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Titan Spotlight

Italy, Here We Come! CSUF Students Prepare for Summer Study Abroad Trip

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The Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) Child and Adolescent Studies (CAS) department is counting down the days until their study abroad program in Italy this June. Students from Cal State Dominguez Hills are coming along as well, so the trip will include a total of 92 students and faculty, from five departments, and two campuses.

The CAS department at CSUF has had a legacy of providing annual short-term study abroad/international internship programs since 2005. Students have traveled to China, Thailand, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Germany. 

The Italy program was developed by Katherine Bono, chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Studies. Bono, along with Diana Robles, a lecturer in the CAS department, coordinated with CSUF Study Abroad & Global Engagement (SAGE) to plan the program. It will take place from June 17 – June 30.

“I feel like this is just the beginning of this style of short-term study abroad programs,” says Robles. “Students enjoy the experience of traveling with faculty, applying what is taught in their course, and combining learning experiences and travel. For many of our students, this will be their first time out of Orange County, let alone the country.”

Seventeen of the 25 CSUF students, nearly 70% who were selected to attend the trip, identify as first-generation college students. Many of the attendees also come from underserved populations, and according to Bono, “they have told us that the reduced cost of this experience compared to what it would cost to do this on their own is the only way they are able to travel to Europe.”

By participating in this program, students will receive credit toward CAS courses. Some study abroad programs involve taking classes at a foreign university for college credit, but this program is unique. “We are not working with an Italian university,” explains Dr. Bono. “Instead, we will be interacting with multiple community leaders and non-profit organizations. CSUF students are currently working on lesson plans that they will implement with children participating in an enrichment program in Palermo, Sicily.” This includes designing activities for children of different ages and varying levels of English proficiency.

While there is lots of academic work to be done on the trip, there will still be plenty of time for fun. The group plans to visit the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain in Rome, a baroque palace in Noto, and a food market in Taormina. They will also tour a chocolate factory in Modica, swim in Ortigia Island, learn about puppeteering art in Sicily, and much more.

Bono says that this experience is so enriching because it immerses students in a different culture where they are active participants and not just passive tourists. “After the program, students gain confidence in their ability to adapt to vastly different cultural settings that may include different languages, religious practices, and living conditions.”

Abigail Segura, study abroad programs lead, participated in multiple CAS study abroad programs herself. She emphasizes the impact they had on her life: “As a first-gen student, the CAS Practicum Study Abroad programs were perfect for me because I had the reassurance of traveling with other CSUF students and faculty while getting credit for one of my major requirements. I am forever thankful for these opportunities as they really influenced my development as a student, person, and professional.”

This program is partially funded by Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and IRA funds. The Child and Adolescent Studies department was awarded two additional IRA grants for 2023-2024. They plan to have a study abroad trip to Costa Rica for Fall 2023 and another Italy trip for Spring 2024.

Are you interested in studying abroad? CSUF Study Abroad & Global Engagement can help find the right program for your budget and major. Whether you’d like to join a department-led group like the CAS Italy trip or take a solo adventure as an exchange student, there are many options to explore.

Learn how you can travel while earning academic credit! To start your journey, visit

Study Abroad and Global Engagement, and a variety of international programs for both Titans studying away from CSUF and students coming to study at CSUF, is a fully integrated department of Cal State Fullerton Extension and International Programs (EIP). To learn more about CSUF EIP, visit

Charis Hill