Monthly Archives: May 2006
Not to be confused with EuroChocolate’s white tents, nor the many food stands that go up at UmbriaJazz, this week in Piazza Italia and all along the Corso is Perugia’s invitation to its “gemelle” – twin sister – cities. There are six of them all together, and if you stroll by from today – the 31st of May – until the 4th of June you can admire the fine craftsmanship of Seattle’s best artists; delight in the mouth-watering Slovenian delicacies brought us by Bratislava; lose yourself in the myriad of colours of the French city of Aix en Provence; taste good home-made popcorn come all the way from Michigan; or just sit back and relax with a refreshing glass of beer from either Tubingen or Potsdam, Germany. Your afternoon ‘pasaggiata’ down Corso Vanucci will be especially merry today with alternating choirs and musical groups in from Seattle and Liek, here to liven the already-bustling streets of Perugia’s Centro Storico.
The city of Perugia is not the only one “twinning” – as the Italians say – with international cosmopolitan centers. The Umbra Institute itself has a special accord with the municipal governments of Seattle and Grand Rapids. As a recent development, Umbra now provides opportunities for financial aid and scholarship opportunities (up to $6000) for students coming to Italy from one of these two cities. Umbra has also hosted a wide array professors and students and promoted inter-cultural exchange between American and Italian Citizens.
Getting back to this week’s event: the annual event is organized by the Comune di Perugia and invites all – especially visitors – to come and take part in festivities. Don’t despair, however, for those of you who don’t make it up to the Corso or into the Piazza during the next few days: wine and beer tasting will go on in various locals all over town – but in these swanky spots it’ll cost you of course, so make haste while the sun shines!
This weekend, forty students and two professors sampled the sunny delights of Sardinia on the Umbra trip. The bus left Perugia on Thursday evening and snaked through the lush hills of Umbria and Lazio, allowing students ample opportunities to capture the whimsical landscapes of Italy on film. From Civitavecchia, students boarded a plush ferry which boasted a cinema, restaurant, and cozy cabins below deck. And soon, they were whisked away to Costa Smeralda, the Emerald Coast of Sardinia, where they embarked on three days of glistening paradise.
After alighting in Baja Sardinia, some students donned their bathing suits and headed straight to the beach, while others found a shady spot in the piazza to savor a gelato. The poolside veranda of the lovely hotel provided a picturesque setting in which to sip a cocktail or nibble an olive, all the while gazing at the dazzling ocean in the distance. Students and professors were treated to lavish meals in the dining room, with selections including everything from traditional pasta to pork to fresh fish, cheese and fruit. On Saturday, the group took a boat tour of the bedazzling Costa Smeralda, resulting in a great number of “oohs” and “ahs” and copious pictures taken. A brief stop in Maddalena paved the way for a morsel of history: students were taken to the Garibaldi Museum, the former home of the famous solider of the Risorgimento who played an important part in the unification of Italy. The boat also stopped for a brief repose on the island of Spargi, where students marveled at the crystalline water and played king-of-the-mountain on the rocky crags. Sunday brought with it more glorious sun and a whole new batch of rosy cheeks and shoulders, and students spent their last day in Sardinia paddle-boating in the Tyrrhenian Sea and wandering through Porto Cervo, a bright little jewel of a port bedecked by flowers in bloom. In the evening, the group boarded the ferry and commenced the journey home, still enveloped in a sense of blissful serenity.
Three days awash in blue and turquoise, brought to a close by forty bronzed students arriving just in time for class on Monday morning. What better way to spend the first weekend in Italy?
>Un Daytrip tutto in italiano quello degli studenti dell’Intensive italian through culture.
Subito dopo pranzo appuntamento puntuali al parcheggio di via Pellini, per dirigerci a Deruta per la visita di una delle più belle e interessanti ditte di maioliche artistiche della zona.
Non parliamo solo di tazzine, vasi, piatti o quant’altro, ma di pezzi artistici unici e di grande valore; Deruta, come sappiamo è famosa in tutta il mondo per la sua produzione in questo settore dell’artigianato. Visitare una delle sue fabbriche ti fa pensare alla fortuna che si ha nel poter vedere con i propri occhi gli artigiani che praticano quest’arte sin da giovani.
Dopo aver dilettato i nostri occhi con i colori delle splendenti maioliche era arrivato il momento di riempire e soddisfare gli altri sensi: olfatto, gusto passando dalle note fruttate del bianco alle sensazioni tanniniche e calde del rosso rubicone.
Esatto, stiamo parlando di vini.
Dopo una visita al museo del vino entriamo nell’Osteria del museo gestita da una delle più grandi aziende vinicole dell’Umbria di fama internazionale: Lungarotti.
E qui che abbiamo trascorso l’ultima ora del nostro pomeriggio, inebriati dalle spiegazioni del Wine Tasting accompagnati da deliziose e tradizionali focacce.
