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Family Ties: the Famiglia Italiana Project

This semester, two students in the Contemporary Italy: Culture, Society, and Trends course are participating in the Famiglia Italiana Project.  Annie Bodian and Taylor Speranza meet with a local family once a week to participate in their daily life, go on cultural outings, and get a taste of Italian family life. 

 “This experience goes alongside my sociology classes at Wake Forest and now I can see parallels in my Contemporary Italy class,” said Taylor. 

As an Italian Studies major at Brandeis, Annie agreed, “It definitely puts everything into real context; it also gives us a little aspect of a homestay because we get to be in a real Italian home.”

Annie Bodian and Taylor Speranza learned how to make pasta during their experience in the Famiglia Italiana project.

Annie and Taylor have made fresh pasta with Francesca and her 6-year-old daughter Elena (“I didn’t realize how much work went into it!” said Taylor) and recently went to a “Christmas House.”  They both agreed that the Famiglia Italiana Project has given them a taste of normal life beyond being a student living in the historic center of Perugia. 

Their Italian skills have also improved:

“I love this experience because I’m also a Teacher Education minor and am hoping to teach at an international school so speaking with Elena is great.  It’s good exercise in slowing down when I speak and in translating.  We’ve found a good balance between English and Italian,” Annie explained.

Taylor added, “I came to Italy as a beginner and I pick up on a lot of what they say.  It has given me more opportunity to speak Italian and Francesca can help me if I have questions.  I am also remembering more in class when I use new skills.”

Annie and Taylor pose with Elena at the Christmas House during an outing in Perugia.

Through this experience, Taylor and Annie have gained unique insights into Italian culture and everyday life.  Taylor has noticed that while there are small differences, she has found many of the same values in both Italian and American family life.  Annie agreed, saying, “Their home life and parent-child dynamic is surprisingly similar to the US and there are little differences, but one of the things I love the most is getting to spend time with a family in their home.”

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