University for Foreigners Direct Enrollment student Haley Sciola sat down to chat with a few of the Italian Università di Perugia (UP) students involved with Umbra this semester. Umbra’s partnership with UP allows Italian students to ‘study abroad’ at Umbra and immerse themselves in the American style of university (only, they don’t have to leave Perugia to do it!). These UP students get to take a course or two, volunteer their time as Italian language and culture tutors, and participate in intercultural events hosted by Umbra.
Haley wanted to know what these students were up to exactly, how they were feeling about their experiences so far and what they hope to get out of it.
Francesco is taking a food studies course as well as a course on Leonardo Da Vinci. He attends weekly UNICEF workshops, tutors Umbra students, and frequents Tandem, the regularly scheduled language exchange and general ‘get out and hangout’ opportunity for Italian and American students. Francesco has enjoyed his Leonardo Da Vinci course most of all. He hopes to reach out to more Umbra students and be of “cultural assistance” for them in Perugia.
Tania took a conversation course at Umbra last spring and is tutoring this time around. She enjoyed the conversation course she took most, and she hopes to improve on her English language skills by December. She also encourages all Umbra students to take advantage of the Italian tutors. Tania really would love to help, or even just be a native speaker to practice on and hangout with!
Federica is tutoring and attending Tandem this semester. She has truly appreciated the opportunity to assist Umbra students in figuring out her native language. Federica wants to keep helping out students in any way she can. She hopes this experience will help her to continue developing her own language abilities in English, and also to improve her teaching skills in Italian.
They agreed that learning at an American institution amongst American students has been an exciting experience because of the:
- classroom interaction and collaboration among students as well as professors;
- small group work among peers in class;
- encouragement and even expectation to share one’s opinion;
- practical learning from varied mediums; and
- regular homework and reading to keep up with.
This unique ‘AmericUmbra’ experience of exchanging cultures, languages, and the classroom is one that the University of Perugia and the American study abroad students in Italy are likely never to forget.