Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 24, 2019

Adventures of Italian Alumni: Cody and Javier

Adventures of Italian Alumni

 Two recent graduates from our Italian program wrote to share with us the places where language study has taken them since leaving Salem State.

Cody and Javier in Florence, Italy

Cody and Javier in Florence, Italy

Cody Star Mulliner: Italian Minor-Psychology Major. She graduated in May 2018 and has been awarded a SITE (Study Intercultural Training Experience) scholarship for an eight-month internship (1st Oct. 2018-31st May 2019) to teach English and American/UK culture and history to ages 14-19 at the Liceo Scientifico ‘ISS Cremona’ in Milan, Lombardy. She has also been awarded the 2018 Phi Sigma Iota Scholarship for $2000 to support her stay in Italy.

My life has been an adventure so far. I have been embracing the solitude by visiting museums and monuments, reading, writing, and attempting to meditate. I was lucky to meet a few other undergraduates who are working for the SITE program, along with a few new friends from Cinisello Balsamo, in the province of Milan (where I’m living). It is nice to be meeting so many like-minded people! I am also tutoring a 40-year-old woman biweekly here in Milan to help her with her English. I am very honored to be valued as an educator by someone so much older than I! One thing I love about Milan is how much nature they have. I have already visited 5 parks to work on my lesson plans—it’s very urban pastoral! I have had the pleasure to travel quite a bit too: Venice, Florence, Brescia, Lake Como, and Bergamo in Italy so far; as well as Sofia, Bulgaria; Zurich, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Dusseldorf, Germany; London, and most recently Nice, France (such stunning coastal views!). Before my return home in June, I have also planned trips to Naples, Pompeii, Amsterdam, Budapest, and Prague! I am absolutely loving travelling. Typically, I stay at hostels, and have met the most fascinating people there! I’ve also visited more museums in the past months than I think I had in my entire life. I am even starting to develop a little taste for art. I’ve surprised myself with my newly acquired interest in surrealist and modern art, having always assumed I would prefer the classics! I am currently reading The Inferno again as part of a New Year’s resolution to read one book each week for the whole year.

These past few months have been ones of growth and development for me, at both the personal and the professional levels. Through my work for the SITE program of Lombardy at IIS Cremona in Milan, I have had the opportunity to teach students ages 14-19. In addition to CLIL and FCE courses, I have lead classes in English language on American and English literature, history, European geography, and philosophy. I am fortunate to have the liberty to design the majority of my curriculum and have had the pleasure and honor of doing lessons on the Civil Rights Movement, Transcendentalism and Thoreau, Analyzing “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, and The American Dream, to name a few.

So far, teaching has taught me patience and self-discipline as far as interacting with students and staying to a strict schedule for lesson planning. I am amazed by the students’ level of language learning and insightful additions to each lesson. I have found that as a teacher, I learn something new each day too.

Living alone in a foreign country has been a humbling and empowering experience. Actions such as opening a bank account, navigating a different culture’s social queues, and negotiating a rent contract have proven to be a whole other world in the sense of using a second language as well as true independence.

Moving forward, I am looking forward to the rest of the school year. I will soon be starting a unit on the Vietnam War for a 5th year CLIL course, in addition to various other courses such as Irish Folklore for my second-year students. I am excited to continue to improve both my Italian and teaching skills, and plan to reinvest what I’ve learned back into the community and/or further schooling upon my return to the United States.

Javier Rodriguez: Italian and Psychology Major-Spanish Minor. He graduated in May 2018 and has been accepted into the Master Program in Italian at Middlebury College. For this program, he spent the first 6 weeks in California during the Summer and is now attending the accelerated academic year in Florence, Italy.

Dear friends,

After graduating from Salem State with my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Italian Language from Middlebury College. This program took me to Florence, Italy where I have been living since September 2018. During these months, I have had the chance to enrich myself with the academic and cultural experiences that this marvelous country has to offer. Additionally, I have experienced a personal growth that I never imagined I could reach. I have discovered so many aspects of myself that I never knew existed, but above all, I have been able to find clarity regarding the path I want to follow in my life. Being away from the United States has shown me that there is a whole world out there to experience.

As part of my master’s program, I was required to take courses at the University of Florence. It has been an extraordinary experience because I met interesting individuals and realized how similar we are. As human beings, we tend to focus on our differences instead of realizing how beautiful and precious we are. Learning and accepting others is the first step to achieve a better world, and that includes learning and embracing their cultures and languages.

Right now, I am taking a course about Dante Alighieri’s poetry, il dolce stil novo, and writing my thesis. The subject of my thesis is an Italian writer called Dacia Maraini, and I will be studying the development of women’s situation in Italian society through the characters from her novels.

Having studied Italian and Spanish languages at our university and now with my experience at Middlebury, I have decided that I want to continue with this pathway, and I will be applying to a doctoral program in Romance languages this fall. I have been considering extending my sojourn in Italy once I finish my academic program. I believe that staying in the country will help me develop as a person and as a student. Living in Italy, the United States, and Guatemala made me realize that having knowledge of more than one language is essential to be a citizen of the world. Languages are similar to a key that opens many doors, doors that take us to other worlds beyond our borders. I could have never imagined living in Italy. Thanks to my love for world languages, here I am. Essere in Italia mi fa bene.


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