“Looking back, I can’t imagine my life without Italian, from the way it has helped me better connect with my family, to the way in which it has made learning languages like Spanish far easier.”
Given that both my maternal and paternal grandparents came from Italy, I have been fascinated with Italian culture for as long as I can remember. Whether it was visiting my grandmother while she stayed in her old home outside of Naples during the summers, or enjoying a plate of my mom’s impeccable cooking, I felt a strong connection to all things Italian. In my second year of high school, I finally had the ability to take an Italian class, and I absolutely loved it. This newfound interest in the Italian language drove me to self-study, enabling me to reach a new level of connection with my grandparents. Once I arrived at Georgetown, I began to prepare for the foreign language proficiency exam and was struck by the kindness of the Italian department’s professors. They would answer any question I had and helped me improve my speaking skills even though I was not enrolled in a class at that time. Now in my second semester, I have continued to feed my love of all things Italian by joining the Georgetown Circolo Italiano and taking a Business Italian class. Although I am unable to major in Italian due to my enrollment in the School of Foreign Service, I plan to continue to take courses in order to learn more about Italian literature and I am considering a study abroad at Università Bocconi in Milan. Looking back, I can’t imagine my life without Italian, from the way it has helped me better connect with my family, to the way in which it has made learning languages like Spanish far easier; I find it has become an integral part of who I am and I would like to further develop this passion in the years to come.
PHILIP SALANDRA ('16)
“I have learned a great deal, but there is still much to discover.”
“Panino,” my mother corrected me when I ordered the “caprese panini” at the deli. “It’s only ‘panini’ if there’s more than one.” It suddenly dawned on me that the “caprese panini” wasn’t just this thing (or more accurately, group of things) wrapped in wax paper that I liked to eat after dance class on Thursdays. It represented an entire culture, in which a “panino” was a part of daily life rather than just a “special” in an American restaurant. It was a sliver of a linguistic work of art that has been passed back and forth between millions of people for generations. And there it was, staring back at me from the chalkboard menu at the deli. Inspired, I started studying Italian as a freshman in high school. The language instantly consumed every spare minute of my time as I poured over my textbook, stayed up late watching Italian films like “La Vita è Bella” and “Il Postino”, and dreamed of tossing my own coin into the Trevi Fountain. Finally, at 16, I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy (and hope to return), where my love for Italian was reaffirmed as I strolled through the “piazze” of Venice, Rome, and Florence, determined to capture every greeting, shout, and whisper swirling around me. At Georgetown, I have had the pleasure of studying with professors Melucci and Hipwell in the advanced levels, where I am improving my conversation skills and studying the modern challenges Italy faces as a nation whose ethnic, political, and economic identity is rapidly evolving. I have learned a great deal, but there is still much to discover. Why do I study Italian? Simply, nothing gives me the same thrill as being able to go to a deli and order a “panino” even when the menu says “panini.”
LEAH BENZ ('15)
"Being a part of the Italian department and their program is the most fulfilling academic experience I’ve had in my life."
Not only is the staff helpful, fun, and extremely capable of sharing their immense knowledge, but they also transmit their infectious enthusiasm for Italian culture. As part of the program, I recently spent the semester abroad in the lush hills of Tuscany. I attended courses at the University of Siena while meeting many Italians in all different contexts. I was able to truly live as an Italian and expose myself to a different academic environment. It was an irreplaceable experience. I knew that I improved my Italian skills the day I realized I was able to capture regional differences between Italian speakers. I managed to travel the country due to Tuscany’s central location; I tasted fresh pasta alla carbonarain the shade of the Colosseum and watched the sunset on St. Mark’s Square in Venice. I am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to work with the department and choose coursework that suits my intellectual interests.
Che bella vita!
KEVIN REGAN ('14)
When looking at options for graduate school, I was immediately drawn to the Italian Studies M.A. program at Georgetown. It seemed like the perfect way to further my knowledge in Italian
literature and culture, while allowing me to cultivate my interests in less familiar aspects of the field, such as art history. I have yet to be disappointed. My semester abroad was of particular value. By choosing to study in Florence, I was able to immerse myself in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art. Though my background in art history was weak, I had ample time for self-study, and as such, the city’s museums and churches became a sort of interactive study guide, and the artworks were my flashcards. The most remarkable aspect of my time abroad, however, was the ability to connect with both Italians and foreigners alike through the Italian language. Students from Sweden, Holland, Mexico, even Japan, all found common ground in the passion and admiration for one of the most melodic languages in the world. It was an extraordinary and unique experience. The food wasn't too bad, either… I look forward to applying the invaluable skills I’ve acquired in the program to my future.
“By choosing to study in Florence, I was able to immerse myself in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art.”
RAQUEL SILVA ('14)
" I found myself working for the finance department of Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York City, wich oversees the various Guggenheim museums around the world. My Italian language skills came of great use as I helped to translate documents from the Peggy Guggenheim Collectioon in Venice and communicated easily in a multicultural office."
Charlotte Lowrey ('09)
"Through contact with a Georgetown alumna, I joined Gucci's Milan headquartes, where I currently work in public relations. I use Italian on a daily basis, whwther to analyze an editor's review or to translate a press release. Above all, I approach my work with the cross-cultural perspective I gained through my studies at Georgetown."
Nathaniel Lee ('09)