PHOTO: Coral Gangitano working with gifted middle school students at College International in Budapest, Hungary, as they figure out solutions to a math-related game with even and odd numbers of colored chips
When CSULB students want to study abroad, their first stop is the Education Abroad Office, where they can often find student advisor Coral Gangitano enthusiastically guiding them towards a new country.
“This job has made me grow so much as a person because you are working with not only CSULB students, but international students who are studying at CSULB,” said Gangitano. “I can now say I have friends all over the world.”
Gangitano earned the position through first-hand experience, having participated in three study abroad programs in just the past two years. The CSULB Florence Semester Program provided her first opportunity in Fall 2017, where she studied Italian language and history while assisting teachers in bilingual kindergarten classes.
“There were many reasons to why I choose to study abroad for the first time in Italy,” said Gangitano. “I am 50% Italian, so I wanted to get in touch with my heritage and learn the language. I loved that it had the internship option too.”
The program helped Gangitano complete requirements for her Mathematics Education major, and she embarked on a second program in Italy the following summer. She then returned home for only a short while, before discovering another opportunity in a different country.
“When I found a program called the Budapest Semester in Mathematics Education (BSME) program, I had to attend it,” said Gangitano. “This program was a perfect fit for me.”
In the BSME program, also geared towards her major, Gangitano worked at a summer camp for gifted Hungarian students in July and August 2019.
“After this program, I’m able to compare the American, Italian, and Hungarian education systems,” said Gangitano. “I hope to have some portion of my life living and teaching in another country. Studying abroad has changed my life completely.”
“When a student goes abroad, they have life-changing experiences,' she continued. 'No place is the same, and it is all about being flexible to the environment around you.”