Undergraduate institution: Villanova University
Undergraduate major and minor: Italian major, Business minor
What have you been up to since attending Umbra?
After attending Umbra, I returned to Villanova University where I graduated in 2008. I played a bit of semi-professional soccer for a year following graduation and even followed my heart back to Italy for a trial. In 2009, I was offered a job getting an Italian program off the ground at Delbarton School, a private Catholic institution in northern New Jersey. I am now in my eighth year teaching Italian and coaching soccer at the school, and we currently have 10 classes of Italian at all levels, and nearly 20% of the student body studies la bella lingua.
How has studying abroad impacted your life both personally and professionally?
Studying abroad was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Removing myself from what I considered to be my comfort zone and seeking out new adventures, new friends, and a new way of living opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. The experience most definitely gave me the itch for exploration, one that I continue to enjoy. The only negative is now knowing what I miss about daily life in Italy; especially la pausa-caffè!!!
What are you doing now?
I have a variety of professional responsibilities at the school where I teach, but personally I am always looking for the next opportunity to travel, both back to Italy, and to different parts of the world. This is one of the best benefits of the teaching profession; large amounts of built-in vacation! Fortunately, summer vacations have afforded me the possibility to return to Perugia for 4 or 5 Umbria Jazz Festivals and was even able to take a professional development course at the Universitá per Stranieri in 2014.
Are you still in touch with the friends you made in Perugia?
Yes, very much so! Some of the friends I made while in Perugia, both Umbra students and non, have remained very close friends to this day!
What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students thinking of studying abroad?
Don’t think about it; DO it! It will be an experience that will help positively shape the person you become.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students studying abroad (during or after their experience)?
My advice for during your study abroad experience would be to not try to do too much! If you come to Perugia, but have a different weekend trip planned for every weekend, my opinion would be that you are missing out! Befriend some Perugini, grab a beverage and sit on the steps, close your eyes and listen to the church bells intertwined with the sounds of espresso cups meeting their saucers, enjoy an aperitivo or apericena, dance until 4am, and then go to the bakery when it first opens, and get one of those warm cornetti right out of the oven. Sleep a bit. Study a bit. Repeat.
As for after your experience, let Perugia remain a part of you. Look for moments to make your own aperitivo, your own 3-hour meal, and your own pausa-caffè!