Semester Service Options in Siena
SIS students are fundamental to the new Home 4 The World project through Nuova Associazione Culturale Ulisse. As one of only a few service opportunities built from within SIS premises, Home 4 The Word is an exciting way offer greatly needed services. There are many areas that Home 4 The World is focused on helping with:
- Assistance for refugees in navigating the Italian legal system, providing refugees, with the help of expert volunteers, basic legal information on acquiring documentation such as the Modello C3, temporary residence permit, and the codice fiscale (Italian tax code).
- Assistance in accessing and understanding the Italian healthcare system.
- Assistance in finding accommodations. The program aims at providing them with information regarding the reception centers and shelters where they will be able to be housed once their asylum application is formalized, as well as the available housing options during the period preceding formalization.
- Basic Italian language lessons
- Basic English language lessons
- Resume writing and job counseling
Students assist H4TW volunteers in offering these services on-site at SIS.
One of the areas in need is the public school system of Siena. Due to recent severe reforms resulting in significant budget cuts and a reduction of educational resources, there is an increasing demand for skilled and enthusiastic volunteer figures within the school system. Through this experience, students have an opportunity to utilize their skills and energy to make a positive impact on the Sienese public school system. Students who decide to work in an elementary school classroom will be paired with an elementary school teacher who will offer suggestions and advice on how to operate within the classroom. Another possibility within the elementary school (given the appropriate circumstances) is to take on the role of intercultural mediator for foreign children. There are also plenty of opportunities to work in classes at the local high schools as well – where our students are often requested for conversation experience in the English classes.
We view this project as an opportunity to enter into one of the most significant facets of Italian society, therefore gaining a more profound understanding of society as a whole.
The Arciconfraternità della Misericordia di Siena is an association dating back to the Middle Ages that is dedicated to volunteer medical assistance and community service. Students who work with this organization can choose to focus their energies on a variety of medical realities. They will work alongside medical volunteers in an ambulance providing assistance in transporting patients to and from the hospital, and will be trained in the various levels of emergency medical assistance through courses offered by the Misericordia: basic and advanced levels of emergency medical assistance and a specialized course for on-call residential service. Working with the Misericordia, students will get to know personally medical and paramedical personnel of every level and be offered a detailed picture of the Italian healthcare system. In the interests of cultural exchange, students will also be encouraged to organize English language workshops for fellow volunteers, as English is very useful in a popular tourist destination such as Siena.
This is a day center 100% volunteer run that provides space, assistance, and organizes activities for Siena’s disabled community. Students can serve along with local volunteers in organizing and participating in activities that range from art and music to excursions to a local pool or even nearby towns.
SIS Intercultural Study Abroad works with refugees in Siena by helping them assimilate more smoothly into life in Siena. This includes organizing social events, small courses for personal and/or professional development to assisting Italian language professors in classes Italian classes for refugees.
The soup kitchen is located at the Convent of San Girolamo and it provides a very important service to the city of Siena. The volunteers assist in distributing meals to Italians and immigrants in need. In the same structure there is also a center for the collection and distribution of donated clothing for the less fortunate. Student volunteers help the sisters both in the soup kitchen and at the clothing distribution center.
Italy’s elderly population is actually one of the highest in the world. Siena is no exception. The “Poggio al Vento” elderly center is home to more than 30 residents. Students can work at a local elderly residence providing service to those who are no longer able to entirely care for themselves. The facility is located in the center of Siena and employs both professional caregivers as well as volunteers from the community. Activities in which students participate include excursions, games/entertainment, serving meals, and simply providing company to those who are in need of human contact.
La Proposta runs, in the medieval gardens, “L’Orto Dei Pecci”, a restaurant which employs recovering drug addicts, ex-convicts, and individuals with special needs. There are two different sectors where students can serve. Students are able to assist in cooking food with restaurant employees, preparing the dining area for customers, cleaning the kitchen, and serving meals. Students also have the opportunity to work in the gardens, both in restoration and in the cultivation of vegetables. The garden has lately become very popular.
REPCAM (Relais Enfants – Parents of Cameroon) is a local NGO in Cameroon aimed and building and maintaining a relationship between incarcerated parents and their children. REPCAM works to maintain the parental relationship, provide the medical care and clothing of babies who are born and live with their incarcerated mothers, create specific spaces to humanize meetings between parent and child, and ensure psychological and social support for children of prisoners. Through this partnership with REPCAM, graduate students at SIS have the chance to partner with an NGO working in development and put what they are learning in the classroom to practice in the field. Opportunities for developing skills in media, communications, event planning, fundraising, and community outreach are available.
Siena is surrounded by walls that date back to the 1300’s. Today the walls are still mostly intact and are among Europe’s longest stretch of medieval walls at more than 6 kilometers. In recent years, many areas of the walls have become overgrown with vegetation. Le Mura is a volunteer organization whose goal it is to clean, maintain, and create a path around Siena’s ancient city walls. Students are involved in mapping out areas to clean and are involved in the organization and realization of cleaning and path-creating projects. See Le Mura’s facebook page.
Students work with local volunteers to care for and find adoptive homes for cats. Activities include socializing with feral cats, feeding cats, and can also include the administration of some medicines (under the supervision of trained professionals).
The Associazione Centro Ippico “Della Pergola” ASD is an organization that provides various forms of physical therapy to children and adults with disabilities. Students work at the organization’s newly constructed stables and helping with riding therapy, “ippoterapia”. Responsibilities will vary, as “Della Pergola” is a very hands-on organization. Students with previous riding experience may be asked to work solely with preparing the horses, while others will do any number of odd jobs on the grounds. Previous experience with horses is preferred.
SIS students organize and host two weekly meetings with locals who are eager to improve their conversational English. These meetings are a great way to meet locals and create long-lasting friendships, and of course, outside of the structured conversation meetings, the local participants are more than happy to help students improve their Italian.