This semester twenty Italian students enrich the Umbra Institute’s already integrated academic environment!
Too often American students studying abroad never break out the “American bubble” while they are in Italy. Umbra Institute students avoid that trap by never getting into it in the first place. Since its inception the Institute has striven to be a “punto d’incontro” (meeting place) for Italians and Americans, through both curricular and extracurricular programs. The Tandem language exchange program, with weekly meetings run by staff members Mauro Renna and Rachel Bethany, students can meet their Italian counterparts in a casual yet organized fashion. The Tandem program has a proven track record for providing an environment for friendships to blossom.
An important part of the academic integration, though, comes from the Institute’s ties to two Italian universities here, the University for Foreigners and the University of Perugia. The latter, through a reciprocal agreement, sends twenty carefully-selected students a semester to study at the Umbra Institute. These students, present in all the Institute’s courses, enrich the academic environment first and foremost as a “domestic” point of view on various subjects, but also because through group work and dialy interaction, they help Umbra’s students practice their Italian and integrate into Italian life, especially student life.
One of these students studing this semester is Cristiana Guercini, a student of modern foreign languages at the University of Perugia. Studying abroad is expensive, said Cristiana, “so I decided to go to Umbra and ‘study abroad at home.’” Classes at the University of Perugia are usually quite large, so Cristiana appreciates the “excellent rapport between the professors at Umbra and their students.” Welcome to the Umbra Institute, Cristiana, and welcome to all the other Italian “study abroad” students here this semester!