York College SEEK Student Discovers Lure of Italy On Study Abroad Trip

Hopeton Allen wanted a different kind of winter break this year and Italy provided it. The graduating senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Theatre Arts diversified his college experience with a month-long trip as a Study Abroad student in Photography.

“They have you shooting where you’re learning,” said Allen who went to Florence University of the Arts (FUA) with a Queens College/CUNY group. “It was phenomenal. You’re in buildings that are literally from the Renaissance era.” Allen, a SEEK student at York College, took time out of a very busy schedule to experience Italy as a student, upon the advise of former classmate, Alvin Victor, who had spent two weeks studying in France during his junior year at York.

“Alvin told me to take advantage of study abroad, after he came back,” said Allen who credits his mother’s sacrifices with helping to make the trip possible. “It was a great experience.”

Allen and his fellow photographers in the program were told by their American-born professor at FUA to “get lost,” with their cameras and simply shoot whatever appeals to them. And what a shoot it was.

For one whole month he photographed Renaissance buildings, canals, mountains and valleys, on visits to the Duomo in Florence, Wine Country in Tuscany and in Rome and Pisa as well as a visit to Germany.

Allen and his group, who all stayed with local families, also got to indulge in some of Italy’s famous cuisine, which included pizza from the other side of the pie -- making it. FUA provided a cooking workshop for the visiting students as part of the enriching experience.

“I didn’t want to leave,” he recalled with a hint of longing still in his voice. “The country draws you in. Some of the students are staying for the whole semester. I wish I had too.”

Born in Santa Cruz, Jamaica, Hopeton and his siblings joined their parents in New York to finish school. He graduated from Harry S. Truman High School in the Bronx. He now straddles residences in the Bronx with his mother and in Hempstead, Long Island with his father.

Hopeton is also not the only member of the Allen family to call York their academic home. His older sister Simone graduated from York in 2008 as a Psychology major and Kimone, another sister, is currently attending as a Business Administration major.

Allen is a very engaged student who credits Sharlina Goveia, a Counselor in the York College SEEK Program for helping to expedite the trip.

Allen is a member of York’s Haitian Club and the Caribbean Students Association. Off-campus he is part of Project Change, a group, which uses theatrical productions to discuss “taboo” topics such as sex and HIV/AIDS. He plans to attend law school and is now studying for the LSAT Exams.

In addition to Goveia and SEEK director, Dr. Thomas Jordan, Allen also expressed appreciation to Alicia Cesar and Tracey Branch in the SEEK Department as well as Michel Hodge, the acting vice president of Enrollment Management; Larese Miller of the Office of Administrative Affairs and the Queens College Study Abroad Office.

He also wanted to share with fellow-students that on April 3rd Goveia will be hosting, “Credits for Travel,” an information sharing event to be held in Room 1E07. The seminar is open to all students across the college and will address study-abroad opportunities.

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