English Composition and Literature Instructor at De Anza College since 1997
England is absolutely one of my favorite places on the planet, which is why I have traveled, lived, and studied there for the past 20 years. From coursework at Cambridge University during graduate school in 1993 to my most recent sabbatical at the University of Oxford in 2013, my educational and cultural experiences there have easily been some of the most profoundly enriching I have ever had. Hearing Shakespeare performed at the Globe, walking the pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, and seeing Dickens’ fabled workhouses brings literature to life in a way that changed me, and I know changes students. I am so passionate about the power of studying abroad, I even wrote a literary Blog during my studies and travels detailing a tour of the great writers and texts through Britain including London, Bath, Oxford, Stratford, Cambridge, Canterbury, and Edingburgh. https://jpesano.wordpress.com/
My experience leading ELIT 97 Shakespeare in Performance in Ashland, Oregon for several years and leading the Paris Campus Abroad group in Spring 2007 has allowed me to witness the amazing influence of studying abroad. Not only have I organized courses and taught curriculum, but I also know the excitement and challenge of being marketer, tour guide, budget planner, people herder, cultural mediator, and mentor. Through all of these roles, I have seen students change their perspective on the world and on themselves.
I can’t emphasize enough the power and learning potential of a city like London for an English student. While I will be a guide, facilitator, and ally to the students, London will be the real teacher. It is my hope that these students not only take away a love of the culture and an understanding of writing beyond the page, but also an expanded vision of themselves as global citizens.
English Composition and Literature Instructor at De Anza College since 2005
I am very excited to teach in London for Campus Abroad Summer 2017. I love to travel. I love breaking out of my comfort zone. I feel that anywhere I go, whether it’s an hour away trip in California or an extended trip overseas, I am given the opportunity to see the world, and therefore myself, differently. I believe this approach to travel engenders empathy, understanding, and self-reflection. And this is why I feel that travel is so vital to our students who are growing up in an increasingly diverse global society.
I started travelling as a sophomore in high school. As an exchange student, I lived and studied for a year on the island of Sardinia. During that time, I travelled to Rome, Venice, Pisa and Florence. I was lucky enough to return to Italy during the summer of my sophomore year in college and study at the Universita’ Per Gli Stranieri in Perugia for a quarter. During that time I made it to France, Belgium, and Amsterdam. A year later I spent a summer working with kids on an American military base in Frankfurt, Germany. And years after that, I went on a personal pilgrimage for a month in Ghana, and later, a month travelling through Costa Rica.
Although personal travel is enriching, I am truly inspired when I travel with students. During my eighteen years of teaching, I have organized and led several domestic, student excursions from environmental camping trips in the Chesapeake Bay, and a series of album-recording trips in Cotati, to Jazz and Blues studies in New Orleans. I also organized and led an international trip to Jamaica with a group of eighteen students to study the richness of its culture, focusing on folk literature, culture and music.
Most recently, I spent a month travelling through Ireland, Scotland and England with my wife, which is where I fell in love with the United Kingdom. During this trip, I was struck by two things. First, I felt the richness of the music, both the traditional folk music of Ireland and Scotland, and the contemporary rock and blues of England. The second thing that struck me was the approach to race and class. Being black and in a mixed-race relationship, I felt acutely aware of the reaction to our presence wherever we went—the racial slurs in Ireland were one thing, but I admit that I was somewhat surprised at the subtle prejudice that presented itself in London.
The UK as a whole is going through a very interesting change right now, and I feel that this quarter abroad will be an excellent opportunity to explore, among other things, these issues of multiculturalism, equity and social justice.