Sometimes while studying abroad its hard to really interact with the locals. Thanks to Daniela Curioso, an Italian professor at TU Rome, students have to opportunity to take part in something called the Mamiani Project.
Mamiani is an Italian high school 10 minutes away from Temple where students can volunteer their time to help Italian students with their English.
Surprisingly, you don’t need to be fluent in Italian to tutor! (Which is perfect for a girl like me in Italian 101.)
In the beginning of the semester you’re assigned a class of around 25-30 students who you will visit once a week. It’s your job to engage the kids with activities that get them to practice their English; whether it is reading, writing, or speaking.
One of the activities I did with my class was introducing them to an American Valentine’s Day. First we talked about Valentine’s Day and what it meant in the United States vs. Italy. While most of the kids thought the holiday was stupid and pointless there was a hand full of girls who proudly stated “We want to go to America!”
Each student got their own handmade paper heart and were told to write what they would do on their perfect Valentine’s Day. The students were broken up into groups of girls and groups of boys, and once everyone in the group had contributed an idea each group stood up and shared their perfect date.
The girls voted on which boy group had the most romantic date and the boys did the same for the girls. At the end the winners were crowned “Mr. and Mrs. Valentine.”
This activity was one of my favorite because it got the students talking and they were amazed that Americans go to such great extent once a year to show someone they love them.
Being able to be a part of this project has really added to my study abroad experience. I think other tutors can agree, it’s a good way to feel like you’re giving back to a city that has given you so much.
It’s was pretty common for us tutors to get a picture with their students before we left, a sort of remembrance of time at Mamiani.
Here I am with my roommate Nicole and our high school class. Our students were 17-18 and studied classics.
Taylor Byerly and her high school class. Trying to recreate the Ellen Degeneres Oscar’s selfie?
And Anna Bockrath with her students on her last day.
Along with finishing our tutoring at the high school, students at TU Rome have finished classes! It’s crazy to think that the semester is nearly over (minus those pesky finals.)
In order to “celebrate” our Italian class being finished, our Italian professor, Paolo, invited us out to dinner! We went to a restaurant in Monti and had some traditional Roman food.
It was nice to be able to talk to our professor on a more personal level outside the classroom.
Regardless of how much Italian grammar I’ve actually picked up… I have to give a huge shout out to Paolo for putting up with me the entire semester and making the Italian language a little bit easier to learn!