Sacha Downes

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Temple University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
Sacha is currently studying Political Science & Government at Temple University. As an undergraduate, Sacha has completed several research internships at both the state and local level, and is currently serving a 4-year term as a non-attorney Notary Public. Sacha’s experiences in legislative positions has provided her with the confidence to pursue international studies. Her research interests are primarily related to the application of international relations theory to the globalization of healthcare policy. Upon completion of her degree, Sacha plans to field a research study which focuses on the development of preventive healthcare systems in the United States.
International Experience Summary:


Sacha Downes spent six weeks in Rome, Italy where she studied Art History and worked as a volunteer for Hummustown, a catering company specializing in Syrian cuisine. Throughout her studies, Sacha visited some of the most remarkable locations of art development in Rome. She was given the opportunity to visit The Ara Pacis, The Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, Michelangelo’s David, and most notably, the Sistine Chapel. Sacha’s exploration of these various art forms supported her cultural immersion and understanding of Italian culture. In between classes, Sacha spent most of her time in local restaurants and "gelateria's," where she interacted with native Italian's and became familiar with the social etiquette of the Eternal City.

When she wasn't eating gelato or enjoying Italy's finest wine, Sacha volunteered at several catering events hosted by Shaza Saker, an employee from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. At these events, Sacha was able to employ her fundamental Italian language skills as well as provide organizational assistance to the Hummustown staff. This experience was extremely beneficial and humbling for Sacha, as she was able to have authentic interactions with Italians while experiencing their rich and unique culture.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Global Sustainable Systems 

Global sustainable systems refer to the multifaceted nature of interpretations of sustainability around the world. Italy presents a tangible and more engaging relationship to sustainability which can be seen in many of their business practices as well as everyday life. These values translate into physical communities by virtue of everyday practices such as recycling and providing a sustainability curriculum within their school systems. The U.S. on the other hand provides for sustainability concerns primarily in the view of environmentalism. That is not to say that perceptions of sustainability do not exist outside of the view of environmentalism, but more that these perceptions are less likely to be exemplified in a broader social context. Because of this, we designed our CEE to be a bridge for the two cultural understandings to come together. We designed a cooking class, hosted by local restaurant owners, from Italy, who were willing and kind enough to share their recipes and cultural connections with the local Temple community. The class provided participants with an authentic view of Italian cuisine as well as insight into the sustainable nature of Italian agriculture.