Alexis Manino spent the summer volunteering for six weeks at a soup kitchen and homeless shelter in Rome, Italy. Volunteering at the soup kitchen gave her firsthand experience with the overlooked problem of poverty in developed nations. Through conversations with the people who came to the shelter she learned about the difficulties that they faced when they immigrated to Italy including communication barriers. After attending daily courses she was able to use the language skills that she learned in class to better communicate with the residents of the shelter and the other volunteers. Through her Italian neighbor she learned about and then practiced conservation methods that are an essential part of Italian life including recycling, use of mass transportation, electricity conservation, and buying local produce. She involved herself in conversation practices by visiting a self-sufficient, organic farm. During her free time she immersed herself in the many aspects of the Italian and Roman culture including music, dance, food, religion, and history. She traveled to Florence and experienced a very different Italian lifestyle. After studying abroad she traveled through northern France and experienced a culture very different than the Italian one she was now accustomed too. Through independently planning her trip to France she gained valuable organizational and leadership skills. Through her experiences In Italy she learned about the role of women in Italian society and accomplished helping the less fortunate in a country with the highest poverty rate of the developed world.
CEE Title: Embody the Rhythm
For her CEE, Alexis helped to create Embody the Rhythm, a cultural dance event which highlighted their individual international experiences. In each journey, they experienced passion – for a culture, for a country, for a people. The team shared this passion with an audience of over one hundred people in the O’Hara Ballroom at Pitt Oakland. The audience enjoyed a delicious spread of appetizers catered by Sodexo Food Service followed by twenty-one short cultural performances representing countries as diverse as China, Greece and the Ukraine.