This post is guest-written by Roberto, an Italian engineering and architecture student who studied at Umbra in the spring of 2011 and then spent the following fall in New York.
I spent four months in NYC as a guest of Baruch College (CUNY University) to write my masters thesis. It was a wonderful experience, not only regarding my studies or life, but also and especially because I could visit some of my best American friends: Gabriel, Laura, Lindsay and Chelsea. I knew them the last year at Umbra Institute, in fact, I attended the class of Italian Cinema with Prof. F. Burzacca. I think it was the best experience of my life: I spent one day with Chelsea in Washington D.C., Thanksgiving with Gabriel and his beautiful family, Christmas Holidays and more days with Laura, her sweet family, and Lindsay.
I felt like I was in my family, at my home, like a son when I was with the Capassos’ and Lincoln- De Cusatis’ family. They showed me their typical American homes, their city and their typical American life: American football, American breakfast, the Thanksgiving marathon, marshmallows on the fire, the trip through the canal with the boat and much more. It was also a great experience to know the real American life about dreams and hopes for the future and to compare the dreams of an Italian boy and those of an American boy.
The most exciting experience was to visit Ground Zero with Laura’s dad, a 9/11 hero: he told me a lot of emotional stories. I spent New Year’s Eve with the guys in my apartment in NYC: I cooked Italian food for my American friends to thank them for the great experience and sweet time that they showed me. I think the Umbra Institute is a great opportunity for both Italian and American students: it is useful to learn about a different culture, different food, different lifestyles and thoughts, and to find new special friends that could become your best friends. I regret not being able to visit all my American friends that I met at Umbra, but America is such a big country, you know. I also want to say hello to Mitchell, Brittany, Priya, Kylie, Lauren and Helen. I’ll never forget you and I hope to see you soon.