Yearly Archives: 2007
Please take a few moments to view the 2007 Holiday greeting from the Umbra Institute (click photo):
Season’s Greetings from the members of the Umbra administration and staff!
To the Fall class of 2007,
Perugia is a lonely place right now. After your busses rumbled away last Friday night, something changed about our hilltop town; a certain excitement that had been so wonderfully present for the last 100 some odd days meandered down into the Umbrian valley, leaving cobblestone streets, cafés, all those little haunts, nooks, and tiny crannies bereft of your spectacular vitality. Not even the snowball fight that Mauro, Lindsey and Tyler had in Piazza Morlacchi later that night could lift their spirits (though admittedly, it was really funny when Lindsey hit Mauro in the face…)
Our classrooms are empty- Mauro doesn’t know what to do with his time (there’s not a computer in sight) and Zach’s been forced to try out his jokes on unsuspecting Italians (they laugh even less than you did at orientation). Parma is rejoicing because they don’t have to make any more panini, but understandably sad because they just lost 25% of their daily clientele. And if the steps could speak, they would surely miss the constant laughter you brought them every day, even when it was freezing outside. Indeed, if these walls could talk, if our arches and palaces, piazzas and fountains were given the gift of speech—but for the briefest of moments—they would no doubt wonder where you had gone, and when you would be coming back.
And when you do decide to come back (trust us, you will), remember that you’ll always have a home at the Umbra Institute. You’re part of a family now, a huge community of people who decided to take a risk and sail a little bit beyond the horizon line, into waters that tested you, made you laugh and made you cry, angered you and inspired you, but above all, waters that made you grow as a person. Hoping to see you soon…
The Umbra Institute
In the past few days, these presentations have attracted the friends and fellow students of the presenters, as well as members of the Umbra faculty and staff. Some of the first presentations given displayed a fine semester’s work for each Italian class. Students taught their classmates about such diverse subjects as chocolate, viticulture, and the Italian family.
The presentations continued on Monday and Tuesday with the full-immersion students at the University for Foreigners, all of whom presented on academic themes, in Italian.
Yesterday the Perugia Practicum class took their own creative turn, presenting their well-researched itineraries of the city, as well as their Google Map for would-be tourists. And last, but certainly not least, Professor Shaw’s business students stepped to the podium to submit sleek, sharp presentations on the likes of SACI and Ducati.
Benfatto! Well done, ragazzi!
Yesterday night was Umbra’s semi-annual talent show, one of the closing events of the semester. The University of Perugia’s student union, called 100Dieci, was packed with Umbra students (and their Italian and other
foreign friends) for yesterday’s performances, which showcased the varied talent of the student body. Krzysztof started off the show on the piano, and he was followed by Alex Streiff on the guitar, then a duet my Michael DePace and Elizabeth Napier.
The Italian classes contributed a number of songs - some Christmas songs, some not – and the show finished with an encore byDePace and Napier, and the traditional southern Italian Christmas song, “Mauro The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” sung in unison to Umbra’s own Mauro Renna.
In the pictures: Krzysztof playing the piano; Michael DePace and Elizabeth Napier performance; Italian 310-B class singing all together.
Tuesday night saw the Umbra Art Studio transformed temporarily into the Umbra Art Gallery, where students of photography instructor Philippa Stannard showcased their finer black and white accomplishments of the semester. Students had the opportunity to discuss their work with those in attendance, while enjoying locally made torta al testo, an Umbrian flatbread with rucola and prosciutto on top. All in all, the affair proved a thoughtful and bright way to reflect on an unforgettable fall spent abroad.
Then Wednesday night students of Professor Cynthia Clough’s creative nonfiction writing class presented some of their best essays that will be included in the Umbra Institute’s fifth literary anthology. From a small stage at Perugia’s Loop Café, to a crowd of more than fifty, students read pieces that ranged from amusing reflections on their relationships with food (“Ahh, gelato” was a frequent refrain) to ponderings of the meaning of this semester, and the meaning of their fast-approaching departure.The night was rounded out by Professor Clough herself, who (along with her dog Desireé), read some of her “Monteluco Musings” essays. Thanks and congratulations to all the students!
