Community College of Rhode Island

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Students of Italian Celebrate Language, Culture and Friendship During Reunion

North Providence North Star - 02/19/98 page 7A

I began studying Italian to communicate with relatives that were coming to visit America. Besides acquiring the ability to read and write in Italian, I also obtained the confidence to pursue other college studies. Furthermore, I received a tremendous amount of knowledge, appreciation and a first hand look at the beauty of the Italian culture.

I decided to study Italian to further my Italian skills so I would be able to converse with visiting relatives. Although I was nervous on the onset of the course not ever speaking a foreign language, the warm and friendly classroom setting projected by Professor Mansella soon put me at ease. With each passing class, I became increasingly intrigued and curious to learn more. I was delighted to find myself able to read and write in Italian. I found the language to be very beautiful, yet extremely challenging. Upon completion of the intermediate level, another student and myself began an independent study with Professor Mansella to further our knowledge and explore Italian literature. I was very appreciative that Professor Mansella found the time in her busy schedule to provided us with the additional knowledge that we desired to acquire. The independent study played an important role because it allowed us refine our verbal usage while reinforcing all that we had learned. Through the course of my Italian studies, we observed such works as: Le Scarpe Rotte, Lui e Io, Il Postino, La Giara, La Strada, La Ciociara, Una Donna Sulla Testa, and Cinema Paradiso. Such in-depth studies aided in my knowledge, usage and understanding of the language. As a result, my studies played an important role in allowing me to get to know my relatives.

In addition, being the first college course that I attended, it was a positive experience that encouraged me to pursue a college education. Once graduating high school, I entered the workforce. Although I always wanted to attend college, I was plagued with uncertainty. After being out of school for five years, I finally gathered up enough courage to return to school. The desire to converse with visiting relatives was the accidental steppingstone that provided me with confidence and reassurance to move forward. Since my initial Italian class, I have continued with other courses and I hope to earn an associate degree and continue with my studies at a four year institution. Hence, studying Italian has had a monumental impact on my life.

In the summer of 1997, Professor Mansella organized a trip for her students as a means of enhancing our education in the Italian culture. Other Italian students and I gathered together for an amazing journey to the land that we had studied and dreamed about visiting for so long. Together we embarked on an incredible experience that we would remember forever. I was thrilled with the opportunity to visit such historical landmarks that graced the pages of my textbook. The massiveness of the Coliseum overwhelmed me, the size of the Trevi Fountain surprised me, and the artwork created by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel amazed me. The mystique of the ruins of the Roman Empire was an education in itself. It was a dream come true to enjoy a magical gondola ride through the city of Venice. Each city that we visited seemed more beautiful and unique than the last. Moreover, I am extremely appreciative that I was able to visit Assisi and the church of St. Francis, before the devastating earthquakes ruined its priceless beauty. My trip to Italy made my Italian studies complete. It brought to life what were once only images.

Studying Italian has influenced my life tremendously. I opened the door to a new and undiscovered world. It was not only a foreign language class, but a history, art and cultural education as well. Through the course of my studies, I obtained an extreme amount of knowledge and appreciation for the Italian culture. In addition, it provided me with the vital means to embrace my heritage. Not only I have learned about Italy, I also learned about myself.

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Last Updated: 11/6/14