Students listen to the internship details at Alessi High School.
On Thursday and Friday of last week, the students in the INIT 350: Academic Internship and Seminar- Education course visited the two high schools where their internship will take place. They first met with teachers at the Montessori high school in Perugia to learn about the school’s teaching methods and what their role would be in the classroom. Students who choose this internship track will independently develop their own lesson plans and interactive workshops centered around Italian and American music, travel, and culture.
The next day, Friday, January 18th, students walked down to the Alessi Scientific High School to meet with Lucia Amico, the teacher responsible for coordinating the intern program at their school. After explaining how students would assist the English teachers in speaking and listening exercises, Lucia gave the students a tour of the school. Students in this internship placement will collaborate closely with two different teachers, offering them insight into different teaching techniques and engaging them with a wider student audience.
Umbra students with Lucia Amico, the Alessi High School intern coordinator.
These school visits allowed Umbra students in the Education Internship first-hand understanding of their prospective internship placements. Based on the two visits, students chose which school’s pedagogy and internship requirements interested them most, and placements will be made shortly!
Italian student Myriam Ciliani stumbled upon the subject of her latest lesson at the Umbra Institute while strolling through her hometown of Todi, a small city near Perugia, last Tuesday.
Celebrated Italian director Sergio Castellito was filming in Todi last week, when Ciliani recognized him from last Monday’s meeting of “Blockbusters and Bestsellers: Italian Cinema and Literature of the Twenty-First Century,” an Umbra course taught by Elgin Eckert.
Eckert’s students had just finished “Don’t Move,” a novel by Castellito’s wife, Margaret Mazzantini, the day before and were about to watch Castellito’s adaptation of the novel the next day.
“I saw him on the street and thought, ‘Wait, I know who that is!’” recounted Ciliani. “I was very happy. I also told him about the class … and that we were going to see his film the day after. He thought it was cool. And that was it! Not too remarkable.”
Eckert was impressed by the chance meeting.
“(It) emphasizes the importance of what we do at the Umbra Institute: We put what we learn into context,” she said. “Just looking at the picture of the two of them and hearing the ‘unremarkable story’ of their meeting made Umbra students feel closer to the work itself … and look out for his next film.”
“Blockbusters and Bestsellers” is a cultural studies course that focuses on cinema and literature from the 21st century that are significant to contemporary Italian culture, “not works of many years past,” Eckert explained.
As a University of Perugia student enrolled at Umbra, Ciliani is in the rare position of an Italian studying her own culture through an American lens; Eckert noted that an Italian student’s perspective is invaluable in the classroom.
“At Umbra we study Italy, Italian literature, and Italian cinema right now, as it is happening,” Eckert said. “Having Italian students in our classrooms enhances our experience manifold!”
The walls of the Umbra Institute’s Via Danzetta Studio radiated inspiration during Wednesday afternoon’s end-of-the-summer art show.
Students enrolled in Pastel Drawing and Photography courses rubbed elbows with their fellow students and Umbra staff and faculty, explaining their artistic choices as they enjoyed appetizers and sipped wine.
“We had a small group this semester, but look how much they’ve done,” said Martha Wakeman, longtime visiting Pastel Drawing professor at the Umbra Institute, as she gestured to the packed studio. “It’s just wonderful. I’m very proud.”
Wakeman’s class this summer ranged from first-time art students to full-time art majors.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing the newer students’ work develop,” Wakeman said. She turned to Mari Humphreys, an art major from the University of South Carolina who took both Pastel Drawing and Photography. “And you’ve been able to add work to your portfolio, haven’t you?”
“I definitely have!” Humphreys replied.
She continued, “This has been great because I haven’t really had a real show like this in years. … It’s very rewarding.”
Don’t miss the General Studies and Chapman students’ last group activity: Umbra is hosting a farewell aperitivo at 7:30 p.m. Friday at il Birraio. See you there!
Umbra’s studio at Via dei Priori came alive Tuesday afternoon for the art classes’ final show. The hallways buzzed as students, instructors, and staff wandered from exhibit to exhibit, carefully balancing wine and appetizers.
One room featured larger-than-life frescoes painted on entire walls, ancient Roman style; another contained drawings with dramatic charcoal sweeps of anything from nudes to Toms. Students from the digital photography course displayed their work in slideshow form, showcasing their adventures across Europe.
Two members of the Medical Ethics Committee of the Region of Umbria were at the Umbra Institute yesterday to discuss the ethical issues surrounding the definition of life and to present current Italian legislation on living wills. Doctors Linda Richieri and Antonio Perelli were invited by Professor Michael Chiariello, professor of philosophy for St. Bonaventure University, Franciscan Heritage Semester Study Abroad Program, and senior Umbra faculty member, organized the encounter as part of his course “Medicine, Ethics and Law: An International Perspective.”
