College of William and Mary student, Shannon Berenbaum, has had the opportunity to experience both sides of Umbra’s Direct Enrollment Program. Enrolled at the University for Foreigners (Università per Stranieri di Perugia) in the fall, Shannon decided to switch to the University of Perugia (Università degli Studi di Perugia) for the spring 2014 semester.
“Initially, I chose to participate in The Umbra Institute’s Direct Enrollment Program, because I saw it as an opportunity to improve my Italian language skills, while having a cross-cultural experience,” commented Berenbaum. “The program offered me Italian courses that were both challenging and engaging, and created the optimal learning environment for me. When I started at the Stranieri in August, I didn’t have the intention of switching programs. However, after I saw how much my Italian had improved, I decided it would be a good opportunity to further engage with Italians and experience the European education system.”
“Being enrolled at Università degli Studi di Perugia gives me the opportunity to take classes within my major and gain new perspectives within the field. I’m also garnering language and vocabulary that is specific to areas of personal interest,” added Berenbaum, a Political Science major and Italian minor.
With enrollment at Università degli Studi di Perugia, also came the option to move into university housing, which she gladly accepted. “The dorm buildings are fairly new, clean and comfortable. Rooms have single beds, bookshelves, nightstands, desks, desk chairs and wardrobe for each roommate. Laundry service is include and available right in the building – which saves me a lot of time. Unlike American universities, there isn’t a main common area, so the kitchen becomes that space. It’s given me an opportunity to exchange recipes, try out different foods, and meet and get to know people living within my building.
Berenbaum agrees that Umbra’s Direct Enrollment Programs foster growth, both in and beyond a linguistic level.
“My language skills, especially my listening and reading comprehension have improved greatly through being part of these programs,” Berenbaum said. “Having to speak the language daily in the classroom or to accomplish any task has expanded my vocabulary and grown both my confidence and ease of speaking.”