from the department of communication, harding university

Video: HUF students endure snowstorm to complete 'Mission Impossible'
Written by Kimberley Kokernot and James Buce   
Thursday, 01 April 2010 02:47
Standing at the train station, five Harding students waited uninspired by their platform for their train to Perugia and the task of “Mission Impossible.”

“Mission Impossible” is a photo quest assignment that HUF students must embark on during their semester overseas. Broken up into small groups, students from the program are sent to cities across Italy with a list of pictures that they must take in order to complete the mission.


The five that waited for Perugia were not excited about spending the day in a new environment or communicating in a language still unfamiliar to them. Their attitudes showed on the platform.


“If we didn’t have to take pictures, we wouldn’t be here,” junior Annette Spoto said.


Following a two hour train ride, the students attitudes had not improved and would continue to dissolve as the weather began to turn in Perugia, the small village in central Italy that serves as the capital of Umbria. The students trudged off of the train and into the town, hoping only to finish the assignment and taste some of the city's well-regarded chocolate.


The students, unaware and uncomfortable with the language, began to challenge each other to complete the mission they were facing. With light snow falling, the students struggled to find the center of town as their irritation grew.


“It's very frustrating because you don't know where you're going, and you just pray that by the end of the day, you accomplish your goal,” sophomore Natasha Delgado said.


After a small success in finding the right train, the students wandered around the city searching for a historical well that, to them, held no significance. Their frustrations grew as the walk seemingly got longer and the weather continued to get worse.


It was not until one of the students asked, in Italian, where they would venture upon the well that they were able to accomplish the task. But as they succeeded in locating the landmark, the weather continued to decline.


Following the well, the students complained amongst one another about the mission and having to take all of the pictures in the snow filled weather. At this point, the students wanted nothing more than to have their day in Perugia end.


They were cold, wet and could not understand the purpose of the assignment. Why be in Perugia? Why learn about this city? Standing together in a small alley, they asked each other questions and expressed their frustrations. But across the street, one store stood open during the storm.


Sweet Sweet Eats was the message across the doorway, and the sight was overwhelming for the five freezing American students.


Venturing across the street, the students entered the store that answered all of their questions. Sweet Sweet Eats delivered to the students the promise of chocolate. A small store filled with hundreds of candies and chocolates had the students staring wide-eyed in the doorway.


The group began buying more chocolate than they could imagine. Like kids in the Willy Wonka’s Wonderland, their eyes much outweighed their stomachs.


Once their bags were filled with the local treats, they began once again on their journey home.


Though the journey began with bad attitudes, the group came together on their train home filled with chocolates from a little store that was barely visible during the storm that almost ruined the day.


Watch the video below to see five HUF students exploring Perugia in order to complete "Mission Impossible."



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