Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Closing Note

To echo the students' oft-heard comments, Seminar Abroad 2012:  London Olympics was a nonstop whirlwind consisting of one incredible experience after another!  It seemed like each day presented us with new and exciting adventures that surpassed those of the day before.  The students got very little sleep as we easily crammed two (or even three) weeks worth of activities into ten days, but I think to a person they felt that they got a lot back in return for their sacrifice. 

For me, the highlight was seeing the students step up to seize every opportunity that came their way.  From not ever being late for a scheduled function and presenting their research topics at 7 a.m. seminar to exploring the UK's historic and cultural institutions while engaging foreigners and navigating the subway on their own, the students demonstrated dedication, initiative, and resourcefulness.  By going all out with the face and body paint, and adorning themselves in red, white, and blue, they singlehandedly created a frenzied atmosphere that attracted unprecedented international media attention for Western New England University!  The students displayed their patriotism and national pride in a foreign country as they cheered Team USA to victory . . . on two separate occasions!  Parents (and grandparents) can be proud that these students comported themselves as model goodwill ambassadors for their home communities, WNE, and the United States of America!  Mission accomplished.

Monday, August 6, 2012

RJ Suhre

“I will never forget the memories we created for ourselves and shared together; the entire trip was so surreal.”

--RJ Suhre

Laura Madaio

“This experience has opened my eyes to many things, making me more open to peoples and cultures of other countries."

--Laura Madaio

Nick Varney

“Surreal.  It has been the best week of my life.  To experience the Olympic Games has been a privilege for which I am truly grateful.”

--Nick Varney

Jason Titelbaum

“This course influenced me to try some new things and not be afraid to travel and experience what the world has to offer.”

--Jason Titelbaum

Lydia Lefevre

“Simply amazing!  And I have a much more open mind to trying new things and meeting different people in a foreign place.”

--Lydia Lefevre

Jennifer Mears

“I learned so much and it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life so far.”

--Jennifer Mears

Emily Savino

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and filled with nothing but memories.  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

--Emily Savino

Dennis Rinaldi

“I learned a lot about myself on this trip, including my capacity to interact with people from other countries and find out what they have to say and how much we have in common.”

--Dennis Rinaldi

Heather Mears

“There is no way to describe this trip to explain how amazing it was.  It was a great new experience and makes me want to travel more.”

--Heather Mears

Marisa Harris

“The only thing to say is ‘amazing.’  It was educational, fun, enriching, unique, and incredibly exciting to be in London for the 2012 Olympic Games.”

--Marisa Harris

Maria Francese

“Amazing!  Between what I saw, the people I met, and the way I got to represent the USA, I couldn’t be more proud to be an American and student at WNE.”

--Maria Francese

Ryan Coseo

“Looking back on what we did was unreal.  Representing our country wearing red, white, and blue was awesome.  It was simply amazing.”

--Ryan Coseo

Dan Colton

“I would describe my experience as awesome, amazing, breathtaking, and once-in-a-lifetime.  No other trip will ever come anywhere close to this one.”

--Dan Colton

Anthony Camardi

“This course far exceeded my expectations.  Not many people in the world get these opportunities and I will have lifelong memories because of it.”

--Anthony Camardi

Lauren Silvis

“Outstanding, stunning, brilliant, incredible, unfathomable.”

--Lauren Silvis

Oh, Say Can You See

Catch a glimpse of the WNE students just before tip off of the women's basketball game between the USA and Turkey during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.  What a thrill it was to hear our national anthem . . . at the Olympics . . . in London!

Video: WNE Cheering Section

WNE students cheer the USA Women's basketball team on to victory over Turkey (89-58).  From the zoom out, you can see the prime location of our seating!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Video: All WNE Olympic Dance Contest

Anthony Camardi, Micaela Hamakawa, and Dennis Rinaldi provide some hilarious half-time entertainment at the Basketball Arena at Olympic Park during the women's doubleheader pitting Croatia against the Czech Republic, and Team USA against Turkey.  The video runs a bit long at 8:11 and follows a dance segment by the Red Foxes from the Ukraine, but it is well worth it!  Trust me on this.  Also, listen carefully for the Western New England University shout out at about the 3:40 mark.  What a night!

Olympic Stadium

Scenes from inside Olympic Stadium on opening day of the athletics (track & field) competition.  The Union Jack was out in force, as the Brits were hell bent on seeing that heptathlete Jessica Ennis won the gold -- which she did -- for the home team!  The crowd of 80,000 was impressive, but our seats just eight rows up from the track were even more so!

MLB International

On Friday, we had our last scheduled meeting on the program with a visit to the MLB International offices for a briefing by managing director Clive Russell, who told students that his office is responsible for promoting baseball in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, in addition to licensing the MLB and team logos throughout Europe.

BBC Interview

Even though I could not find the BBC interview of Jason Titelbaum and Heather Mears done on August 3 at Stratford Station outside of Olympic Park, this pic with the following caption does appear on the BBC London web site.
"A group of sports management students and teachers from Western New England University in Massachusetts, US, came down especially to have fun while studying. The only downside for them was a 'lack of sleep' as they took in the Games, in addition to Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor and London in 10 days."

BBC link:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19116205

More Celebrity Pics

At the Gloucester Road Tube Station in Kensington, where Captain Stars and Stripes and his squad of  "Go U-S-A" partisans are accosted by media  and onlookers.

Leading the Way

Dan Colton readies "Dr. Caprio" to take the point and lead the 21-member WNE delegation through the crush of the crowd at Olympic Park.

Courtesy Visit to Japan House

Dr. Dan Covell, Jenn Mears, and Heather Mears at Japan House.

GB at Stonehenge

More Jumping for Joy

Too funny!

Here's Looking at You, Kids!

On our way home from Olympic Park on a tube train after cheering the USA women's basketball team on to victory over Turkey!

More Scenes from Oxford

A few of the usual suspects on tour at top; at bottom, "Msgr Caprio" welcomes Jason Titlebaum to Christ Church College.

World's Bigggest

This McDonald's inside Olympic Park is the world's largest fast-food store at 3,000 square feet, and which serves up to 1,200 people per hour!  Alas, it will hold this title briefly, because this location will be bulldozed after the close of the Paralympic Games this summer.  Still, it is quite the coup for McDonald's because there is nary evidence of another commercial brand to be found anywhere inside the vastland of Olympic Park!

Outside Olympic Stadium

Dan Colton, Heather Mears, Jenn Mears, Laura Madaio, RJ Suhre, Micaela Hamakawa, Nick Varney, Emily Savino, Jason Titelbaum, and Kate Walker stop for a photo-op in front of Olympic Stadium.  At left is the twisting metal structure known as The Orbit, which stands 377 feet tall and contains two observation floors and even a full-service restaurant.

Lovely Lassies

More of the Red, White, and Blue!

Scenes of rational exuberance at the women's basketball and volleyball venues.

Awash in Purple

More scenes from Wimbledon.  At top, the Harrison Boys get ready to sing in the rain with their purple brellies!

Meeting Kerri Strug

One of the many highlights for Teddi-Jann Covell in London was meeting U.S. Olympic gymnast and gold medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Kerri Strug, at the Visa VIP Lounge at Pall Mall.