Right hand raised high with the left relying on the wisdom of Dante, Kaydian Campbell lead her peers in the Intensive Italian & Culture Summer Program in kicking off the SoloItaliano Challenge. As part of the SoloItaliano Challenge, students swore to speak only Italian for a full two days in order to further immerse themselves into the culture. The challenge meant speaking Italian at school and at home, with their peers in the Intensive Italian & Culture Program, as well as with anyone else they came in contact with during the challenge. Kaydian shared, “Wanting to learn the language and retain it, that’s for me. That’s for my own enrichment and my love of the language…solo in Italia!”
On Tuesday night, those participating in SoloItaliano attended a Serata Film Night where they watched the popular film, Manuale d’Amore. On Wednesday night the students finished the event by attending their second Tandem Language Exchange where they spoke with Italian students and voted for the winners of the challenge.
Alexis McDonald and Ashley Weimar were selected by their peers for their commitment to the challenge and were awarded for their success. It was noted that both students went out of their way to send emails and texts in Italian, stretching their boundaries with the language; Ashley even recounted messaging “Tanti auguri!” (Happy birthday) to friends on Facebook who did not speak Italian.
Once the challenge was over, Ashley described SoloItaliano through her experiences, “It challenged me to start thinking in Italian, to be able to come up with the word that I was looking for by using words that I already knew. I realized a lot about myself and about how others feel and struggle when trying to speak a language they are not familiar with”. She then went on to say “The second day, I woke up thinking in Italian and, for the first time, I was making sense in my head, in Italian!”
Click here to learn more about the Umbra Institute’s Italian Language & Culture Initiatives.