a bit before passing out. This trip was structured perfectly and I’m so glad I took part in it.
    Thank you Dr. Fissore, Juri, and Manola for putting so much time into creating the seamless schedule for us and also making sure we always felt comfortable and at ease about being in a place so unfamiliar to us. I know we weren’t the easiest group but you took care of us like we were your children and you didn’t have to. Thank you!

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