Whittier College’s International Community: Interview with Alessandro Corneglio

Alessandro Corneglio is an international transfer student from a small town in northwest Italy. Fall 2020 marks the beginning of his second year at Whittier College and the start of his journey as OIP’s Public Relations Coordinator. He has been on over 200 flights and has traveled to 34 countries, including India, Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, multiple countries throughout Europe, and is now continuing his international journey here in the United States. Before coming to Whittier, Alessandro completed a year of high school in Omaha, Nebraska and received a soccer scholarship to attend college in Oklahoma City for two years.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in the United States?

I believe my field of study (marketing and business) in the US is the best place to learn and study. My exchange year in high school began as a radical experience of your culture and a way to learn English, but when I had the chance to get the American diploma and begin college here, I took the chance.

What is one aspect of U.S. culture that you have enjoyed the most?

Your integration of many different extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs is amazing and helps shrink your daily routine and use your time in the best way possible. Playing soccer in Italy, for example, I had to get out of school and travel 50 minutes by train to get where I was playing while here you have everything integrated and correlated to your educational institution and you’re able to manage your time without wasting any of it. Fast pace but extremely efficient and enjoyable.

What is one aspect of your home culture that you have enjoyed sharing with other Whittier students?

I believe the most important aspect of the Italian, but in general of the European, culture is that we seek “pleasure” in little things and beauty, while the American culture is very “entertainment” oriented. Which is not a worse way to live the fun, but is very different, and I think a good mix is the perfect solution. For example, lunch can be fast food to get right back to work but dinner has to be slow food like we are used to in Italy.

Pursuing an international degree can come with many challenges – one of the biggest and most unexpected being the COVID-19 pandemic. What is one COVID-19- related challenge that you have overcome? What did you learn from this experience?

The biggest challenge was definitely getting back to my family and home, many flights got cancelled and most borders even in Europe were closed, but I managed to arrive just before I couldn’t. One other challenge was some of the online lectures at crazy times at night because of the time changing. My finals week I had given a presentation at 1:00 am and one at 4:00 am, but I learned that better managing sleep and time can make any schedule efficient.

What would you say to students who are interested in pursuing an international education and studying away from home in the future?

It’s scary but I also think it is supposed to be, it’s the best way to get out of your comfort zone of your home country. But once you overcome the difficulties, you’ll find that these years are not just years in your life, but a life in these years, and an extraordinary possibility to build relationships with people completely different from you and people you would never expect to be so similar. Definitely the best decision of my life.

Global Health: Interview with Malory Henry (’19)

Malory Henry graduated from Whittier in 2019 through the Whittier Scholars Program, studied abroad with a GPS scholarship in South Africa, and was a recipient of a Brethren Community Foundation fellowship which took her to Tanzania. Majoring in Medical Anthropology, she completed a capstone based on field research with Traditional Birth Attendants in Tanzania. Malory is currently pursuing a master’s in public health at USC.

“I am incredibly passionate about understanding how cultural factors influence health care access and the use of traditional medicine around the world!”

–Malory Henry (’19)
Malory (center) in Thailand

What have you been up to since graduation?

After graduating, I began my Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Promotion from USC. I hope to use this degree to empower communities, facilitate access to culturally-appropriate health care, and contribute to the growing body of knowledge regarding cultural practices of medicine. While working on my Masters degree remotely, I spent a few months in Chiang Mai, Thailand working for a non-profit organization called Warm Heart. I worked as a Project Coordinator for a program called Project Access, which seeks to promote health and wellbeing for the elderly and disabled in rural Chiang Mai. I loved visiting individuals and families in neighboring communities to provide food, hygienic necessities, physical therapy, and social interaction. It was a very inspiring and empowering job!

How did study abroad contribute to your life and career choices up until now?

While at Whittier, study abroad was integral to my experiences. I studied Community Health and Social Policy in South Africa and went on two trips to Tanzania—I first traveled to Tanzania as supported by the Brethren Community Foundation Fellowship, then returned a few months later to do field research for my capstone. Studying abroad ignited my passions and transformed my sense of self. It allowed me to better understand my global role as an American and expanded my horizons! If I never studied abroad, I would truly be a different person altogether.

