L’Italiano, il Freddo, ed Nuovo Orario

Sooo the internship did not work out, but that’s alright; there is still plenty of time! My friend Daniel works for a nearby museum doing translations, and that sounds right up my alley.

Allora ho imparato abbastanza dell’italiano già, ma sempre faccio errori. Il mio amico nuovo, si chiama Federico, mi ha mostrato molte cose belle. 

Do, a deer, a female deer
“Here Guido Monaco was born and lived”

Guido Monaco had invented our modern 5 line notation system in music! Ut-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do! In addition to that list of famous who-done-its, we have Petrach! Many quote him as essentially starting the renaissance (thank you, humanists!). I must always include Cole and Dylan Sprouse on this list because that fact tickles me absolutely pink.

Among the other things that Federico has shown me, I got to try out Italian hot chocolate. It is absolutely phenomenal. It is so thick that you eat it with a spoon. Try it con panna and you won’t be disappointed. Will post pics soon.

From my favorite caffe

The espresso here is by far one of my favorite things about this country. I am taking at least 3 cups a day (which is fine, I checked). 

This is a heated towel rack. America, get your shit together and follow the European example.

These towel racks are the only thing getting me through this Italian winter. We walk everywhere which is problematic because it is friggin’ cold outside and snows twice a week.

Pictured on the left is a beautiful vista from one of my runs (3 miles) in the morning with Abby, and on the right a large piazza in Eastern Arezzo.

I’ve finally had a normal week of classes, and it is definitely lighter than many of my other semesters, so an internship just seems like the natural choice to keep me occupied here.

I do have to admit that I am already not looking forward to leaving this place, so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.


NISO Experience (1/12/19)

The NISO Experience is an all day orientation event for new international students. This event was extremely fun because I got to interact and connect with students all over the world. Mariah and I are peer mentors for our small group, and i would say that we have the best group ever. I have students from Korea, Colombia, Spain, Germany, and more. During this full day event, we got to build relationships and share some OU experiences with the students to get them excited.  This semester we will do more events with our students to make them feel like they’re at home. I love being a peer mentor, and making friends with students across the world.


c’est la vie

Almost taking the wrong train, lugging a heavy suitcase up numerous flights of stairs, struggling to enroll, and accidentally walking 1 hour to reach a grocery store are the sorts of things that make up the bulk of my experience thus far, mais c’est la vie!

Studying abroad has presented more challenges than I planned for, but I’m lucky to have a support system in my family (especially my Mom of whom I call too many times to count) and friends– new and old.

My favorite moments have been spent exploring the city’s square– Place de Jaude (mall), making new friends, and the small victories en français.

place de jaude
une statue
le théâtre
cathédrale notre-dame del’assomption
une rue de beaucoup près de la place de jaude

ESL Portfolio

My name is Allison Dooley and I am from the United States. Although I studied public relations while at university, I looked forward to being an auxiliar de conversación (language assistant) in Spain in order to convey to kids that learning a new language can be extremely valuable. My prior expectations of the program were limited, but I anticipated the opportunity to explore the field of education and to give back to a country and a people that had already taught me so much about myself, about European culture and about the country’s own customs.

Placement: IES Arturo Soria

The school that I was assigned to, IES Arturo Soria, is located in the Hortaleza area of central Madrid. The teachers at the school are very dedicated and tolerant of the occasional student’s unwillingness to learn. The school is not bilingual and does not participate in activities such as Global Classrooms, so I was initially presented with communication issues; Because the students’ confidence in working with English is somewhat low, it was and is necessary to have patience in trying to communicate a command, an idea or an explanation to the students.

Although this job can be a challenge at times, I consider myself lucky to be teaching at this school because of the supportive, encouraging atmosphere.

Teaching Experience

At Arturo Soria, I am assigned to teach 1o ESO through 2o Bachillerato – these classes typically consist of students between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. Because the school is not bilingual, I only assist with teaching English language and grammar. As an assistant focused on helping students practice English as a second language, my goal for the students is primarily to raise their level of awareness as to how useful English skills could be for their respective professional futures.

As for myself, my personal goal as an auxiliar de conversación at this school is to offer my knowledge about the United States and about the English language in a way that keeps students engaged. I feel as though I am most successful at working towards this goal when I present my own presentations to the class, helping to attract the focus of a few additional students that would never pay attention if we were to follow a lesson from a textbook. Such presentations have included:

Original Educational Presentations (Ages 12-18):

My Experience

Overall, my experience as an auxiliar de conversación thus far has been rewarding. My contributions to the program have been beneficial to the teachers whom I assist and (I hope) to the students at the institute, but more than anything I have been challenged. Through being a language assistant I have strengthened certain skills such as leadership, cooperation and communication, as well as learned new skills altogether. My new skills include things like how to lesson plan, how to effectively communicate an idea to an ESL audience, and how to build trust with coworkers of different backgrounds and nationalities.

