Fifteen Days You Will Never Forget

Fifteen Days You Will Never Forget

By David Tschirch, Contributing Writer

Kristen Manzo, David Tschirch and Don Hutchins enjoy a trip through the Venice lagoon. (Photo Courtesy of Luann Yetter)

Kristen Manzo, David Tschirch and Don Hutchins enjoy a trip through the Venice lagoon. (Photo Courtesy of Luann Yetter)

Many people who hear the words “May Term to Italy” may quickly imagine themselves meandering through museums, eating stupendous amounts of pizza and pasta, and drinking wine with friends. While I did find myself doing many of these things when participating in the UMF travel course to Italy this past May, I know now that there is much more to gain during an experience abroad. 

Prior to traveling to Italy, I thought I had wined and dined, but I can now say with certainty that I was very wrong. In Italy, eating dinner is a way of life, a religion, and more importantly an experience. Your waiter or waitress will seat you. They do not pester you with questions; they let you take your time: they come over to your table when you nod to them. Even ordering a bottle of wine is an experience in itself. It comes to your table. The waiter pours one person just a taste of wine. He waits for you to take a sip just because he wants to be certain you are thoroughly enjoying it.

Italians look at food as a passion; they handle it with care and respect. I ate the best piece of chicken I have ever sunk my teeth into at a restaurant called Palantino in Florence. A few of my friends can attest that I nearly cried and laughed with joy after taking one bite. I never would have thought that something as simple as a piece of chicken could taste that amazing. You take your time with a meal which usually takes place much later in the evening. To my surprise the meals were reasonably priced: 12.50 euros for the roasted chicken and potatoes. Also, get the house wine. Usually a bottle is no more than 12 euros.

But enough about food.

What truly captured my attention throughout my stay was the famous artwork found within the country. The most notable fact that made Italy’s art so impressive to me (and I’m sure fellow Americans as well) is how old much of the artwork is. Some of the artwork is over five thousand years old, and it’s beauty is undeniable. On this trip, you will have opportunities to see the seventeen foot tall statue of David, the Duomo, the interior of the Duomo, (which has a mural of Dante’s depiction of hell),and many ancient churches such as San Marco in Venice as well. These churches have some of the most pristine art work you will ever see, and many of them have beautiful murals on the ceilings with interpretations of biblical stories. You will see the Coliseum, the Vatican with the museum and all the diverse art it has to offer, the Sistine Chapel, and so much more.

Though I know I’m convincing you to jump on board for the next Italy trip, you may still be asking yourself how a study abroad trip to Italy will benefit yout education. Well, have you ever heard the term Renaissance Man? A Renaissance Man by definition is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. These people are well rounded individuals, and I am certain that there is only so much you can learn if you never get out of your comfort zone.

I have spent three full years at UMF. Some of that time has been the greatest of my life, but those fifteen days in Italy are days I will never forget. And I believe that many students on that trip would agree.

UMF student Donald Hutchins was one of my fellow travelers and also feels that May Term was special. “There is only so much that can be effectively taught in a classroom or by institutional guidelines,” he said. “Getting into the world and engaging places and events you’ve read about or researched not only provides a basis for increased academic knowledge, but also the practical wisdom and intelligence necessary for experiencing the best that life has to offer. Studying abroad fills the gaps where traditional and liberal arts academia falls short, and puts the student at the wheel of their experience in the face of unprecedented potential opportunities – for study and leisure.”    

If you take only one point from this article, it should be is this: get out of your comfort zone and apply something you have learned in a classroom to real life. I can assure you that traveling to Italy will leave you more confident than ever; you will know what good food tastes like; you will meet some of the happiest people in the world, like a woman you buy a cappuccino from every morning who remembers your face, or the owners of the hotel who greet you every day with a wholesome smile.  You will see some of the most impressive art the world has to offer. You may even say “Grazie” instead of thank you when you come back home. And maybe, just maybe, you will become a Renaissance Man.

Seth Noonkester: The New General Manager Of Titcomb

By Sarita Crandall, Contributing Writer

“I am extremely excited for my new position,” Noonkester said. “I feel really motivated to make Titcomb successful and hold true to it’s values.”  Noonkester graduated from UMF in May 2015 and has been giving back to the community through his work with the town’s recreation department for the last two years. With his experiences and fresh ideas, Noonkester is ready to take on whatever comes his way in his new position.