Malory and Maddie during the inaugural Brethren Community Fellowship

You are currently in graduate school at USC. How has your education and experience prepared you (or not!) for the current situation with COVID-19?

Studying Public Health, especially taking a course in Epidemiology, during a pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse. My courses have expectedly oriented themselves around COVID-19, providing me with knowledge that’s different in some ways from what the media presents. Thanks to my courses, I am able to understand and interpret statistics without relying on journalist’s interpretations. Though I do feel more informed, having increased access to new information contributes to anxiety that I think most folks feel during this time. 

What would you say to people who are nervous about the current situation?

I’m not an expert by any means, but during the current pandemic it’s really important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically! Though it is important to stay updated on the current situation, taking breaks from the news can help us cope with stress and focus on other things, such as exercising, cooking a healthy meal, or connecting with others. Everyone’s situation is different, and it is so important to practice compassion during this time of anxiety and fear.

What do you want to do with your degrees? Why?

My dream is to open a clinic that integrates both Western medical and local health practices. By using my degree in Medical Anthropology, I have a theoretical background to promote health and wellness, complemented by the practical knowledge provided by my (future) degree in Public Health. I believe that integrating biomedical and local medicinal practices in a singular clinic can serve as a precedent for an expanded health care paradigm. At the end of the day, I want to promote wellness in other countries ethically—I have a long way to go, but I am thankful for the experiences Whittier has given me that made me who I am today!

Thank You for Your Trust

As the world, including those of us at Whittier College, works through this difficult period of crisis caused by COVID-19, we wanted to take a minute to thank our students and colleagues for their time, money and trust.  As you may know, we have made deposits fully refundable until further notice.  This will continue to be the case until we (including you!) can once again make solid plans for the future. 

Students still want to travel! As you can see from the chart below, students have continued to make deposits for Fall 2020 and January 2020 since March 12–the moment when Whittier College announced its move to online classes.

You may also know that we had several classes abroad scheduled for this coming May 2020.  Many of the students in those courses have deferred their travel until May 2021, but quite a few have understandably asked for a refund of their course fees.  OIP worked hard with our vendors and refunded students both deposits and course fees they had paid.  Again, we want you to know that while this was not guaranteed, we are here to help if we can–and in this case, and after much work with vendors, we could.

So thank you for your trust and support.  We continue to monitor the pandemic and we will act with the greatest caution to help you plan for next fall, next January, next May and beyond.

If you are interested in applying to one of our upcoming programs, we hope you’ll give it a shot.  And feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.


Fall 2020 Whittier in Rome Update

As future world travelers and Whittier in Rome students, we know that you’ve been paying extra attention to the events around the world, at home, and, of course, Italy.  Italy has caught the world’s attention, as it is now one of the countries most affected by COVID-19. To help reduce the spread of the virus, people across the country have been ordered to stay home. Much like here in California, they can no longer stroll the local street markets, enjoy a cappuccino at a local coffee shop, or socialize with their friends and families.The self-isolation order has restricted people from enjoying their normal daily activities, but it has not stopped them from finding creative ways to cope with the changes. While news headlines highlight the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, it is also important to shed light on the stories of resilience and acts of kindness spreading throughout Italy during these uncertain times. To bring the community together, the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, turned to Facebook to encourage residents to step onto their balconies at 6pm each day to sing and dance with one another (from a safe distance, of course). Since then, videos of neighbors singing, waving flags, and smiling from balcony to balcony have started circulating the internet. In her article Italy’s Inspiring Response to the Coronavirus, Erica Firpo, a travel journalist for BBC travel, shared, “In just two weeks, this 18:00 tradition has become fundamental to our daily routine and spread across Italy, becoming the country’s new national pastime to spread hope and boost morale.” People of all ages have taken part in finding new ways to strengthen their community, including children who have created posters with a phrase that has become a national slogan for those living in isolation: “Andrà tutto bene” – everything will be alright. These brightly painted banners can be seen hanging from balconies above empty city streets that were once bustling with people.

