SBCC students to study human behavior and psychology in Italy


Courtesy art of the Colosseum from Emily Crowder.

CLARA A. UTTENTHAL, Channels Staff

It is springtime in Italy and flowers are starting to burst out all over the city of Rome. The warmth allows for a lunch ‘alfresco’. City College students stroll down the Roman Forum to admire the ancient ruins. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

The Study Abroad program will bring City College students to Italy this upcoming spring to study English and social psychology.

“Spring is the most beautiful time of the year in Italy,” said psychology instructor Laurel Johnston, “and because we’re staying there so long, we get to go against the flow of tourists and get a more intimate view of the culture.”

English Professor Chris Johnston and Laurel Johnston will travel with the students on the one-month trip where they will become acquainted with Italian culture, history, and modern society.

The students can expect walking tours in Rome, a side trip to the Amalfi Coast, the Easter Carnival celebration and a three-day trip to either Florence or Venice.

Laurel and Chris are looking forward to introducing the students to the delicious cuisine. Italian cuisine, which focuses on quality over quantity, has influenced food all over the world. The teachers said they appreciate the food, but also the culture.

Laurel said she can’t think of a better place to teach and study social interaction.

“It is such a fascinating society, with lots of diversity and cultural traditions. We will get to see how people work in Rome,” she said.

The couple will teach the students classes four days a week, and explore the capital and other cities together.

Courtesy art of all the study abroad participants for spring 2017 semester in Rome, Italy and Paris from program director Michael Stinson.
Courtesy art of all the study abroad participants for spring 2017 semester in Rome, Italy and Paris from program director Michael Stinson.

“I’m interested in the history of Rome, both the ancient and the modern layers,” said Chris. “The students will learn from these layers, and the places come alive when we’re there writing and reading about them.”

Rome is home to more than two thousands years of art and architecture, ancient landmarks and well-kept ruins. The Vatican city is an enclave in Rome and the smallest state in the world by both population and area. It is ruled by the pope of the Catholic Church.  

In social psychology, the students will use the setting of Rome to study human behavior by exploring Italy’s cultural traditions. Through creative nonfiction writing, the students will write about real-life people and places encountered.

“It is a different approach to school. We’re going to be a group of scholars build in the community vibe and we’re going to press and learn from each other,” said Laurel.

The requirements to go on the trip are 12 successfully completed college-level credits, including ENG110. Students must be at least 18 years old, and have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA.  The application deadline is Oct. 20, 2017.

Students can get financial aid through scholarships, e.g. The Benjamin A. Gilman and SBCC Study Abroad Scholarships.

“I think it’s going to be mindblowing for me and the students because travelling is so rich on simulations,” said Laurel.