Juliet Casinelli

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Juliet traveled to Cuba this past summer to study the country's intriguing language and culture. By taking classes Monday through Friday, she had the opportunity to advance in her Spanish and build lifelong friendships with the Cuban students. Juliet gained exposure to the conditions of a communist country as well as the challenges Cubans face under a different government system. She gained the most perspective by living with a family for the duration of her time in Cuba and immersing herself fully by asking them to help her with school work, teaching her how to use local transportation and cooking meals together. In the evenings and on the weekends, she spent time traveling the country and exploring everywhere from the city to the countryside of Cuba. While traveling around the country, she saw how locals lived differently, as well as where Ernest Hemingway lived and his contributions to Cuba and a monument dedicated to The Beatles explaining Cuba's love for them. Whether she was riding in an antique car from the 1950's or trying to understand the two forms of money, Juliet was learning to live in a completely different way. While in Cuba, Juliet was particularly fascinated by researching and understanding the relationship between the United States and Cuba. She did this by visiting the United States Embassy and conversing with the foreign state officer, interviewing locals and her host family, writing papers for school and visiting the Revolution Museum. She also had the opportunity to hear lectures and speak with numerous people including an architect who gave her perspective into the Spanish influenced houses and buildings, an author who researched and wrote about the influence of the mafia in Cuba, and lastly Lester Campa, a famous artist from Cuba. Since her time back she has become interested in seeing how she can encourage others to become educated about diversity and its beauty.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: What do You do? 

My team's CEE project was one of the most rewarding and helpful tools I experienced through the Vira I Heinz Program. The CEE gave me the opportunity to reflect on a life changing experience and share with others the lessons they can obtain from study abroad and travel. The focus of our CEE was on the different ideas myself and two additional peers experienced with sustainability while abroad. The outlooks we brought back on the topic of sustainability were all very different but gave us the chance to see the positive and negatives of different ideas and systems countries have developed. We did not want to lecture our crowd or throw a lot of information at them, so our initial thought was, "how can we effectively and creatively communicate all of this wonderful information?". That is how we decided to do three different skits each representing our country. It was a fun and special way to inform our audience about sustainability and how their actions affect our world. Through the skits, we had the opportunity to wear clothes we each brought back from our country and talk about the culture as a whole, not just sustainability. After the skits, we did an interactive activity to encourage the audience to think about their carbon footprint. Lastly, we had a faculty member from the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham go a little further in depth about sustainability and what we can all do to a make a difference. She also took suggestions about ways to improve Chatham's campus in terms of sustainability.