So, as we plan the next steps for Fall 2020 Whittier in Rome, we look to Italy for a glimpse of hope. Our exclusive faculty-led semester program will allow you to live and learn in one of the world’s most historic cities, bringing the stories of Italy’s resilience and solidarity to life. You can read online articles and admire photos on social media, but there is no substitute for what you can learn by living in Rome and engaging in the everyday routines that create culture. Rome will become your new classroom, allowing you the opportunity to experience Italy’s culture first-hand. When you find yourself in a new and unfamiliar environment – a market in Rome or a bus station in Florence – the smallest interactions can become significant lessons that help you learn to operate in an international context. Studying abroad can help you gain global skills that are more important now than ever. The world needs future leaders who can communicate across cultures, adapt to changing environments, and tackle global crises that require global cooperation on solutions. We encourage you to embrace this unique opportunity to live in a new country and speak with locals about how they adapted and overcame challenges during this global health crisis. The things you do, places you see, and people you meet will stick with you long after your return from abroad, so as you work with us to plan your future global adventure, remember: “Andrà tutto bene.”

Fall 2020 Whittier in Rome

Whittier In Rom

By Emily Russo, POET Intern

What else could be more fascinating than studying Italian language, art, and literature? Studying it all in the heart of Rome!

During Fall 2020, Whittier College students will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study Italian culture first-hand through the exclusive semester abroad program WHITTIER IN ROME

This semester program is led by Whittier College professors Dr. Hunt and Dr. Furman-Adams. Over the course of the semester, students will have the opportunity to partake in field trips to the Roman Colosseum, the Vatican, a multi-day Florence trip, historic museums, ancient ruins, and so much more! All of these field trips are woven into the curriculum of the four classes that the students will take while abroad.

The class offerings include:

Italian Cinema

Italian Art History

Beginning Italian Language

Epic of Rome (Taught by Profs. Hunt and Furman-Adams)

This well-rounded and engaging approach to the study of Italian life and culture is the epitome of a learning experience and fulfills the Whittier College CONN 1 PAIR, CULTURE 5 (EUROPE), CULTURE 7 (LANGUAGE) liberal education requirements. The classes will be taught at the Italiaidea Language School, which is located within walking distance of the Roman Forum and Colosseum!

Program Fees & Financial Aid:

The program fee is similar to the cost of living on campus and students are eligible for their financial aid as normal (including federal, state, and institutional aid)! Students will pay their Whittier tuition and a program fee of $7,500 (or $5,500 with the use of the Global Poet Scholarship). Exclusively for this program, students are eligible to use their Global Poet Scholarship one semester early- at the start of their first sophomore semester and on! What’s included in the program fee? Housing (either with an experienced home-stay family or a student apartment), international health insurance, and planned excursions!

Housing Options:

Each housing option provides a unique Roman experience for students. Through a homestay, students have the opportunity to live in the home of a local Italian family that has years of experience as a host family and is well-known for their hospitality to their student-guests. Single rooms are available in each homestay and a homemade dinner is served by the host family Monday through Thursday every week as well as a breakfast Monday through Friday. Homestays are a wonderful fit for students looking to create a lasting bond of family and friendship long after they leave Italy. 

The student apartments are located in the charming, historic neighborhood of Trastevere and will be a walking distance from Italiaidea Language School. These apartments will allow students access to double-occupancy rooms with multiple bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a combination living room and dining area. Students will provide meals for themselves and have the opportunity to find the hidden gems and local delicacies of the Italian markets near their apartment!

Wherever you choose to live, studying Italian literature, art, and language in the heart of Rome with fellow Whittier Poets will be an amazing and unforgettable experience. Rome has lots to offer and Whittier College students have an unparalleled opportunity to participate in this custom-designed program!

Applications are NOW OPEN! https://goabroad.whittier.domains/apply/

Questions? Contact us!

Amber Chiapparine, Study Abroad Advisor, Platner 204 achiappa@whittier.edu

Prof. David Hunt, Faculty Leader, dhunt@whittier.edu

Prof. Wendy Furman-Adams, Faculty Leader, wfurman@whittier.edu

Ryan Smith and Liana Miera ('21) Receive Gilman Award

By Emily Russo, POET Intern

Congratulations to Ryan Smith and Liana Miera!

WHITTIER COLLEGE students RYAN SMITH and LIANA MIERA (’21) awarded U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship 

The Whittier College Office of International Programs is pleased to announce that Ryan Smith and Liana Miera (‘21), both juniors at Whittier College, have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the spring 2020 academic term. Smith, a Religious Studies major, will spend Spring 2020 at the   School for International Training in Indonesia , while Miera, a WSP major and Spanish minor, will spend Spring 2020 at National University of Maynooth, Ireland with American Institute for Foreign Study.

