Umbra Institute alumna Lindsay Paiva, spring 2011, moved to Florence at the beginning of October to begin research for her recently-awarded Fulbright grant.
Paiva will dedicate the next year to work with Tuscany’s giovanese program, which provides youth in the region with scholarships to study or intern abroad.
“(The students) get the chance to study away from home and then bring back everything they learned to Tuscany,” explained Paiva after she returned from a reunion lunch with Roberta Mugno, assistant director for Italian Language Programs and Paiva’s former Italian teacher. Paiva is spending an extended weekend in Perugia to visit her Italian friends, her old stomping grounds, and of course, Umbra.
Paiva’s semester at the Umbra Institute influenced her decision to apply for a Fulbright in Italy. An English major from Connecticut College, Paiva did not anticipate a future in Italy; after she became proficient in Italian and participated in the various Community Engagement opportunities at Umbra, she changed her plans.
“After the semester at Umbra, I knew I had to (return),” Paiva said. “I explored my interests here through Community Engagement, and I made friends and practiced Italian at Tandem.
“Umbra was pretty formative in me coming back to Italy – I wouldn’t have had the confidence otherwise!”
Umbra professors share Paiva’s confidence.
“I am so proud of her,” Mugno said. “I’m sure she deserved it – Lindsay was one of my best students.”
Umbra Food Studies Professor Simon Young connected Paiva with his colleagues at the Universita’ degli Studi in Florence, allowing his former student to hit the ground running with her Fulbright upon her arrival.
“My Fulbright lets me live in this country I love while pursuing a career path in something that interested me,” Paiva concluded. “I’m so happy to be back!”