Since coming to Plattsburgh State, Frank Falcone has made an impact by having a double major, a minor, being involved in four clubs and spent the first semester of his junior year in Barcelona, Spain. To say he has spent his time wisely would be an understatement.
Long Island native, Falcone grew up in Massapequa Park. This May, he will be graduating with a double major in Latin American studies and Spanish with a minor in cultural anthropology.
Falcone came here undeclared and had to take many random classes. One of those classes was the introduction to Latin America. This got him interested because all throughout high school he had been learning Spanish and the culture of Latin America.
“I kind of fell into it throughout the years,” Falcone said. “But it all came together.”
Falcone said his major has a pretty good involvement with government organizations.
“After becoming part of the Latin American studies, I found myself in Ottawa asking ambassadors questions about what is happening in their home country. Ottawa got us prepared for our trip to Washington, D.C.,” Falcone said.
In D.C., the group of students represented a country and became the country’s delegates for the trip. This year, their country was Brazil.
“The best part was to learn how to speak in public and how to ask a question by going with the flow and following the current of the conversation.”
“Maybe I’ll be an ambassador one day — who knows?” Falcone said.
He also wants to teach English in a different country. Falcone understands the importance of the English language and wants to help people who are trying to learn.
Falcone even wants to publish his own research material when he travels.
“I want to study the culture, their values and the language,” he said. “I also am into politics, so I want to research about that, too.”
Some of Falcone’s role models are his professors. He said they paid the most attention to his development in school.
“I never had a connection like that before, so that was really cool,” Falcone said.
One professor stood out to him: Marco Turco. Falcone took his organic farming class before he left for Spain. In the class, the students visited farms where each student had to grow their own food crop throughout the semester.
“Frank is a very good student. He participated, and he’s very self-confident in the non-arrogant way,” Turco said.
Turco said Falcone is an intelligent student and committed, and he grasps concepts quickly, then applies them.
Falcone didn’t declare Latin American studies as his major until he got back from his trip in Spain.
When it became time for Falcone to choose a country to study abroad, he first went through the national exchange and thought of going to Puerto Rico. After some thought, and after hearing about so many good experiences, Falcone chose to travel to Barcelona, Spain in his junior year at PSUC.
In Spain, Falcone lived with a host family and a roommate from PSUC, whom he never knew prior.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a better guy to live with,” said Greg Dipierto, former PSUC student.
Dipierto said Falcone is a down-to-earth guy and they bonded over learning Spanish and their love of skateboarding.
“I had the best time abroad. We went to class, walked around the city and traveled as much as we could,” Dipierto said. “He was like my brother when we lived with the host family.”
Dipierto described Falcone as compassionate.
“He’s a reserved guy, not a loud mouth. But once you got to know him, you see he really cares.”
“Living with the host family was awesome,” Falcone said. “I’m not a native Spanish speaker, so the best way to do it is immerse yourself into that language. Living with the host family really taught me a lot because they didn’t speak any English.”
Falcone and Dipierto lived with a 70-year-old woman, her 80-year-old husband and her 92-year-old mother.
“They really treated us really good. Plus, their food is amazing,” Falcone said.
Other than exploring the city of Barcelona, Falcone traveled to St. Sebastian, Portugal and Sicily.
“I love to travel. I want to travel to as many places as possible,” Falcone said.
This past January, he was in Houston, San Diego and Los Angeles. He also spent a night in Tijuana, Mexico.
“Right now for a project, I’m studying the visual art in Tijuana — it’s a big thing,” he said.
“When I graduate, I’ll be able to travel and not having to worry about going back for class,” Falcone said. “After I lifeguard in the summer back home, I’m trying to go to do some volunteer work in September.”
Falcone said some of his options for volunteering are in Mexico, Argentina and Chile.
“Volunteering is a good way to start off and find out what you really want to do,” Falcone said.
Other than volunteering in different countries, Falcone volunteers at a local organization in Long Island called Long Island Food Not Bombs. Local grocery stores, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes, donate food every week so the volunteers can give it away.
“We take the food and give it to low-income communities,” Falcone said. “The volunteers also get a benefit from this; we get food as well.”
“When volunteering, you get to learn a lot,” he said. “I get to learn a lot from the people I help, and they get to learn from me.”
Back at PSUC, Falcone is involved in four different clubs: the Spanish club (Club of Español), the anthropology club, Plattyslack and Plattsburgh Ski & Snowboard.
Falcone originally came to PSUC for lacrosse. He played for a year and a half before it started getting hard to schedule classes around the sport.
“I love action sports: skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, wherever I can get some speed,” Falcone said. “You’ll never see me walking around campus. I’m always on my skateboard or bike.”
Email Samantha Stahl at firstname.lastname@example.org