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Canada’s Open Borders

Canada is known as the nicer and cleaner version of the United States. Canadians have opened their arms to the immigrants that the US refuse to take in. Although Canada is considered a safe haven for immigrants, I wonder about the stability of the country after the influx of immigrants becomes too difficult for Canada to handle. Having open borders in any country is dangerous because of the influx of immigrants that come in. With that in mind, you never know the types of immigrants that you may be letting in.


In this society, terrorism seems uneventful as it happens so often. A fear from open borders is that immigrants with evil intentions will come and hurt the citizens of said country. Terrorism has been a constant fear in the public eye that I am surprised that Canada has held an open border for the immigrants. Although Canada seems to be a peaceful with a number of countries, I feel that the struggle for economic and political power is bound to arise due to the large number of people. When there are more people to “rule” over, there are more opportunities for defiance.


However, there are benefits in having immigration as it promotes culture and diversity. Often times, citizens of a country are unfamiliar with the cultures and backgrounds of other nations due to lack of diversity. Diversity allows more perspective and


My first full day in Spain was rather exciting! We got up early and headed off to Córdoba, which is about 2 hours away.

The coolest part of Córdoba is easily the massive Mosque-Cathedral located in the city center. The Mosque was built when Spain was under Muslim rule. When Córdoba returned to Christian rule in the thirteenth century, however, the local rulers thought something along the lines of this “Wow, this Moorish architecture is actually really SWELL. Let’s keep it and add onto it and incorporate Christian influences and it’ll be really fabulous.” And now, after three additions to the original Mosque, it is easily one of the most stunning cathedrals that I have ever seen.

My favorite part about the Cathedral was all the light that ran through it. You could see sunlight flooding each room in visible beams. I tried to capture that below, but it’s not really something that can be photographed. You just gotta see it in person, ya know?In addition to the fabulous Cathedral, Córdoba also has a vast variety of small stores, tapas restaurants, and !!!orange trees!! There are also orange trees all over Sevilla, but they seem a little more magical in Córdoba. Apparently they’re bitter, but I’m still tempted to taste one… Okay last thing – flowers are a big component of Córdoba’s winding-street aesthetic. I must say, I’m a big fan. There’s these precious little blue pots all over the place and down every street.

El Primer Día

I never thought that I would actually be able to say this but…..I made it to Sevilla! After a whole heck of an airport mess (thanks United) and two extra days spent in Norman, I am here and I could not be more grateful! As soon as I got to Sevilla, I hopped in a taxi and went straight to my host family’s house. As pulled up to the building, I was in shock that everything had gone so smoothly. I was so ecstatic, so much so that I accidentally tipped the driver 30 EU (I don’t even think you’re supposed to tip taxi drivers here, but tbh I was just so glad to get there it didn’t even matter).

I then got unpacked and met my host mom. I then set out to do some exploring of my own. I got lost and ended up in a really cool part of town, then found my way back home. I was too worried my phone might die (gotta save some reserve in case I needed to stop into a WiFi location to GPS myself home, ya know) to take any pictures, but I’m sure I’ll end up back in the area soon.

Arrival in Arezzo

Here I am! So much has happened since the wheels touched ground in Florence.

Made it past the initial jet lag and introductions. So far, my initial impressions of Switzerland were all very positive. The mountains were absolutely gorgeous (insert picture here).

The Gorgeous Alps

I made many new friends so far, including my roommate Daniel, Abigail (who I go on runs with) and her roommate Lisa (a local who is staying with us at the Monastery). There are many more, and for that reason I decided to join SAC as the chair of programming! I am particularly proud of this because I have never led a position of leadership like this in college, so it seems like a nice cherry on top of all that I’ve accomplished in these past few months. Hurrah for personal growth!

Non e molto difficile fare foto nella citta.

Italian is coming along nicely (very well, in fact), but that’s another post.

Also random: I am really getting into foosball. Hopefully those skills transfer over to real football in the spring!

La chiesa e piu bella di notte!

I’m enrolled in an Art History course with Professor Kirk (as he wishes to be addressed by his first name) and Antonio for Italian and Italy through Cinema. Today was my first really tough day of classes since Kirk really pushed us to analyze the piece with rigor.

On top of all of this, I am looking forward to trying out an internship with Fabio, the chef who prepares all of our meals (alongside Marianne who assists him). How cool would it be to learn directly from an Italian chef?

This semester is really looking up.