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This article examines the role that spatial orientation and location can play on a study abroad program. Jessica Stephenson and M. Todd Harper paired a Google Maps project with autoethnography in order to help students understand their own experience of space abroad as well as how they themselves shaped that space. Students were asked to create a personalized Google Map of the sites that they visited in Rome, Orvieto, Florence, and Montepulciano, Italy. Students then added facts about the sites as well as their own photos and personal experience. They were then asked to use their personalized Google Maps as a heuristic for longer autoethnographic papers relating to the themes of pilgrimage and journey. In so doing, students realized that space is alive, constantly changing and evolving.

Author Bio(s)

Jesscia Stephenson is Associate Professor of Art History and Interim Associate Dean, College of the Arts, Kennesaw State University. She received a doctorate in African art history from Emory University. Her research specialty is the emergence of novel art forms in contexts of change; art, heritage and tourism; and histories of museum collecting and display.

M. Todd Harper is Associate Professor of English, Kennesaw State University. Since 2005, he has directed study abroad programs to Greece, Turkey, and Italy. He now focuses on helping to develop Kennesaw State University’s international facility in Montepulciano, Italy. Since 2010, he has directed 15 programs at the facility, including KSU’s large summer session, its innovative first-year fall program, a culinary program, and a Great Books program.

Emily Klump is from Roswell, GA and is a junior at Kennesaw State University, where she is an English major. She hopes to pursue a career in writing. She is active in the honors program and greatly enjoyed her time as a member of the Great Books Cohort, where she got the opportunity to study abroad in Italy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.