Summer Plans Series: When in Rome, Help the Homeless

By Cody McConnell ‘14
University Communications

Sometimes, you need to do what you want to do in life, according to Wallis Nash ’15, an international relations and anthropology dual major and French minor, who did an internship this summer in Rome, Italy.

“I decided I’m too young to do what’s practical over what I want to do,” said Nash. “I also really wanted to do an internship so I could get international work experience.”

Earlier this summer, Nash learned basic Italian and participated in IES Abroad, where she interned at Europe Consulting. The social cooperative helps to reintegrate homeless individuals into society by rebuilding their self esteem through a variety of programs. One of the programs, called Bike 95, requires homeless individuals to maintain and rent bicycles to people.

IMG_2969“I translated the Bike 95 website from Italian into English, French, and Spanish,” stated Nash.  Along with other interns, Nash produced a promotional video for Bike 95 using stop motion, an animation technique.  Nash also took pictures for another stop motion for a different project called Gare Solidaire, a collaboration among 12 train stations across Europe working to decrease homelessness.

“I was able to help the homeless people in Rome, and the promotional videos I made will continue to help them,” said Nash. She also admitted that she learned a lot about herself and grew from the experience. “I learned a lot about cooking for myself and not relying on all of my needs being in, or around, my dorm building,” said Nash. She also learned about the differences between United States and Italian culture.

This story is part of the Summer Plans Series, a collection of stories about how undergrads at the University of Rochester are spending their summer. Know of someone doing something cool over break? Email The Buzz ( and tell us all about it!

Rochester Student Wins Study Abroad Facebook Photo Contest

Center for Study Abroad – University of Rochester junior Mary Pilarz was recently selected as the winner of an IES Study Abroad photo contest.  From March 30 through April 5, IES Abroad asked their Facebook fans to help them choose the 2013-14 comprehensive catalog cover photo. Five cover options were posted to Facebook and fans voted by “liking” their favorite.

Pilarz’s photo of students riding camels in the Sahara Desert during a field trip with the IES Abroad Rabat program in Morocco received the most votes, with 487 likes. A native of Buffalo, NY, Pilarz spent the fall 2011 semester on the IES program in Rabat. She is double majoring in music and biology.

One Facebook user commented that “just seeing this on the cover of IES brochures would make me study abroad!” Another student who participated in the Rabat program shared a fun fact about Pilarz’s attempt to take the winning photo, noting that a sandstorm damaged her camera as she snapped the picture.

Another University of Rochester student, Nicole Socash, also was one of the five finalists in the competition for a photo she took while studying with IES Abroad in Christchurch, New Zealand.

IES Abroad is one of the nation’s oldest and largest study abroad providers and enrolls more than 5,500 students from 185 U.S. colleges and universities annually. With nearly 100 high-quality academic study abroad programs and internship opportunities in 34 cities, the organization is dedicated to fostering cultural immersion and intercultural development. Since its founding in 1950, nearly 80,000 students have participated in IES Abroad programs around the world in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Article courtesy of Jacqueline Levine, director of the Center for Study Abroad & Interdepartmental Programs. Photo courtesy of Mary Pilarz.