This summer, 18 Lafayette students took advantage of a six-week, faculty-led immersion program in Rome to improve their Italian language skills and learn about Italy’s rich culture.
Students lived in small groups in apartments spread throughout the city. Each student spent five hours per day, four days per week, studying Italian from beginner to advanced depending on the student’s previous language experience. In addition to taking group tours of Rome, which included the catacombs, the Pantheon, and Ostia Antica, students had a five-day trip to Verona in the Veneto region. In Rome, they had plenty of time on their own to explore the city and surrounding areas.
George Rosa, professor and assistant head of foreign languages and literatures, traveled with the group. The program was done in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges.
Mike Gadigian ’13 (Katonah, N.Y.) lived in a three-person apartment a block from the Vatican and studied elementary Italian. He took a weekend trip to Florence and spent the last week visiting France, Holland, and Brussels, Belgium. Gadigian, who counts Florence as his favorite city on the trip, learned about more than just language.
“Florence is a beautiful city with so much history and art to see, like the Florence Duomo and Accademia Museum,” says the engineering studies major. “Seeing all the historical monuments throughout Europe has given me more respect for the cultures and a better understanding of how the countries became what they are today.”
Florence was also a highlight for Adam Gill ’14 (Wayne, N.J.), a history major who studied Italian I and II. Gill also traveled on his own to Pisa and Venice. Others visited Capri and Milan, Amsterdam, Paris, and Greece. Gill has always wanted to visit Rome, and he says the trip was even better than he expected. The experience gave him a great sense of how it feels to live in another country.
“It helped me understand how immigrants and foreigners feel when they come to America,” he explains. “It also helped me develop an appreciation and see the importance of learning foreign languages.”
For Gadigian, the six weeks in Rome will be something he never forgets.
“We had a lot of freedom to explore Rome and the rest of Italy but enough guidance with required tours with the group leaders,” he says. “I met a lot of new people and saw a lot of [historical] buildings and monuments. I’d strongly recommend this trip to anyone.”