Page 35 - foxtalk issue 2

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Winter 2011
students, including dozens from Marist College.
While in Spain, Aurigemma was able to experience f irst-
hand the radical differences in attitudes between the native
culture and what he had grown accustomed to here at Marist.
Part of this experience involved taking several classes
to f ill up a 15-credit requirement, with the courses them-
selves being quite different than anything experienced in
“All of the courses were taught in Spanish, and it took
some getting used to,” said Aurigemma. “It took me probably
about two weeks before I really got accustomed to hearing
everything in a different language.”
The courses he took included subjects in Spanish litera-
ture, cinema, and history of his host country.
All the while, Aurigemma was able to experience Spanish
culture in a way that few Americans are able to.
Part of Marist’s philosophy for the program in Madrid
is allowing students to live not in a dormitory, but to share
space with a native family, taking meals with them and shar-
ing experiences with their adopted households.
“At f irst I was a little nervous about living with a complete
group of strangers,” said Aurigemma. “The language barrier
was a tricky at f irst, but I grew to accept them as family.”
He shared the living arrangements with another Marist
student, who elected to remain abroad for the duration of
the year.
“She still talks to me all the time, and wants me to come
back and visit,” remarked Aurigemma. “I def initely want to
London, including day trips to Bath and Stonehenge. Her photographic skills have been put to use as she toured popular
at deal, spending time soaking up the local cultures and food.
These weekend excursions allowed him to obtain a snapshot
of Madrid.
photos provided by Jacki
e Brophy and Mike Aurigemma
go back and experience it all over again.”
He describes the experience itself as enthralling, and high-
lights the differences between the typical American attitude
and the Spanish perspective.
Sometimes f inding himself lost in the sprawling city of
Madrid, he was always able to ask for directions, usually
striking up a conversation with the native speakers. Often,
these people would not only direct him to his destination, but
accompany him along the way.
“It surprised me to see just how willing to help everyone
was, even though it was sometimes diff icult to communicate
as effectively as I wanted to,” said Aurigemma.
Taking advantage of the central location of Madrid,
Aurigemma certainly did experience a great deal of Europe,
traveling to destinations such as Munich, Paris and London.
Aurigemma extols the benef its of Skype and the impor-
tance of maintaining open lines of communication with those
who remained in America.
“I Skyped a lot with everyone back home, and seeing every-
one was a great way to remember what I had waiting for me
when I got back,” said Aurigemma.
His Spanish family and newly found friends formed a
closely-knit support network that helped him through the
trials and tribulations of living in a foreign land.
“When I was having a bad day, it helped just to remind
myself that I was abroad, experiencing Europe in a way that
few people are able to throughout their entire lives,” said