Summer Viscusi

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Oakland

Heinz Programming Area:
Summer is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Psychology and Spanish on the pre-med track. Her goal is to one day become a practicing psychiatrist, potentially with schizophrenic or bipolar patients. She currently works at Western Psychiatric Hospital as a Student Behavioral Associate catering to patients of all ages at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She also works in UPMC's Endocrinology research lab studying the effects of different diets on mice digestive tissue. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports (she is a member of Pitt's Club Quidditch Team!), reading, and watching films. Studying Spanish is something Summer is very passionate about, and she looks forward to being able to participate fully in the language and culture during her time abroad. For her community engagement experience, she hopes to educate local teachers on how to better serve ESL students.  
International Experience Summary:

Summer Viscusi spent a month virtually studying Spanish Language and Culture at the Franklin Institute of the University of Alcala de Henares. This program was organized through the University of Pittsburgh, which allowed Summer to participate in selective courses that would coincide with her Spanish major. . Two courses which she partook in were – Modern Spanish History Through Film and The Adventures of Don Quixote. She particularly enjoyed these courses because they gave her a clear perspective into the historical contributions that impacted Spain through an artistic lens. . In Modern Spanish History Through Film, she watched a total of 11 movies, set in 1930s Spain through late 1980s Spain. These films allowed for an enjoyable learning experience as they were both entertaining and informative to learn from. For her final project, she was allowed to choose any Spanish film and give a presentation about it. She enjoyed being given the opportunity to explore her interests and discuss with her professor, who was extremely well-versed in film. In The Adventures of Don Quixote, she read a shorter version of the famous novel with her class. In the lecture, the life of the author Miguel de Cervantes was explained, giving context to the content of the novel. Being extremely important to the history of literature of Spain, this book is one of the most translated in world history and is important for anyone learning about Spanish culture to study. She enjoyed the opportunity to explore from home, artistically, at her own pace, immensely.

Some aspects of the class that Summer particularly enjoyed were the opportunity to strengthen her verbal and comprehensive Spanish speaking and reading skills through reading a shortened version of the famous Spanish novel The Adventures of Don Quixote. Through the lectures, she was also able to further learn about the life of author Miguel de Cervantes, which provided context for the novel. Since the novel is considered an important part of Spanish literary history, Summer learned the importance of the novel for those learning about Spanish culture and history. Her final project in the course allowed her to choose any Spanish film and present her findings. She enjoyed the opportunity to be creative and explore her interest within the realm of Spanish films. Although she had a virtual experience of the courses, she immensely enjoyed the ability to artistically explore from home at her own pace.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Cross-Cultural Cooking Class  

What do Iceland, China, and Spain have in common… it may not seem obvious, but the answer is a rich culinary culture! Our CEE combined multiple cultures and experiences and wrapped them up in an experience everyone loves – eating delicious food. The University of Pittsburgh Main Campus cohort put together a Zoom cooking class available to anyone who wanted to learn. In addition to a live video tutorial, we put together a cookbook. Each of us submitted two recipes that we thought represented the cultures of our chosen countries well. Since each of us chose to study in a different location, the cookbook was truly diverse. There were recipes from Asia and various parts of Europe. There was even a geothermal bread recipe from Iceland! Food is a universal way of sharing love, and our cohort was excited to share in the love of food amongst ourselves and with anyone who desired to learn. College students learning to cook were especially encouraged to attend. Our attendants thought the recipes were fantastic and planned to use them again. Additionally, they loved that rather than cooking for them and feeding them, we provided them with the ability to share the same food they made themselves with all of their friends!