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KSU in Italy began in the summer of 2017. The program is

a coalition of departments across campus, all coming together
to offer a faculty-led trip for students over a four-week sum-
mer term.
While abroad, students have the choice to stay in apart-
ments or with local host families in the program’s base lo-
cation, Orvieto. Located in the Umbria region, the historic
town of Orvieto is positioned between the cities of Florence
and Rome, allowing students to explore other Italian regions
during class trips.
Smith attended the first KSU in Italy trip to help docu-
ment the program through photography and videography, as
well as to explore the city and see what kind of course and
curriculum JMC could bring to the program.
While experiencing the trip, Smith thought to himself,
“JMC has to be a part of this.”
From this, the Intercultural Digital Storytelling course
was born. For Smith, the Italian architecture and robust cul-
Photos courtesy of ture of the city made Orvieto the perfect place for his students
Andrew Smith to gain experience in the journalism field.
The course is a delicate combination of basic photog-
raphy and journalistic writing. Students learn the basics of

photography from the ground up, starting with simply how to
xploring Italy through the lens of their camer- hold their cameras. The writing style taught is an immersive,
as, students are turned into storytellers as they descriptive writing, enabling readers to place themselves in
spent a summer with Andrew Smith, learning in the story and feel the experiences the student has felt.
the little town of Orvieto.
Smith spent 25 years working in the broadcast
journalism field as a sports broadcaster before decid-
ing to move his talents from the sideline to the class-
room. As the news director for Journalism and Mass
Communications, Smith oversees the student televi-
sion news productions, including K-State’s Channel 8
Having spent time studying abroad during his own
college years, Smith knew he wanted to get involved
with study abroad the minute he came to K-State.
“Part of the reason I got out of broadcast journal-
ism was to create these programs,” Smith said.
Due to the restrictive schedule of broadcast jour-
nalism, Smith was not able to travel outside of the
states very often during his broadcasting career, so
after accepting a position at K-State he looked for-
ward to becoming involved with international travel
opportunities again—this time as a professor.
“My goal with study abroad and education abroad
is to take the students out of Kansas, to show them
that there is a whole world, literally, outside of Man-
hattan, Kansas,” Smith said while reminiscing on his
recent trip with the KSU in Italy program.

6 JMC Update | Fall 8

“The city of Orvieto is our canvas,” Smith said.
When envisioning the course structure, he did not
want his students to spend all of their class time inside
when there was so much to see and learn from outside. He
kept this in mind when creating the course’s final project.
The project, titled People of Orvieto, is a culmina-
tion of the photography and writing skills students have
learned over the program’s period, used to tell a story
about a local Orvieto citizen. The subjects of the stories
told this year include a shop owner, a bartender and a law-
yer. The project challenges students to step out of their
comfort zone and dive into the culture to make connec-
tions with locals.
To Smith, a dedicated student with an open mind and
the willingness to put themselves out there a little bit is
the ideal candidate for the program. Aside from the re-

gional obstacles such as language barriers, homesickness

seems to be one of the biggest obstacles that Smith sees in

students. But one of his favorite parts of these programs is

when he sees students who have struggled with homesick-
ness start to overcome it and really experience the trip.

“I think one of the coolest things for me as an instruc-

tor, is to see a light go on with a student who comes out
and for the first week is scared to leave the apartment and
then it suddenly clicks and they’re now able to get out of Orvieto
their shell,” he said.
Smith said he believes that studying abroad is invalu-
able and hopes that there will be even more opportunities
available to JMC students in the future.
Already looking forward to the next KSU in Italy trip
in the familiar little town of Orvieto, Smith expressed,
“it’s great to have different homes around the world.”

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