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Italy Center alums take on extraordinary refugee assistance internship

Recently, five Spring Hill College (SHC) Italy Center alumnae, including recent SHC graduate Dana Wilder, began a summer internship at the CARA di Brindisi Restinco Migrant and Asylum Seeker Center in Puglia. They also serve at the Caritas shelter and soup kitchen. The human rights focus of the SHC Italy Center is anchored in academic-based social justice travel. The program integrates traditional classroom learning (in English) with travels that expand the global perspective. 

In a rare occurrence, two of the interns, Dana Wilder (SHC ’17) and Grazilla Ioele (St. Joseph’s ‘15) were asked to join the Italian coast guard and the European Union Frontex patrols to assist as refugees were landing in Brindisi. "Our students are truly on the front lines of the refugee crisis," said Todd Waller, director of the Italy Center. "I can honestly attest to the fact that no other American program in Europe offers such a unique project."

Photo: Astrea Somarriba, center (USF '15), Alessandra Testa, left (TCNJ '17), Graziella Ioele (St. Joseph's '15), Dana Wilder (SHC '17), Micah Pfotenhauer, right (St. Louis Univ. '18)

“Our Italy Center interns are living the Jesuit mission in a very real, very hands-on manner by working through social justice with the ongoing state of affairs in Italy,” said President Christopher P. Puto, PhD. “This situation is providing some eye-opening experiences, ones that will surely not be forgotten nor taken for granted by these incredible students. I am extremely proud of their work.”

Several Puglia newspapers recently ran articles explaining the work of our interns. Click here to view one such article. Also, to follow Wilder's journey, visit her blog: www.thechameleontale.com.

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