Gilman scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply towards their study abroad or internship program costs. The program aims to diversify the students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.  Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages, and economies — making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.

In addition to receiving the Gilman Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year, Smith has been awarded the Critical Need Language Award– a financial scholarship of up to $3,000 to study a foreign language in one of the countries deemed to be a critical priority by the U.S. Department of State. Through this scholarship, the U.S. Department of State hopes to increase language proficiency and further students’ professional goals by means of immersion into a native culture. Smith will be studying Bahasa Indonesian and “hopes to learn deeply about the Hindu and Muslim religious traditions found on these islands [in order to] bring that knowledge back home to the U.S, where both of these religions are highly misunderstood.”

Ryan also shared, “While it was a long process involving many questions and three essays, I am so excited for the opportunity to officially be a Gilman Scholar and go to Indonesia. My ability to study in Bali and Java with SIT depended on this scholarship and after waiting for months to hear back, I felt so relieved when I finally received the email saying I was awarded the Gilman and Critical Need Language Awards. Not only will this scholarship help me to get to Indonesia, but there are so many amazing opportunities for employment following my graduation because of this program… What is really important is going into the field and viewing the lived religious practices for yourself and the Gilman really has given me such an incredible opportunity to do so.”

Congressman Gilman, who retired in 2002 after serving in the House of Representatives for 30 years and chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee, commented, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates.  Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  The full list of students who have been selected to receive Gilman Scholarships, including students’ home state, university and host country, is available on their website: www.iie.org/gilman

* * * * * * * *

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations. In an effort to reflect the diversity of the United States and global society, ECA programs, funding, and other activities encourage the involvement of American and international participants from traditionally underrepresented groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.  Artists, educators, athletes, students, youth and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries around the globe participate in academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges. For more information about ECA programs, initiatives, and achievements, visit http://eca.state.gov.

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas.  An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1919, the Institute is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange organizations.  IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide working with more than 1,200 member institutions and over 6,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions.  IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the Fulbright and Humphrey Fellowships administered for the U.S. Department of State.  The Institute is a resource for educators and institutions worldwide (http://www.iie.org), publishing the Open Doors Report and operating www.IIEPassport.org and www.studyabroadfunding.org  search engines for study abroad programs and study abroad scholarships.  For more information, please contact Lindsay Calvert, Director, Gilman International Scholarship, at 832-369-3481 or lcalvert@iie.org.

Spring 2020: Mexican Riviera Cruise

This upcoming spring, the Office of International Programs is offering a faculty-led 7-day academic cruise to Mexico with stops in: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta. These three cities are bustling hubs of culture, fun, and excitement. Enroll in KNS 290: Sport Event & Entertainment Management for the entirety of the spring semester and embark on the cruise during Spring Break! Check out the details below for information on the program and our unique Global Poet Scholarship (GPS) opportunity!

Program Highlights

  • Meet with your professor and fellow students in an on-board class space that has been reserved especially for our Whittier Poets.
  • Experience hands-on learning by participating in excursions at each of the ports, including a tour of a 4-star resort in Cabo, a stroll through historic downtown Mazatlán, and much more!
  • Speak with members of the ship’s crew for behind-the-scene details on what it takes to keep a cruise afloat.
  • Enroll in KNS 290 (spring 2020 semester course) for a one-of-a-kind learning experience 

Course Descriptions: 

KNS 290 Sport Event & Entertainment Management led by Profs. Kathy Barlow and Gina DiPierro: Learn about the world’s largest industries, from destination planning, hotel and restaurant management to sport entertainment and event management.

Program Fee:

$1,450 without GPS or $450 with $1,000 GPS applied

Includes: room, meals, excursions, and transportation to/from Whittier College to the port

First-time GPS Opportunity: Apply 50% ($1,000) of your GPS towards the cruise, and save 50% ($1,000) for a future study abroad program! 

Application NOW OPEN!

Apply here (15-20 minute process): https://goabroad.whittier.domains/apply/

Questions? Contact us!