Noonkester attributes a lot of his success to the ORBA program and how it’s run. The program has the components of a business major but with some recreation activities mixed in such as white water rafting classes. “You get an idea of how business works in common recreation activities that people enjoy,” Noonkester said.

An important requirement that Noonkester pointed out was that the ORBA program has their students find an internship so they’re acquiring real world experience rather than just reading about it in a classroom setting.

Professor Clyde Mitchell agrees with Noonkester saying, “Internships are very helpful in forming relationships, networking and ultimately getting jobs.” Mitchell tries to teach his students that making connections, stepping up, and taking opportunities are going to be the building blocks towards the career that they want.

Along with Noonkester’s new position at Titcomb, another UMF student and fellow ORBA major, Drew Bates, has been elected onto the Titcomb Board of Directors as Head of Terrain Parks. Bates was involved in the Snow Cats program at Titcomb and noticed that the kids always requested going to the Beagle—where the terrain park is located—and hopes to make the park friendly and challenging for all ages.

“I’ve heard Seth’s name tossed around a bit when I first came here and I knew he did his internship at Titcomb,” Bates said. “When the job opened up at Titcomb a lot of people were saying that it would be a young kid, like a UMF student. I wasn’t surprised that Seth got the job, he knows how Titcomb works and I like that he has a terrain park mind!” Bates said. “I am really looking forward to working with him and seeing how much we can do for Titcomb.”

One of the first events coming up for Titcomb will be a fundraiser for their education foundation; a golf tournament being held at Sugarloaf on June 6. Teams are made up of four players and any level of play is welcomed. Contact seth.noonkester@maine.edu for further questions.

An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

An Escape To The Natural World: Mainely Outdoors Excursion to Acadia National Park

By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

Sofia Vanoli on the Mainely Outdoors adventure to Acadia National Park. (Photo by Patty Smith)

A timid sun shone for the 20 UMF students who participated in the annual trip to Acadia National Park Sunday, April 23. Mainely Outdoors hosted this annual excursion for the fourth time, this year with the largest number of participants to date, including five international students and a foreign professor.

James Toner, Director of the Fitness & Recreation Center and leader of the trip, said that it is surprising that many people have never been to a National Park before. The Acadia trip is a special one as it provides an opportunity to visit our State’s National Park and all of its unique features,” Toner said. “It is particularly popular for international students.”

After a two and a half hour ride, the three school vans were filled with excitement and we were all ready to start the adventure. Some of us, who did not do any prior research on the park, thought we were surrounded by a big lake – or it might have only been me.

The Atlantic Ocean washed the coasts of Mount Desert Island, where most of the park is located. Brown sugar sand, dark green seaweeds and kelps, and courageous waves crashing on the beach were our first breathtaking scenery at Sand Beach. “What a creative name,” Patty Smith, senior and one of the three trip leaders, said ironically. Group pictures and funny poses took place with a still overcast sky.

After a short but fun hike on a rocky hill covered with white birches and green pines, we got a better view of the ocean which made me wonder how far home was.

Thunder Hole was our next stop. You could hear the sound of the waves smashing against the rocky coast and emitting a loud roar when booming into the cave of the Thunder Hole. Toner’s first rule is ‘safety is a priority,’ so he made sure that the group was careful when watching the waves crash forcefully. But nature made sure that our experienced trip leader got soaked by a bold wave that splashed next to him.

Driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the sun started to shine for us. Rays of light hitting the islands and an endless view were the protagonists of our photos. This was the best spot to finish our adventure.

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider and Hannah Carlson enjoying the view. (Photo by Demi Dai)

Eva Schneider, French Language Teacher Assistant, took this opportunity to visit a National Park and to know more about Maine. “I was amazed by the view from Cadillac Mountain and I loved being at the top of the mountain,” Schneider said.

It’s no wonder why this is such a popular trip and fills up every time. Toner said, “A wide variety of programs were offered with a good response to nearly all of them.”

Some senior students joined the trip to take a break from their capstones and graduation responsibilities. “As a senior I wanted to make multiple trips and embrace the opportunity,” said international and global studies major, Sarah Gould. “I’m glad I came with my friends and enjoyed the fresh air and the sun instead of being locked up in a room.”

The trip was an exceptional one with different landscapes in the same area, something you do not want to miss if you are new to Maine. However, some of us wished we had hiked the wooded areas where trails disappeared between the trees or climbed the rocky mountains the park has to offer.

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