Under a bright sun, a small group of students observed the volunteers from the Italian Club and Italian instructors decorate the tables with red, green and white balloons in front of the north entrance of the R Building on Tuesday. While they worked, they chatted in a mix of Italian and English. The $5 dollar pasta menu, performances and games were organized to attract students’ attention to the study abroad program said Simonetta May, Italian instructor.
On a nearby table filled with flyers and other information about Italy and Florence, Sandra Haynes, art history instructor, and members of the Italian-American scholarship committee chat about the program. Haynes will be one of the two instructors flying to Florence for three months in fall. “I can’t wait to be there” she said. Haynes will be teaching art history while there. “Such a great opportunity of learning is priceless”, she said.
The $8,000 of the program covers all the main expenses of the trip from air fare and tuition to housing and unlimited museum passes said one of the handouts distributed during the event. May said that the program is fully booked every year. May said that compared to other schools’ programs the cost of PCC’s program is much lower so it attracts students from other schools.
The event also gave interested students the chance to interact with some of last year’s participants such as Isabella Genato, international relations. She said the event is a great way of introducing the program to the PCC community and attracting interested students as the previous year it did for her. Genato was part of the last year’s program and experience which she remembers fondly. “Having class over gelato while observing Italian architecture is an experience I will never forget,” she said. “If I could, I will totally do it again”.
Besides the education received, students come back with improved language skills, according to Marianna Nespoli, film major and president of the Italian Club. Nespoli, a native of Italy, has seen some friends returning form the program speaking fluent Italian and with a “surprising Florentine accent”, she said.
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