Amber Chiapparine, Study Abroad Advisor, Platner 204, achiappa@whittier.edu

Prof. Kathy Barlow, KNS 290, kbarlow@whittier.edu 

Study Abroad Fair 2019

walking in new zealand

“I went to Australia the spring of my junior year and I think that it was the most beneficial life-changing experience for me as a young woman. When you embark on a journey of that much stature, completely on your own, it really challenges you to grow as a person”

-Sarah Brown, Class of 2020

On September 23rd

OIP will be hosting our annual Study Abroad Fair! With over 75 approved programs, we can help find the right program for you. Whittier sends about 175-200 students abroad each academic year. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with study abroad advisors, program directors, and current students who have studied abroad previously. Come to the Campus Courtyard, FROM 11AM –2PM, or stop by our early bird tables in the Upper Quad, FROM 8AM-10AM, and find your study abroad dream today!

Study Abroad Fair Checklist: 

Before the Fair: 

  •  Look out for emails from OIP and go check out OIP’s website (goabroad.whittier.domains) to find the programs we offer
  • Draft a list of questions you may have for study abroad representatives (Does your program offer courses within my major? Are there scholarship opportunities available?)
  • Set a list of goals you have for attending the fair

During the Fair: 

  • Meet our OIP team at our booth to learn general information about studying abroad and the approved programs offered at Whittier
  •  Meet our visiting partners and affiliate program coordinators to learn more about their programs
  • Meet students who have studied abroad before and hear their stories about their experiences

After the Fair: 

  • Review the materials and advice you received at our fair
  • Get in contact with our office (located Platner 206 or at OIP@whittier.edu)
  • Discuss the opportunities with your parents and/or family to find the perfect study abroad dream just for you

January 2020 will be here soon!

With upcoming Jan-term courses around the world in places like South Africa, Hawai’i, France and Spain, Global Poets are already preparing for their travel.  According to gooverseas.com, here are the top 10 things you should be thinking about:

  1. Passport and Visa (We can help with free passport photos!)
  2. Visit your doctor
  3. Get insurance (We usually take care of this for you!)
  4. Get a plane ticket (We can help)
  5. Research your destination’s local  customs and culture (Our professors are there to explore this with you–that’s what were all about–but you can’t replace doing your own legwork as well!)
  6. Work on your language skills!
  7. Money (Our GPS program makes study abroad way more accessible, but you still need to plan!)
  8. Packing
  9. Cell phones and communication (this applies mostly to long-term travel)

Whittier Office of International Programs wants to make educational travel as accessible as possible.  While we can’t solve every problem and we firmly believe that personal responsibility is central to successful travel, we will also point you to possible solutions and offer our best advice.




May 2019

Buongiorno, G’day, Hola and Kon’nichiwa!

Get ready for Spring Break and May-Summer terms now!  Whittier College’s Office of International Programs is excited to announce our upcoming faculty-led programs all over the world. Take a look below and then apply now!

Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and the sooner you apply and deposit for the course, the sooner you know your spot is secured.


Dates Location Professor Fees As low as … after GPS
Extended Spring Break Australia Duran $3,200 $1,200
5/19-6/1 Italy Eastman $2,900 $900
5/24-6/7 Japan Gold $3,900 $1,900
5/22-6/2 Puerto Rico Rehn $1,300 $1,300*
July (TBD) Spain Geirola $2,800 $800

Full brochures for each course are coming soon.  Feel free to visit us with your questions.


Note: Most fees do not include airfare.  All courses, fees, etc. are in the planning phase and may be subject to change.   Official dates will appear on our Upcoming Trips page.  To receive the GPS award, travel must occur after a student’s third semester at WC and is limited to one time in a student’s career.  Detailed policies are available during the application process.

Applications are processed on a first-come-first-served basis and are judged on interest and qualification for the course.  Slots are not reserved until a deposit is received by our office.

*The Puerto Rico course is still pending final approval.  Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory and not eligible for a GPS scholarship.  All the same, OIP is proud to subsidize and sponsor this service-learning effort.

Coming soon!

 Fall 2019
Whittier in Rome!
Drs. Furman-Adams and Hunt

January 2019
(subject to change)

Paris * Sevilla * Morocco * Thailand * South Africa * China * Hawai’i and more!


This page is not a comprehensive overview of policy or procedures.