Student teaching in Florence? That’s amore.
“My life will never be the same,” said Alyssa Bosco, summing up her six-week internship student teaching at a school in Scandicci, Italy, four miles outside of Florence. “I have made it past the language barrier, and I have learned to make a difference in the lives of severely disabled children who speak no English.”
Bosco, 23, graduated from SJC Long Island in May with a master’s degree in special education and literacy, two years after earning her bachelor’s in child study and speech communications.
The Lake Grove native’s devotion to her studies made it difficult to find a global studies program that fit into her busy routine.
“I’d searched and searched for an abroad program to Italy for years with Linda Lubranski, before actually making it to Florence,” Bosco said, referring to the help provided by SJC’s director of global studies. “I sat with her once a week from September to April before finding a program that actually fit the requirements — I could not have done this without her.”
As luck would have it, a month before her master’s graduation ceremony, Bosco learned about an opportunity through the Florence University of Arts (FUA).
I have seen things through a whole different perspective.”
“(After graduation) the only thing left was student teaching,” Bosco said. “I went to the global studies fair in April and met FUA, a school we had recently partnered up with. FUA found a school in a neighboring city from Florence that met all the components I needed.”
Travelling overseas for the first time, Bosco was introduced to the typical Italian educator’s lifestyle. Teaching Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and putting her recently acquired special education and literacy master’s to good use, she adapted quickly.
“I took public transportation to the school in Scandicci,” she said. “The children ranged from ages 4 to 12, both special education and general education. The population mostly consisted of students with autism, but they have enrichment skill practice as well.”
The experience gave Bosco a new perspective and an appreciation of European travel. A working knowledge of Italian made it easier for her to transition, along with a complete immersion into the culture, which included living with an Italian host family.
“I taught in Italian on my own with minimal supervision from the director,” Bosco said. “I knew a bit of the language after taking it in school. I was forced to immerse myself in the language.
“My expectations were truthfully just to absorb as much as I could, and learn about education in another country,” Bosco continued. “This was a big step for me, as I have never been away from home before. My parents are very strict, and leaving was not easy for me to do.”