March 20, 2009

I cannot believe it—March 20th! Where does the time go? Last time I was journaling to you, I was all in a flutter for my first Italian university exams, and looking back now, all that worrying was for nothing (as it usually is). With every new cultural difference that my group here and I encounter, it seems that it is always a bigger deal at the beginning and then afterwards, I don’t even remember what I was so hyped up about. This semester, I went into my Letteratura Inglese class with a positive attitude and knowing that I would be able to understand a whole lot more than I did the first time around. In a way, taking this class makes me feel like I’m cheating the “Italian immersion idea” a bit because some of the literature is in English, like Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe or Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. However, now that I’m really getting into the course, I’ve realized that the Italian professors’ approach to literature is completely opposite to how I’ve studied it at Holy Cross. The actual literature is the least important part of the course, and we, as students, are expected to polish off books in one week’s time so that we can study what the professors actually teach—the criticisms. And after I started reading these, I don’t feel so much like I’m working around the Italian language because all of the criticisms are in Italian; and even moreso, they’re all by professors right from the Università degli Studi a Firenze! It has made for an interesting course considering my professor favors the feminist approach to all of the works that we are covering this semester. I’m enjoying it thus far…and after all, when can I say again that I took a Feministic Literature course taught completely in Italian?

Getting back into the “study mode” was a bit of a struggle because after our university exams, we had three entire weeks off from university. However, we did still have our daily CLIDA classes with our trendy “professoressa,” Maria. Going to the language school does not even seem like school anymore. In fact, as I sit here write now, I’m writing from the “salone” area of the school or the open social area that leads into the individual classrooms. But, aside from the fact that the school is in a beautifully renovated “palazzo” from the times of the Medici and the other art greats, the school has a “home” atmosphere. Sure, we do our studying, our homework, and those ever-popular grammar exercises, but when it’s time to have conversation, we talk about all facets of life: our lives, the difference between cultures, the Italian lifestyle, the food….I can go on and on. It’s funny to say this, but Maria, our teacher, probably knows the same about all of us as our host families do. She is such an incredible woman! None of us can quite determine her age, and I’m not sure whether it’s the fact that she dresses so impeccably and hip or if it’s the fact that she has the spirit of a college student. Whatever it is, we all can’t get enough of her, and even on the days when university is cancelled to another one of Italy’s infamous “scioperi” or strikes, we all make our way to CLIDA at 9 am all the same. At this point, we’re all pretty much into our second semester routines –university classes, occasional weekend trips, and finally, our preparation for our Final Exam at CLIDA! I can’t believe we’re already on our way to wrapping up the necessary CLIDA hours. It’s a little different for everyone because all of our hours at university vary, but around the second week of April before Easter is upon us, we should be just about completed with our owed class time. Although I guarantee you that I won’t be the only one who will still be dropping by to see Maria more than one day a week ☺ Alla prossima!

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