Beatriz C. Fantini

What - or who - is a Vermonter?

To be taken for a local obviously takes more than just enjoying apple pie with cheddar cheese. It is a process that evolves slowly over time.

When I moved to Vermont, 56 years ago, one of the things I was told by many locals who have been living here for years was that you are not a Vermonter until you enjoy apple pie with cheddar cheese and sugar on snow, accompanied by a doughnut and a pickle.

I thought, “How strange!”

All these years later, however, I can now say that I actually enjoy apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese and, as to sugar on snow, I like the caramelized maple syrup and the doughnut but I can skip the pickle. So, perhaps I almost qualify to be a Vermonter.

Actually, the first persons I met when I first came to this area in 1966 were not really Vermonters. With the exception of my landlord in Putney (Henry Bentley), most others who worked at The Experiment (now World Learning) were not natives of Vermont.

Read More

With Afghan resettlement, SIT educators once again 'expected the unexpected'

‘As the program began, we still did not know how many students to expect or when they would arrive. We had no advance information about their ages, their genders, their languages, or their educational levels.’

Experiential education has been at the core of all School for International Training/World Learning programs since the start of the organization in 1932. Whether it's spending a summer abroad, attending a semester of studies abroad, or participating in one of our graduate programs here in Vermont, the emphasis has...

Read More

Russian hostility at the birth of Ukraine’s independence

It was the fall of 1991 - only a few months after Ukraine became an independent nation. I was there with three other women contracted by the U.S. Peace Corps to train local language teachers to teach Ukrainian to the soon-to-arrive first group of Peace Corps volunteers. The group...

Read More


Annual auction supports youth photographers

Is a picture worth a thousand bucks? This could very well be the case during the In-Sight Photography Project Benefit Auction, now underway. Local, national, and international artists have donated 109 works to this annual auction, which started 23 years ago. This special event is the biggest fundraiser activity for the project, with funds providing scholarships for local students to participate in the nonprofit's photography courses. In-Sight was originally founded one day in 1992 when two local educators, Bill Ledger...

Read More

The foreign becomes domestic over time

I grew up in Latin America, mostly in countries where one was considered either “white” (of Hispanic descent), Indian, or a mixture of both. So, I grew up thinking I was white. Then I came to the United States and discovered I was brown. But I was not alone. Many of my friends from Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela who back home were considered “white” were also going through a similar rebranding process here in the U.S. We first became...

Read More

A country goes from riches to rags

It was once the most affluent country in Latin America. The average person owned a car, and even those living in the poor outskirts of its major cities had a refrigerator, a gas stove, and a television set - things then considered luxuries - even when they did not always have access to running water. I lived in Venezuela with my parents and sisters from 1954 to 1964. Exiled from my native Bolivia after a revolution, arriving in the capital...

Read More

The balance of 2020

This has been an incredible year, a year no one will forget. Beginning in January and February, we started to live in anticipation and doubt about COVID-19. In March, the reality of the pandemic hit us hard. And, since then, life has been unusual, unexpected, unbelievable. The balance at the end of the year stands in stark contrast to what we used to consider normal - in all aspects of life. There are significant minuses to this pandemic that go...

Read More

A new program for our changing world

Back in 1932, when Donald B. Watt created the Experiment in International Living, he started a new trend in education. His belief that experience is the best teacher resulted in the idea of sending students abroad in order to learn firsthand about people and places instead of simply reading about them in a classroom setting. Today, the term “experiential education” captures exactly what Watt had in mind when he created one of the premier educational exchange organizations at that time,

Read More