University of Pittsburgh | OaklandBio:
Selena Permyashkin had the opportunity to spend four weeks in Florence, Italy through CEA made possible by the generosity of the Heinz Endowment. She studied Italian at a local school in partnership with the University of New Haven. Her focus was to become as proficient as possible in her short time there. Outside of class, her days were filled with exploring Florence and surrounding areas with friends she made through the program. By learning the native language, Selena was able to immerse herself into the culture by speaking to the locals and forming friendships with the workers at the cafes and restaurants she frequented. Along with her friends, Selena planned out trips across Italy and was able to visit eleven cities in just four weekends. One of the highlights of her experience abroad was becoming friends with locals her age who helped her practice her Italian, and also became their local tour guides and showed them the hidden gems of Florence. Another fond memory was discovering her favorite art gallery, Palazzo Pitti. As a painter herself, she enjoyed looking at the paintings and sculptures and spent hours there walking through the rooms lined from floor to ceiling with historical pieces of art. Selena is confident that her study abroad experience could not have gone any better. It was truly the experience of a lifetime. Selena is excited to incorporate her experiences abroad into the remainder of her university career and beyond.
CEE Title: “Gender: A Discussion on Identity and Equality
Our CEE was held in partnership with Student Support Services (SSS) at the University of Pittsburgh which is an organization that caters to a variety of student needs and support. On their website, it emphasizes that they help first-generation and low-income students make the most of their time at Pitt. The SSS offers advising, skill-building workshops, leadership training, and academic tutoring. We felt that this would be a great match in what we were focusing on and the population of students that could benefit greatly from our event! The members of the group: Brenna, Natalie, and myself drew inspiration from our global experiences as women to create a local event that educated Pitt students on the differences in the conversation regarding gender and identity on a global level. Each of us had a global experience as women that influenced our thinking and appreciation of the United States' approach and conversation surrounding gender and equality. We found that although we went to completely different countries, we all had the experience of being a woman in a foreign country as a tourist. In our group, we went to Greece, Jordan, and Italy, we found that we all had very different experiences as women in those countries. We were able to share our experiences abroad in light of how it differed from our experiences in the States. We pulled from our experiences and used them to create statements for a ‘privilege walk’. This gave the opportunity for attendees to reflect on their lives and recognize how gender equality and identity has influenced them from their different walks of life. Our event also presented the opportunity to recognize the social and cultural processes that shape our identities, values, and perceptions. We followed the privilege walk with a group discussion where we shared how we can use our experiences to benefit us as educated students and future professionals.