In the photo: Antonio Perelli, Francesco Gardenghi, Michael Chiariello, and Linda Richieri.
The course familiarizes students with the outstanding ethical and legal problems facing medicine today, as well as giving them a broad, international perspective on questions of medical ethics. Students grapple with end-of-life issues, using real-life examples like the Terry Schiavo case, as well as similar Italian cases like the “caso Englaro.” Dr.Chiariello’s guests gave an overview of the Italian viewpoint on the current debate about whether brain death should still be the legal definition of death. The two doctors also had an animated discussion with students about living wills and whom should vested with the decision of when life (or quality of life) ends.
Participants in the discussion included Ms.Judy Chiariello, assistant director of the Program, as well as dottor Francesco Gardenghi, Umbra’s Assistant Director for Italian Institutional and Community Relations, who coordinated the visit. Professor Chiariello commented later that “the course is intended for students interested in law or medicine. My hope is that it will help them become professionals with a greater awareness of ethical issues and their philosophical foundations, and a more global intercultural appreciation of their practical reality.”
Rita held up her hands to the Umbra Institute students and said, “This is my trademark, my guarantee.” To say they were calloused is an understatement—no pesticides means more pulling weeds—but it makes any sort of organic label redundant. As she showed students in Umbra’s “Sustainable Food Production in Italy” course her famous mixed salad greens and award-winning squash, she talked about how zero-kilometer veggies helps not only the environment, but also the local economy.
Perugian fruit and vegetable dealer Rita with the Sustainability class. (Photo courtesy Tori Bonazoli)
The visit was a teaser designed to get students thinking about local, organic, and fair and what these labels mean: all are themes of the course, which is part of the Umbra Institute’s innovative Food Studies Program.
Big turnout? Check.
Students, staff and professors gathered this afternoon in Umbra’s art studio at Via dei Priori to sip some wine and admire this semester’s photos and frescoes.
Ancient Rome was this semester’s backdrop theme with two, full wall-length frescoes, displaying a banquet complete with a roasted headless pig on one wall and a wine harvesting scene another.
The digital photography class displayed detailed works taken all over Europe.
Congratulations to all art students for beautiful work!
Student, faculty, staff and friends eat an American meal at Perugia’s Contrappunto.
The project was the fruit of over a month of planning. As part of the course, class participants had to come up with a restaurant concept, decide on recipes to use, examine food costing and determine a break-even point, develop a marketing plan, and then actually execute the actual dinner. The students were judged not only on the quality of the food (each of the diners filled out a survey, rating both taste and overall experience) but also their organization and profitability in a real-world restaurant setting.
The “Trattoria Americana” proved to be an ever bigger success than imagined. A savvy marketing plan (selling American classics like hamburgers, mac&cheese, and brownies) drew both Americans homesick for food, as well as curious Italians. The latter were especially tough
Course participant Samantha Harvey plates food yesterday night.
customers, but the execution was excellent, and the students won kudos from the Italians, their fellow students, and even Umbra faculty and staff for the over 80 meals served. The course is part of the Umbra Institute’s innovative Food Studies Program.
Actually, there was a local media outlet (www.tuttoggi.info) that sent a reporter, Nicola Palumbo, who posted this article and this video.
After three months away from the Stars & Stripes, Umbra Institute students who study abroad in Italy are ready for a change away from pizza, pasta, and canoli. Which is why the “Trattoria Americana” tickets have been an easy sell. A part of the community engagement part of the the “Business of Food: Italy and Beyond” course (one of the three Food Studies Program courses), students have to decide on a concept for a restaurant, come up with a marketing plan after pricing the dishes, and then actually run the restaurant for an evening.
This semester’s students decided that by offering American fare, they could attract not only food-sick (as opposed to home-sick) Americans but also curious Italians. Despite their opinion about their own food’s culinary superiority, Italians are often eager to sample American food. This has proved to be a winning marketing strategy, judging by the response so far. The dinner, which will be November 29th, will be Caesar salad, mac&cheese, a hamburger, onion rings, and brownies. Tickets are €12, €11 each for an eight-person table.
Francesco Gardenghi’s Racconto Italiano class visted Perugia’s main library last afternoon, Biblioteca Augusta. You might not think a library is exciting but this library is more like a museum. Its archives include parchment rolls that date back to 800 A.C. and maps from the 1500s. There are also books which contain business codes of conduct from medieval times as well as the first biographies of Saint Francis of Assisi. This is just one of the many advantages of studying abroad in Italy: you can see history books that you probably didn’t even study or read about in your history books! And if that’s not enough to impress you, all you have to do is step outside of the library to see one of the most stunning views of the Umbrian hillside that will surely boggle your mind.