All students at Umbra are required to participate in a one-week intensive Italian “survival” course before regular electives (and Italian) courses start. In the morning, an intensive grammar and vocabulary review takes place in the classroom, while in the afternoon, the skills acquired are practiced on site. But this week is not only about language – it’s also about how to survive in a culture that at first might seem quite similar, but upon closer investigation does reveal some profound differences.
This semester the Italian language professors really went all out to give students hands-on examples of typical Italian situations. For Tuesday, Sept. 6th, they even thought to organize a small “sciopero” (strike) to show to students – which immediately went national and almost brought all of Italy to a halt!
Other important things students need to learn this week include how to buy produce at the supermarket (no, you are not allowed to touch it!), how to buy train/plane tickets to get away from Perugia and back for Italian and European adventures during their stay here (if there is no sciopero) and how to get their morning caffeine fix in about 14 easy steps.