A Week in the Life: An Italian exchange program

Helen Lauterbach, Contributing Writer 

From Sept. 8 to Sept. 14, the University’s Italian Studies Program is hosting 10 high school students from Deledda International School in Genoa, Italy. Alessandro Andreani, the Italian students’ teacher and trip chaperone, was a teacher’s assistant at the University six years ago, and additionally wrote for The Bucknellian during his time here. For the first time since then, Andreani is back at the University, accompanying his 10 eleventh-year Italian exchange students.

Associate Professor of Italian Lisa Perrone has also been mentoring the Italian students during their visit at the University. In addition to communicating with the students, Perrone has been involving them in her introductory Italian 102 class. “The students attend an IB school in Italy and the purpose of their visit is to spend a ‘week in the life’ of a U.S. college student and to collaborate with our Italian students in class and other activities,” Perrone said. “The students will be hosted on campus by our own Italian studies students and will attend various classes, Residential College events, [and] Italian Club events throughout the week.” Additionally, the Office of Admissions and International Student Services have helped organize some of the logistics behind the University’s host program.

Through this ‘Week in the Life’ program, the University hopes the Italian students are able to gain a taste of the “college experience” and learn more about the University. In addition to attending various campus events and classes in the Italian Studies Department while on campus, the exchange students are experiencing the University’s residential living. During their stay, the students are living in dorm rooms with their University student hosts. This exchange also offers some of our study-abroad students the opportunity to visit the Deledda International School.

Victoria Lombardo, one of the Italian students in the ‘Week in the Life’ program, notes the unique experience of participating in several University classes, some of which are held in her native language. Since the beginning of her stay at the University, Lombardo has attended Italian 101, along with other advanced Italian classes — courses in which fluent conversations are conventional. “I was impressed to see the Italian 202 class where the students were having full conversations and understanding each other really well,” Lombardo said. In addition to assisting with classes in the Italian Studies Department, Lombardo has also attended global management, politics, and film courses at the University.

Lombardo and Italian exchange student Nikita Caneva were both surprised by how casual the University’s classroom settings are. “There was even a student wearing pajamas in class!” Lombardo said.

While the pajamas in class came as a shock to the students, both Caneva and Lombardo enjoyed the “campus feel” of the University. They particularly liked seeing students waving to each other on the way to class and hanging out in the common rooms of dorms. On the Deledda International School’s campus, Caneva and Lombardo remark, this aspect of closeness is less common due to their academic buildings being more spread out and the overall atmosphere being more formal.

Giuliana Ferrara ’22 is hosting an Italian student in her dorm and said that the program is a “great opportunity” because the Italian exchange students “bring their experience and their knowledge to the classroom.”

“It’s just nice to see a different perspective of life and to get to talk to people who have something completely different than what I have,” Ferrara said. Noting the importance of studying abroad, Ferrara sees the exchange program’s reciprocal nature as advantageous. “To actually live in Italy would be really cool,” Ferrara said. “I never had that experience so they can tell me what it’s like there [and] how their culture is different than ours.”

Evidently, this ‘Week in the Life’ program not only benefits the host students, who can practice their Italian and learn about Italian culture firsthand, but also benefits the Italian exchange students, who are exposed to and immersed in a foreign culture.


(Visited 391 times, 1 visits today)