On October 1, 2018 the Florence Experience advanced Italian language classes met at Palazzo Rucellai with the students of the Giulio Douhet Air Force Academy. This initiative, which has been offered for several semesters now, is a great chance for students from both institutions to improve their speaking skills (respectively in Italian and in English) and to experience a cultural exchange in a relaxed atmosphere. Once again, the meeting has proved extremely useful and at the end students promised each other to meet again.
Students’ satisfaction and involvement was gratifying for the event organizers: David Marini (ISI Florence, Italian Language Program Coordinator), Serena Giorgi (ISI Florence, Community Engagement Coordinator), Maria Beatrice Giua and Iris Marie Gatt (Giulio Douhet Academy, English Language Faculty).
“When I first found out that our Italian class would be meeting with students of the Air Force Academy I was over the moon. Although I was nervous to speak Italian in my blaring American accent, I was also thrilled that ISI Florence provided us with an opportunity to meet and interact with Italians our age – something that I found difficult to do on my own. It was a little awkward at first, but once we had some snacks, the conversations seemed to flow organically – despite the fact that the Italian students spoke in English and we spoke in Italian. They certainly were better English-speakers than we were Italian-speakers, but luckily, they still understood us!
I was so surprised that these Italian students listened to the same bands and artists as me, but I was disappointed that they had never heard of the one Italian singer I know and listen to – Willie Peyote (pseudonym of Guglielmo Bruno). Similarly, to a few Italians my age I met, they too reminded me of the privilege I have as an American and the amazing opportunity that I have to study abroad and travel across Europe. The only thing that disappointed me about the whole experience was that some of the students I talked to said that Hard Rock Café was their favorite restaurant!”
Eliza Wilson, UVA