Italy is a popular study abroad destination, and now some students will have the opportunity to learn about living in Italy before they depart.
This summer a new course, IT 197A (Italian for Study Abroad), will be offered for students who plan to study abroad in Italy. The course will be taught by Patrick Tunno, lecturer in Italian, and will focus on what it’s like to live abroad in Italy.
“I want to provide an insight into the lifestyle of Italians, and [teach students how to] integrate themselves into the culture,” Tunno, who developed the course, said.
Tunno has led study abroad programs in Todi, Italy before, where he noticed students having problems adjusting. This course will prepare students to live in Italy by discussing everything from etiquette, buying groceries and dressing appropriately, he said.
Tunno previously taught IT 110, which covered similar topics but for advanced Italian speakers. IT 197A is designed for students who have little, if any, prior knowledge of Italian.
“The format of the course will include previous students’ experiences from studying abroad, videos and dialogues,” Tunno said. “It will be a lot of fun and discussion, but very practical.”
Lauren Perrotti, who took Tunno’s IT 110 course before she studied abroad as an undergraduate, said the course prepared her for things that would have otherwise been unexpected.
The course covered the basics of living in Italy, but also covered safety issues like tactics used by pickpockets and where a person should keep their wallet when traveling, Perrotti (graduate- Spanish) said.
IT197A will help students have a better experience abroad, Tunno said.
“I want them to be better ambassadors of Penn State and I want them to be safer living abroad,” he said.
Though the course will focus on living in Italy, it will also incorporate some basic phrases and key pronunciations in Italian, Tunno said.
When students go abroad, they realize all the day-to-day things they don’t know they didn’t know, said Kathleen Fox, who is the study abroad adviser for Italy.
“I was really excited when I found out the course was going to be offered, because the benefits are huge,” she said.
If the course does well, other students who are studying abroad in different countries could benefit from a similar course, Tunno said.