Friday, June 22, 2012

More Articles from my Internship!

Hello everyone!
Sorry for being incommunicado for the last few weeks! I've been really focused on my internship and have been writing a lot of stories! Here are the newest ones since the last post:

Dorchester Schools Win Awards for Healthy Initiatives 

Best Educators of the Year 

Mayor Chooses Members of Fairmount Advisory Board 

Dot Talent Fuels Baseball Team's Winning Ways  (This was my first story above the fold on the front page - with my own original picture too!)

- Dot Descendants Celebrations

- Fairmount Group's First Meeting (Second story on the front page above the fold!)

- Dot Native a Soccer Missionary (Front page below the fold!)

- St. Mark's Episcopal one step closer to National Register listing

- Sheriff's Deputies Cited for 'Heroic Actions' 

- School Committee Takes Hard Look at K-8 Model

I've been learning a lot from all my internships and meeting a lot of really cool people! That's what I really love about the internship – writing so many feature stories and getting to meet so many interesting people in both Dorchester and Boston.  I'm learning how to handle myself as a journalist in professional environments, think on my feet, ask the tough questions, and be as thorough, but as concise, as possible with my writing.  I'm experiencing some situations – like school committee hearings and mayoral-elected board meetings – that are completely new to me, so they are really learning experiences.

Finally, I've learned to dress for any kind of assignment since I never know from day to day what I will be covering (aka I covered a baseball game wearing a dress and low heels, but heels nonetheless and my feet were not happy afterward) and how to work with media relations people to get the information needed.  Media relations employees seemed to become the bane of my existence during the past few weeks as I felt like I was constantly chasing them down, but I tried to be as polite and accommodating as possible so I could get the information needed for my stories.

I hope you enjoy my stories! If you have any questions about my internship or my life at St. Michael's College, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (@LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).  I will do my best to answer any question!
Ciao for now!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cooking in Cape Cod

Since I'm interning in Boston for the summer, I have been staying with my Uncle at his house in Somerville.  It just so happens he also has a house in Cape Cod, so we will be spending most of the weekends there.

Uncle Rick got his shellfishing license in Cape Cod this summer, so we are able to go get fresh shellfish on Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday (but only once a week so we don't overfish).  We tried our hand at collecting mussels yesterday.  It was raining all day yesterday, so the first time we went out, we were not able to find any and it started to rain on us while we were looking.  We did not stay very long, and we did not quite know what we were looking for either.  I decided to stay in while Uncle Rick went shopping for plants for his garden that afternoon. He came back at around 3 p.m. with a half bucket of mussels!  He had gone without me! (I didn't have the proper gear anyways.)

Today we cooked our mussels for lunch, and they were delicious! We cooked them in a curry butter sauce on the grill. Since my uncle was working in his garden for most of the afternoon, I was in charge of preparing the mussels.  I do not have very much practice with cooking, so it was a slow process, but I think they came out pretty well in the end! Here are some pictures of the finished product:
Checking to see if the mussels opened on the grill! 


The finished product!

Mussels in my bowl.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Study Abroad Re-Cap: Classes

Since I've mainly written about the adventure side of study abroad, I thought I might write about the "study" part since part of the experience is taking classes.  Every study abroad program is different.  Some offer a greater variety of classes than others, and some even teach the classes in the language of the country.  Your experience all depends on which program you pick - and believe me, there are plenty of programs to choose from.

I decided upon AIFS in Florence for a few reasons:

1. The excursions included looked awesome.

2. The meal tickets seemed like they would help finances a lot.

3. Though there was not a terribly wide range of classes, the classes that Richmond University did have looked very interesting and appealed to my history major.

I ended up taking 4 classes as well as volunteering for an English newspaper throughout the semester.  The classes I ended up taking were History of the Italian Mafia, History of Italian Cinema and Society, High and Late Renaissance Art and Basic Spoken Italian.

Saint Mike's made it a pretty painless process to choose classes abroad and fill out paperwork to get credit for the classes.  I started out by making myself a 4-year plan, laying out what requirements I had already fulfilled and which requirements I still needed to fulfill.  With the requirements I still needed to fulfill, I figured out which classes should be taken in which semester.  Many of the classes I still had to take were electives in my majors, so it was fairly easy to choose classes.  History of the Italian Mafia fulfilled an upper level history class, History of Italian Cinema fulfilled a journalism elective, and I was required by my program to take Italian so I would be able to survive in the culture.  I took High and Late Renaissance Art as my first ever art history class just for fun.  I figured it would help me see some of the sites.  I also took a two-week language intensive in Siena, which everyone else had to take as well.

