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International Education Fund Gives Student Chance of a Lifetime

International Education Fund Gives Student Chance of a Lifetime

Posted: March 18, 2015

Buffalo State theater major Rebecca Cannizzaro always knew she wanted to incorporate international travel into her education. In the spring of 2014 during her sophomore year, she got the chance to study on the other side of the world. Through the college’s Study Abroad Program, she spent a semester at the University of South Australia.

“I’ve always had an adventurous spirit, and I love exploring new places and trying new things,” said Cannizzaro, who grew up an only child in Lancaster, New York. “Because I’m also a big animal lover, the Australia program was appealing with its deserts and rainforests and just about every ecological structure you can think of.”

She traveled alone to Adelaide, where the East Campus is located, took a full slate of classes, landed a role in a play, and traveled along the eastern coast of Australia and through parts of New Zealand where she saw some of those ecological wonders she had dreamed of.

The eye-opening experience almost didn’t happen.

When she first learned of the Australia option, the cost seemed prohibitive. She would need to pay for the trip herself and funds were tight. However, Cannizzaro who is as resourceful as she is brave, found a campus fund that helped defray the costs—the International Education Fund, which is funded through Buffalo State’s annual Faculty and Staff Appeal. She worked and saved for the remainder.

“I would be a totally different person without this trip,” she said. “The things I learned being on my own and being in situations where I had to make decisions and learn about other cultures made me more equipped for life.”

During her travels, she made a point to talk to Aborigines, who tend to live separately from other Australians, and noticed similarities between their struggles and those of Native Americans.

“Everywhere there are social issues that connect us,” she said. “It’s so important to not only be able to make those connections, but also to work toward solutions to problems that exist everywhere. We’re all people, after all.”

After she graduates from Buffalo State in 2016, Cannizzaro is considering graduate school for theater, as well as a stint with the Peace Corps. She said her experience in Australia—along with a more recent trip to Rwanda with the Anne Frank Project—bolstered her desire to see as much of the world as possible.

To see how you can help students like Cannizzaro through the 2015 Faculty and Staff Appeal, contact Claire Collier at (716) 878-5206.  

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