Why study Italian? Apart from being the number one study abroad destination among university students, Italy’s importance in the corporate world and its complementary pairing with humanities studies make Italian the fourth most studied foreign language in the United States. The Italian Major at Temple University is an interdisciplinary course of study that, in addition to being built on requirements of language proficiency and core knowledge of Italian literary history, places strong emphasis on cultural, global, and national identity studies. An additional learning goal for students of Italian is to demonstrate understanding and appreciation of cultural perspectives and practices in the Italian-speaking world. The program’s methodology is based on a communicative approach coupled with technology–based student engagement practice to enhance the students’ language retention, level of competency, and proficiency, as well as to provide a window into Italian culture. The transferable communication and critical thinking skills acquired by the program prove invaluable to employers of liberal arts graduates.
Degrees and Programs of Study
A student majoring in Italian can expect to take courses in Italian for Business where students not only master the sectorial language of Italian business but also gain an understanding of the functioning of the nation’s business and economy. Special topics courses, offered periodically, explore what it meant (and means) to be Italian in relation to historical events and realties that have divided and united the Italian people. Each course utilizes cinema and media studies to further reflect on how the country’s literature and history has shaped Italian society, while in turn showcasing different modes of reading and thinking about literature.
Italian Student Remarks
“The most momentous moment for me is the suggestion and gentle persuasion of Professor Gragnani to apply for the SITE program in Lombardia. I was accepted and spent three glorious months of Milan teaching at I.T.C. Gino Zappa in Saronno, Varese. This experience really strengthened my Italian language skills and gave me the unique opportunity to immerse myself in Italian culture.” (Anastacia Garcia, Anthropology & Italian, ’11)
“As a student of psychology, I was always eager to explore and analyze people – the Italian program presented a wonderful opportunity to approach this ultimate objective from a unique angle. Through the acquisition and investigation of a new language and culture, my perception of and appreciation for methods of communication and cultural diversity were enhanced.” (Emma Bushong, Psychology & Italian ’13)
Students who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Italian have been accepted into fully funded Ivy-league graduate doctoral programs while others have had success in the corporate world, both within the United States and abroad.
Each year 2-3 students are selected to serve as English Teaching Assistants via a paid internship in Lombardy, Italy through the Study, Intercultural Training and Experience (SITE) Program. Other internship opportunities include The America-Italy Society (AIS) of Philadelphia where a paid internship is offered for a summer archival, research, and writing project on its history and mission. The intern gains the opportunity to select historical documents, do research on the web, and prepare information to publish on the AIS website. The newly opened History of Italian Immigration Museum in South Philadelphia also frequently seeks Italian students to intern in positions such as general museum assistance, museum office assistance, and public relations.
The department of FGIS offers Marthe Lavallée-Williams Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants ranging from $2,000-8,000 to CLA undergraduate students in good academic standing. Assorted awards support language study in France or Italy for 1 semester, 1 academic year or 1 summer.
Scholarships available outside of the department are offered through organizations such as the Coccia Foundation, National Italian-American Foundation, and Filitalia. Fulbright Scholarships are also available through the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.