>In order to satisfy the urge to drink hot chocolate in the mountains, Emily Strup, Elyse Akhbari and Hannah Fenlon decided to take a trip to Bolzano, Italy, home of the Dolomites, a German-Italian population (complete with strange accents) and Oetzi the 5,000 year old ice man. Without much of a plan in mind, the girls took off for Bolzano on a night train from Perugia, bringing along all of their jackets, scarves and gloves.
Upon arrival, after walking around the little resort city and trying to decide whether “Gutentag” or “Buongiorno” was appropriate when entering a cafe, they took a somewhat terrifying bus ride into the mountains for some breathtaking Heidi-esque views and a run in with the “Earth Pyramids”, some of the area’s natural wonders. Later that day, after many joyous rounds of “Climb Every Mountain,” the trio visited the South Tyrol Archaeology Museum to meet Oetzi the iceman, a mummy discovered in 1991 by hikers in the Bolzano area. Though Oetzi’s story was interesting, the man himself wasn’t too friendly, noted the group. Elyse was pleased, however, to find that she and Oetzi were the same height.
The rest of the Alpine expedition was spent trekking along a beautiful river to the Runkelstein castle, experiencing vertigo on a funivia and dining on pretzels and other popular delicacies of the area. All in all, despite headaches received from listening to a new dialect and the subjection to mountainous temperatures, the trip was deemed a success. The only thing missing was a good pair of Liederhosen.
Students enrolled in Ray Shaw’s Comparative Global Business Cultures class this semester get the opportunity to see Italy from a much different view. While working on a project designed to analyze local companies and their organizational culture and strategies, students visited SACI—a local, family owned and operated company that produces household liquid detergents, nestled in the valley below and just outside Perugia.
At SACI, students first received an informative overview of the company’s 100 year-old history from Lorenzo Campanile, one of the managers and the youngest member of the father-son team which is now in its fourth generation. After an extensive tour of the production facilities, students spoke with owner and company patriarch, Antonio Campanile.
Students took notes as Mr. Campanile spoke about the evolution of the company, explaining how his grandfather started the business making soaps made from natural materials like lard, to the dramatic changes the company underwent after WWII as consumer demands lead the company where it is today; a European leader in the manufacturing of private-label liquid detergents for the large-scale retail market.
The goal is for students to build profiles based on interviews with each company’s managers that will ultimately determine corporate culture and leadership style. The outcome will be a formal report, presented to the company’s managers at the end of the semester, outlining recommendations and possible courses of actions for the company.
After today’s interesting experience students might just think again next time they gaze across the countryside, asUmbria not only has world-class monuments, food and wine but also—who would have thought—soap!
This week saw encore presentations of two Umbra events. First, on Sunday, a group of students headed out to Villa Monticelli and its olive orchards. Though the ground was too wet for picking, students took a walk through the vineyard and got a lesson in olive botany and cultivation from orchard manager Roberto Orazi.
themselves. Robert Celentano and Gina Masarik were two of the students who spread the dough and even put in the oven – both made perfect pizzas and the Neapolitan pizzaiolo Felice declared that they had “tomato sauce in [their] veins.” Lecture and lab build up a hunger, and after these attempts all sat down to a dinner of pizza, tiramisu, and of course, caffè.
(Photos courtesy of Sarah Buczek and Mauro Renna)
Last weekend, Umbra students Cassie Shepherd and Colette Kopon opted for a different sort of Italy, to travel to a part of the peninsula rarely seen on the standard post-card. Where to? A small, small town called Bezzecca secreted away somewhere in the province of Trento, in northern Italy. ”We wanted to go somewhere we had never heard of before, somewhere where there wouldn’t be any tourists…” says Cassie. And that’s exactly what they found!
e anyone’s in the market).
From the fair it was into the surrounding mountains, where the girls wandered which ever trail caught their eye. And even though the girls had some “difficulty”, shall we say, in navigating the paths back toBezzecca, the views and panoramas were unforgettable. All in all, it was a beautifully atypical weekend…