Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | November 24, 2014

First Candidate to Leave for Piedmont, Italy, on January 2015 for one year

First Candidate to Leave for Piedmont, Italy, on January 2015 for one year

By Ryan Walsh, Senior at SSU, majoring in WLC – Italian

In 2009 at the age of 16, teary eyed and unaware of what adventures were in store, I kissed my mother and father goodbye and boarded a flight heading to Naples, Italy. My year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student was one of the most difficult yet rewarding life experiences I have been fortunate enough to undergo. Upon arrival, I spoke two words in Italian; “ciao” for hello, and “ciao” for goodbye. I woke up and went to sleep surrounded by a language I had never studied previously.

Oulx, Piedmont

Flash-forward to today, and I am now five years deep into my passionate exploration of the Italian language and culture. I have translated, tutored, and researched for years in formal learning and professional environments. I am always humbled about how much I don’t know, yet at the same time amazed at how far my skills have come in such a short period.

In January of 2015 my studies will be tested and I will once again board a flight, this time to the town of Oulx in Piedmont, Italy. I have been fortunate enough to be the first student to take advantage of the new fellowship agreement between the Italian Consulate in Boston and SSU. I will aid and assist current middle and high-school level English teachers in an all-Italian high school. Students in this program are required to form lesson plans and help students and faculty in their exploration of ESL (English as a Second Language). I want to thank Dr. Anna Rocca and the World Languages and Cultures department for opening this door of opportunity. I am honored to represent Salem State University and I am ready to be challenged again in order to help others gain new life experiences through their linguistic studies.

If anyone has any thoughts or hesitations about going abroad, moving away, or taking an opportunity like this; I implore you to forget all of that and go for it. Hunt down your passions and take it all in. You will learn more about yourself and be humbled by the world. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with Salem State so that future students may have the same opportunities to see their world in a new light.


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