The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Italian High School Students Visit Bucknell

Juliana+Rodrigues%2C+Special+Features+Editor+%2F+The+Bucknellian
Juliana Rodrigues, Special Features Editor / The Bucknellian

This past Sunday, eight high school students from Italy arrived at Bucknell’s Campus. While staying the week, the exchange students will be experiencing and learning about university life in America. 

10 years ago, during the 2013-14 academic year, Alessandro Andreani was an Italian teaching assistant at Bucknell. After becoming a teacher at Deledda International School (DIS) in Genoa Italy, Andreani has coordinated with Adjunct Associate Professor Lisa Perrone and the Bucknell Italian Studies Department to set up the exchange program. Aside from teaching Italian at Bucknell, Professor Perrone is also the co-chair of the Bucknell Language Council and part of the Internationalization Lab team at Bucknell. 

While Italian students get the chance to spend time here on campus, one Bucknell student has historically traveled to Italy in May as a teaching assistant hosted by an Italian family. The program was originally created and took place for the first time in 2019. After taking a two year break due to Covid-19, they have been able to continue with it this year. 

This past June, Psychology major and Italian Studies minor, Sarah Policano ’25 spent four weeks in Genoa, Italy. Policano worked as an English language teaching assistant at the DIS school. Her participation in the program made the exchange connection between Bucknell and DIS.

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Traveling to America this week, the group spent a weekend in New York City before making the commute to Lewisburg. On Monday during their sunset picnic on the quad, Professor Perrone, Andreani and various students shared their thoughts and gratitude for the exchange program. 

“For both Bucknell and the high school students, it’s a mind opening experience because it allows them to interact with people of different backgrounds,” Andreani said. “They can share different thoughts, opinions and make comparisons between their cultures. It also enhances students’ experiences for those studying Italian at Bucknell by engaging in conversation with native speakers.”

Students will be spending the week taking classes in departments they are interested in as well as visiting Italian classes of all levels. They will be collaborating with Bucknell students to work on projects centered around Italian culture and language. The Italian Club is also working with visiting students to have them participate in different activities. 

“This program creates a true exchange for all involved,” Professor Perrone said. “Bucknell students experience a week of language immersion and gain perspective on Italian culture, while the students from Genoa experience first-hand a week in the life as a student in a liberal arts university.”

“I feel like I’m in a Gilmore Girls episode,” is how Sofia Zanetti, a 16-year-old student from Italy, described her time thus far at Bucknell. She continued on to say she loved the sense of community the campus radiated.

Marta Accomazzo, another Italian student, expanded on the application process and her intentions for coming to Bucknell. She recalled her experience writing a letter about all the reasons she wanted to travel to an American University.

“In a short time I have to decide what I want to do for university,” Accomazzo said. “I didn’t know what universities were like, especially universities abroad. I love to meet new people and was excited to learn about what university is like.” Accomazzo continued on with appreciation for the friendly students as well as how large and put together the campus feels.

Martina Belloni expressed her interest in pursuing a Master’s degree at an American university after first completing her undergraduate degree in Europe. The Bucknell and DIS exchange program has given her an opportunity to learn what her experience in America could be like. 

“All I ever thought about American college was Gilmore Girls or what I saw in movies. I wanted to see what it was really like and if it was the same,” Belloni said. “I think the Bucknell campus is amazing, and the people are very nice. The lessons have been interesting and welcoming. I took a philosophy class, and I am now doubting my existence.”

Bucknell students also shared their excitement for hosting the students traveling from Italy. Political Science major and Italian minor Sarah Downey ’25 explained her fascination with hearing native Italian outside of the classroom setting. She shared her hope for eventually becoming fluent speaking in the language and how this has benefited that goal.

Massimo Fuduli ’25 shared “I’m excited to live with native Italian, Filippo, for a week. I look forward to learning about our cultural differences.”

Andreani of the DIS school expressed his gratitude to Professor Perrone and the department for their enthusiasm and welcoming attitudes. He complimented the passion that each class has for Italian studies. 

“An exchange like this creates a unique opportunity for Bucknell students to not only practice their Italian language skills, but to get to know students who have a perspective that is, in many ways, different from theirs,” Perrone explained. “Our hope is that a Bucknell education will help our students become global citizens, and an experience such as this one helps them get one step closer to that goal.”

Bucknell and DIS hope to continue this exchange program in the years to come. Their main goals consist of, “widening horizons and perspectives for students on both sides of the Atlantic and making Italian language and cultural experience more tangible for Bucknell University students,” said Perrone.

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Juliana Rodrigues
Juliana Rodrigues, Special Features Editor

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