Noi tutti siamo in attesa della prossima….a presto!
The trip described above was in connection with the Intensive Italian Program offered at Umbra during the summer session. Students accepted into this program study Italian not only at Umbra but also at the University for Foreigners, live with each other, converse only in Italian and attend events conducted only in Italian. The daytrip to Deruta and Torgiano was unique in that no English was spoken. Students in the Intensive Italian Program this summer will also participate in walking tours of Perugia, daytrips to Assisi, candlelight dinners, and aperitvi, among other events.
>What’s a mixer without a rabbit in a hat?
Umbra students who attended the welcome buffet at Zibaldone were treated to a special surprise when a local magician stopped by. Both students and professors mingled over drinks and munchies while the “mago” wandered through the crowd, entertaining everyone with a host of tricks. When they weren’t being beguiled, students sipped fruity drinks out of pineapples, swayed their hips to the evening’s soundtrack of old school favorites, met others from Umbra, and brushed up on their language skills with native Italians. After a few hours at Zibaldone, the crowd dispersed and students went out to experience their first night in Perugia without jet lag, although restraint was the word of the evening: after all, Umbra elective courses did start the next day.
All in all, there’s only one way to describe the first few days of life in Perugia: enchanting.
Faculty and staff members gathered last weekend to honor Dr. Charles Jarvis, Program Director of the Umbra Institute, who will be retiring later this month after nearly two years at the Umbra Institute.
Dr. Jarvis was influential in maintaining the academic excellence of the Institute while developing new initiatives. His primary duties as chief academic officer included directing the faculty, coordinating with US colleges and universities, representing the Institute to professional affiliates, and serving as a liaison with city government and other cultural insitutions within Perugia. “Dr. Jarvis has been an inspiration for professors and students and greatly improved the academic program at Umbra,” said Philippa Stannard, professor of fine arts.
During Jarvis’s tenure, eight additional courses were added to the curriculum and ten Ph.D. professors were hired to join the faculty. He oversaw the inauguration of an additional learning center, the increase in library and academic resources, and the addition of on-site learning excursions to the curriculum.
This fall, the Umbra Institute will offer an Honors Program, Field Reseach Seminar, and a Full Immersion option in addition to the General Studies Program. Although Dr. Jarvis will not be present to witness these changes, he was instrumental in their formation.
This spring, Dr. Jarvis signed an historic agreement with the University of Perugia. This relationship allows Umbra students to attend courses taught in Italian within the European educational tradition. The agreement will additionally allow Italian students to take courses with American students at The Umbra Institute. Dr. Jarvis also crafted agreements with the Comune di Perugia and the Ranieri di Sorbello Foundation to improve cultural interaction for students in Perugia.
Dr. Jarvis will leave for the United States later this month, but may return in the future as a professor at the Umbra Institute. “I love Italy and Umbra, and I have been energized in a very positive way in working with such a fine group of people,” said Jarvis.
Before arriving at the Umbra Institute in January 2005, Jarvis had been Professor of History at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was a three-time director of Dickinson’s Center for European Study in Bologna, Italy, and also taught abroad in Malaga, Spain. Jarvis received his B.A. from DePauw University and was later awarded with his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
In photos: Dr. Charles Jarvis signs an historic agreement with the University of Perugia in March 2006; Dr. Jarvis addresses the Spring 2006 student body at orientation.
It was the most fitting way to end the spring semester. Students and staff members came together Friday evening for two purposes – to attend the bi-annual talent show and to say goodbye to friends before leaving for the United States.
Held at a local cultural foundation, the Spring 2006 talent show displayed the creativity of Umbra students. Acts ranged from Jessica Reed’s performance of La Boheme by Puccini to Nicole Magpayo’s hip-hop dance. The 4th-level Italian course sang and danced to famous Italian songs, Eddie Patzsch played guitar along with the voices of Jennifer Marino San and Greg Amoroso, Patrice Forrester took the stage for a solo performance, Chaedria LaBouvier-Robinson delivered some of her own slam poetry, and Bree Barton led a cast of characters mocking a typical semester of activity in Perugia.
After the performances, students enjoyed one last Italian-style aperitivo. Among glasses of Prosecco, students shared memories, swapped email addresses, and took photos with friends. The following day, many students boarded a bus from Perugia to Rome’s airport while others remained in Europe for more personal excursions.
Thanks to the Spring 2006 students for a wonderful semester at the Umbra Institute! We look forward to seeing you in Perugia soon and often! In bocca al lupo!
In photos: Eddie Patzsch accompanies Greg Amoroso’s Umbra parody to “Time of Your Life”; Jessica Reed performs from Puccini’s LaBoheme; Chaedria LaBouvier-Robinson delivers some powerful slam poetry.