A World of Your Own: Study Abroad Alumna Amanda Frazier

Originally from Johnsburg, Illinois, alumna Amanda Frazier studied abroad at JCU in Spring 2016. While at JCU, Amanda was an active participant in Italy Reads, a community-based English language reading and cultural exchange program. She is currently a high school teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Amanda Frazier

Amanda Frazier

What brought you to JCU?
I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for college and fell in love with living in the city. I took the opportunity to study abroad at John Cabot University during the spring semester of my sophomore year of college, and I have been in love with Rome ever since.

You are now a high school teacher in  Milwaukee, WI. What prompted you to pursue this profession?
I have always wanted to be a teacher. I have three younger brothers and I grew up making them play “school” where I would act as the teacher and dole out assignments. Right before graduating from Marquette, I was offered a position to teach English at Wauwatosa West High School right outside of Milwaukee, and I am currently in my third year.

How did you get involved with the Italy Reads program?
Before I left for Rome, I researched the activities available to JCU Study Abroad students and I came across Italy Reads. That year the featured book was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and the program was looking for students to go into Italian high schools to discuss the novel. As I was double majoring in high school education and English literature, I knew it was a perfect fit for me.

You and another volunteer traveled to  Liceo Carlo Pisacane in Padula, Salerno, for the Italy Reads program. Tell us about this experience.
Visiting Padula was one of my favorite experiences from my time with Italy Reads. We took a bus and traveled four hours south to the beautiful mountainous area around the city of Salerno. We stayed with two different host families while on the trip. It was great to have more of an inside look into how Italian families live – both families were so incredibly generous and kind. We went to the school and spent the day interacting with students, talking about the novel, our lives, and different cultures. We also had some time to explore the city and visit the ‘Certosa di Padula,’ a breathtaking monastery.

You will include your students in an Italy Reads activity in the Spring. Tell us more about this.
I am very lucky to have remained good friends with Gina Spinelli – Italy Reads coordinator – over the years. The spring TED Circles project is still very much “in the works,” but basically, we want to provide Italian high school students with the opportunity to discuss key issues with American high school students.

What’s your fondest memory of your time at JCU?
There are truly too many to count, but my fondest memories of my time in Rome were the little moments. Walking the streets of Trastevere, taking the tram, meeting new friends, and feeling like the Eternal City was my home. Once I was back stateside, I would often joke with my friends that I was “Rome-sick,” as I fell in love with the city during my stay.

How did studying abroad at JCU benefit you?
I firmly believe that everyone, if able, should study abroad. Not only is it an opportunity to grow as an individual and go out into the world on your own, but also to explore and understand a culture that is different from your own, which is the key to gaining empathy and to make the world a better place.