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Umbra’s First SoloItaliano Challenge

In class, students pledge to speak only in Italian.

This week, our brave students at Umbra participated in a new initiative for linguistic immersion: the SoloItaliano Challenge.

The participants of this challenge signed a pledge in Italian class on Monday and on Tuesday they received badges that marked them as players. For two whole days, they could speak only in Italian at home, at Umbra, and around Perugia! If they spoke in English, a peer could take a point (represented with colorful, mini clothespins) and add it to her/his own badge. The more pins a student had, the more chance of winning free pizza! 

Italian 102 students Rachael and Liz (center) are announced as winners at Tandem.

 More than 80% of the student body participated and the top three winners were announced at Wednesday night’s Tandem language exchange.

Congratulations to the winners: Tiffany Dharia (13 pins), Elizabeth Lavin (11 pins), and Raechel Richardson(11 pins)!

Students participated regardless of their level of Italian, experiencing some frustration but learning a lot in a limited amount of time. Liz Lavin describes her efforts: “Those two days were probably the most frustrating, because I had to face how often I used ‘come si dice’ as a crutch. Rae and I actually spent a lunch together huddled around an Italian dictionary.” They even practiced for the challenge by speaking Italian together when they traveled to Paris!

“My housemates and I messaged only in Italian. It was difficult to communicate even about small things, like what we should eat for dinner,” Tiffany (Italian 110 student) remarks, “and I appreciated going to class more because we could speak in English!”

Italian 310 student Taylor Tso comments that she had to slow her thoughts and choose her words more carefully, and that she found it interesting to experience “the difference between learning Italian and living an Italian life.”

Winner Tiffany Dharia poses with the pins, or “mollette.”

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