The classes themselves were difficult enough that they were college classes, but they were not extremely demanding.  I would not say I took a semester off (as many claim a study abroad semester is a vacation), but the program and professors made sure to leave enough wiggle room for traveling and cultural experiences.  The most difficult part of the semester was mid-semester when we had midterms followed almost immediately by mid-semester research papers.  At that point as well, homesickness is the most prominent, so it was a tough time all-around. My friends and I made sure to support each other through our academics (my friend Molly was especially great since she let Liz and me come over her house almost every night because our internet was terrible) but we also looked out for each other socially and took breaks and adventures when necessary.
Katherine and Lindsey work on their mid-semester papers during our excursion to Venice.

None of my classes were taught by Americans, which made the experience that much more enriching.  Three of my classes were taught by native Italians and the fourth class was taught by a native Czech.  I really liked all of my classes and felt like I got a lot out of them.  By the end of the semester, I knew how to speak enough Italian to survive daily life, I knew all the places to find awesome Renaissance art (and the history behind the art pieces as well as how to analyze them) and I knew lots of facts about Italian history through the lens of the cinema and the mafia.  It definitely helped to be right in the country (or even the city) when learning about certain things because you could then go out and experience the things after learning about them.  I don't think the classes are supposed to be challenging as much as they are supposed to be culturally enriching.  It was a great semester.

If you have any questions about my study abroad experience or my life at Saint Michael's College, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).

I'm a published writer!

During the two weeks I've been working at The Dorchester Reporter, I've already had about 6 articles published (only 5 of which are online) and 2 original pictures published.  Check out the work I've done so far:

Cash Mobs in Dorchester
Biking from the Bean to the Big Apple 
Dorchester Day Parade Chief Marshal Bio
Little Miss/Young Miss Dorchester Represent Dot With Confidence, Poise
Boston Valedictorians' Luncheon with Mayor Menino

If you have any questions about my internship or life at St. Michael's College, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or send me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).  I will do my best to answer whatever question you might have!

Study Abroad Re-Cap: The Tivoli Villas

On my very last day in Rome, I decided to go on the optional field trip to some beautiful villas in an area near Rome called Tivoli.  I later found out that I would not have a chance to see the pope if I hadn't gone to the villas, but I do not regret my decision one bit!

It ended up being just me and my friend Katherine out of our group of friends who went on the trip, so of course, we were bus buddies!  The first villa we went to was once owned by the Roman emperor Hadrian.  Now the villa is merely ruins of the tall structures that once stood on that land.  My favorite parts of that villa were seeing the old Roman baths and also the reflection pools around the villa.  This place was cool, but I was still too asleep (and too sick) to really appreciate the ruins.  Plus, I had already seen a ton of other cool Roman ruins during the days leading up to my villa visit.  The first villa paled in comparison to the second one.
The sweet dog who met us at the entrance of Hadrian's villa.

The layout of the villa as seen in Hadrian's time.  
A reflection pool.

Larger than life ruins.

Another reflection pool, but with statues.

What looks to be an old corridor or bath.

The second villa, Villa D'Este, was almost directly in the center of the Italian town of Tivoli.  The town was high up on a hill, so I knew this villa would have great views of the surrounding countryside.  This villa did not disappoint as it not only had a spectacular view, but it also had hundreds of water fountains and spouts.  That meant tons of water pictures.  I was absolutely in heaven.
Typical old Italian man in Tivoli.

The entrance to Villa D'Este.

The view from Villa D'Este. 

The levels of the villa.

Villa D'Este was simultaneously a photographer's dream come true and worst nightmare.  It was heaven because the variety of pictures I could take there was awesome - not to mention running water and reflection photography! I was playing with shutter speeds like it was my job.  However, because there was such a variety of photos to be taken, it was difficult to actually leave the place.  It kept sucking me back in with it's beautiful views and breathtaking water fountains, and I almost did not have time to eat lunch before we got on the bus to head back to Florence.
Fountains, fountains, and more fountains! 

An especially beautiful fountain! 

Looking down.

Reflections :) 

Which one is real? 

Cool water spout.

Villa D'Este was commissioned by a Cardinal who wanted to be the Pope, but was appointed governor of Tivoli instead.  The way my tour guide explained it, it almost seemed as if Villa D'Este was given to this Cardinal as a sort of consolation prize.  The grounds were gorgeous, and there were levels upon levels of gardens, fountains, and green grass, not to mention the spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.  I couldn't help but think I wouldn't mind having that as a consolation prize.
The water organ we saw in Villa D'Este. The organ plays because of water pressure.

The day itself was a ton of fun.  Katherine and I had a blast running through the gardens, snapping pictures and enjoying the scenery.  When we finally left, we explored the town center a bit.  There were a ton of stands and food carts out because Tivoli was getting ready to celebrate Carnivale, so we took advantage of the kebab stand (my very first kebab!) and the candy stand.  It was the perfect end to a hectic weekend in Rome.

If you have any questions about my study abroad experience or my life at St. Michael's College, please do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).  I will do my best to answer whatever question you may have!