Under the frescoed ceilings of our Via Marzia academic building the Umbra Institute’s weekly Tandem kicked off last night with an enthusiastic bang, drawing a hearty sized group of both Italians and Americans ready to test (albeit a bit nervously) their linguistic prowess. After a series of ice-breakers, conversation ensued in earnest, touching on a multitude of topics raging from the finer points of Italian soccer to the similarities (or differences) between two fascinating cultures. “It was a lot of fun”, student Tracy Hall remarks with a laugh. “It was nice being able to meet Italians our own age, in such a laid back atmosphere. We talked about all sorts of things: how education works in Italy, even how many peddles there are in cars…”
For the Umbra Institute, cultural exchanges like Tandem are of the utmost importance. And, given Perugia’s well earned reputation as a “student city”, facilitating an exchange like Tandem has never been easier.
“In a lot of places, it can be really tough to make friends. Either people are too old, or too young, or already have their niche. But in Perugia, there are literally thousands of students concentrated in a tiny amount of space. Last night I met three girls who actually live one street over. They were totally nice, and even invited us to dinner this Saturday. Hopefully they’ll do the cooking!”