Mia McGarity ‘24 participated in one of Chapman’s many travel courses, and the experience showed her a whole new world in Bologna, Italy. The class spent eleven days abroad, which included an international film festival and a myriad of tourist activities.
McGarity always knew that she wanted to take her studies abroad. “I originally wanted to do a full semester abroad,” she said. “But I’m a creative producing and dance double major and with the demands of that schedule, it just wasn’t feasible to do an entire semester abroad. When I saw the summer program, it was perfect.”
FTV 361/561 is a course that takes students to historic Bologna, Italy where they learn about film restoration and Italian cinema firsthand. Film historians Dr. Emily Carman and Dr. Federico Pacchioni co-teach the course and lead these trips annually. Students study the role of festivals in regard to film restoration, important auteurs in international and national cinema, and the practice of writing film criticism.
The Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival is the main event of this travel course; however, McGarity shared that there was plenty to do before then. “We went out to dinner the night we landed and got a tour of the city after. The next day we learned some basic Italian phrases and history.” The film festival began on the third day of the trip, where students were able to break away from the group and make their own schedules.
“We were all on our own individual schedules based on the screenings we wanted to go to. It’s a very independent course,” McGarity recalled. Cinema Ritrovato takes place over the course of nine days, showing 500 classic Italian films.
“I participated a lot in the Sophia Loren programming. I also saw the Oscar contender ‘Shoeshine’ (1946) and met one of the leading actors, which was really cool! He talked about his experience working with Vittorio De Sica,” Mcgarity said of her own adventure at the festival. De Sica wrote and directed “Shoeshine,” a film about orphan boys earning money by shining shoes in Rome, and eventually end up in a juvenile detention center. The film is a commentary on social systems of prejudice and oppression. It won an honorary Oscar in the U.S.
Between film screenings, McGarity joined other students for local activities. “We took a cooking class one day, that was fun. The day before the last day of the trip, a small group of us hiked the longest portico in the world, Portico di San Luca.” Portico di San Luca is just under 4km (about 2.5 miles) and is made up of 666 arches. The pathway leads to an 18th century church overlooking the city.
It wasn’t until the very last day of the trip that all of the students, along with their professors, gathered for a farewell dinner. Although McGarity didn’t know any of the students at the start of the trip, she expressed gratitude for the close-knit community she found within Dodge. “Especially within the creative producing program, because we’re all on relatively the same course catalog path throughout our four years. Everyone is very supportive and willing to help with each other’s projects,” she said. Even being a woman in film, McGarity has “never felt out of place” at Dodge.
McGarity’s journey overseas left a lasting impression. “I think it opened my eyes to a completely different side of programming a festival. I had no idea the amount of work that goes into planning, choosing which films to show and how those films can make a cultural impact. What you do with film and what you choose to exhibit is so powerful and sends a message,” she thoughtfully shared.
Travel Courses are self-funded, so once the Center for Global Education receives all pre-decision application materials, the participant is financially committed to the full cost of the program (not just the deposit paid).
For access to all of Chapman’s study abroad programs and first steps for enrollment in travel courses, visit studyabroad.chapman.edu/.