for BCSP consortium members and associated universities
Fall semester 2015 - N° 15


SAVE THE DATE: BCSP 50th Anniversary May 27 & 28, 2016 in Bologna
Student Events and Excursions

Searching for Italian Relatives in Italy
Italian After Graduation...it is possible!
EXPO Milan Student Ambassadors Reunite in the BCSP Office
Student Spotlight: Domenic Canonico

Alumni Notes


BCSP will celebrate 50 years of study abroad in Bologna, Italy, on May 27 & 28, 2016. This direct enrollment program was founded in 1965 by the late Professor Emeritus Mark Musa, a renowned Dante scholar from Indiana University, who established the consortium’s first bilateral exchange agreement with the University of Bologna.  Since then more than 1,600 alumni have learned Italian and memorably passed through the portici of via Zamboni.

Student Events and Excursions


Guided tour of Bologna, 16/9
Pasta Making and Eating Day at Tenuta Bonzara, 16/9
Ravenna: from the Roman Empire to the Dark Ages, 18/9
Bologna's Medieval Museum, 22/9
Urbino: the Italian Renaissance, 26/9
Bologna Nera: historical mysteries & crime stories, 3/11
Sala Borsa: the archaeological excavations
, 12/11
Thanksgiving dinner
, 26/11


passport"I always knew that I had Italian roots, but I never thought I would have the pleasure of finding those roots at the source: Fiumedinisi, Sicilia. With only a city name and the surname Pino, my Mom, sister, and I became geneaology sleuths. Our city of origin only has 1,500 people and there are 0 restaurants. It’s truly tiny. I walked up to two men sitting in one of the two piazzas in the town and asked if they knew the name Pino. Not only did they know the name Pino, they walked me and my family over to the other piazza, and introduced us to our relatives. From there, I spent the day drinking wine that our relatives made in their own vineyard, eating 18 pizzas for 16 people, and translating the Sicilian dialect into English the best I could. We had the amazing opportunity to see the cemetery where our great- and great-great-grandfathers were buried as well as tracing parts of our family tree that had been lost to us in America. It was hard to say goodbye at the end of the day, but we left knowing that we had loving family who would welcome us with open hearts and wine bottles as soon as we are able to return."
(Alex is front row center wearing a red t-shirt.)

Alex White
Theology/Italian Studies
University of Notre Dame 2016

BCSP Spring 2015


"Will the experience of study abroad help me find a job?"
"Will I ever use the Italian language again??"

Study abroad advisors and Italian instructors must hear students frequently ask these questions. We often do in the BCSP office! The students studying abroad with BCSP are in their junior year of college, with the occasional exception of a few seniors. Study abroad has been on their check lists since they started Italian class freshman year. The next items to check off the list are usually "senior thesis", "find a job", "grad school", "peace corps"....BCSP students often say they appreciate learning to "live more in the moment" once integrated into the university culture of their Italian peers, and they start to reflect on how study abroad will embellish their resumes. As their grasp of the Italian language improves, they wonder how they may continue to use Italian in their future. Italian majors consider viable career paths. BCSP turned to knowledgeable friends and alumni for their valuable insight in what we hope will become an ongoing discussion column in our newsletter.

Ellen Skala (BCSP 2010-11)
Executive Assistant to the President, Cooperativa Ceramica d'Imola North America

Q: How did study abroad in Bologna influence your career path?
A: I always knew that I wanted to use Italian in my future career. I continued to study Italian after I moved back to the US and would always look for jobs that required my knowledge of the language. I also stayed very close to my Italian roommates which helped a lot. I loved the language and culture so much that I didn't want to only use it on vacations but put it to use every day at work.

Q: Are you using the Italian language at work? If so, to what extent has it been useful to you?
A: I speak or write in Italian every single day at work. The company I work for has manufactured tile in Italy for over a century and our headquarters and offices are in Italy. While I work in the Chicago office, I've been lucky enough to travel to Italy for work and when I'm in the Italian offices, it's all Italian all the time!

Q: As an International Relations major from the University of Illinois, do you feel that your academic specialization and Italian language skills have helped lead you to your current position?
A: They could not be more valuable to my position and my career. I was hired because I spoke Italian and understood the culture. My boss in Chicago doesn't speak Italian so being able to translate emails, documents and during meetings has been invaluable for both him and me. I wouldn't have gotten the job without them!


Erin Nebel
Director, Communications, Financial Services

Q: What kind of job opportunities for humanities graduates exist with the finance industry?
A: Quite a few, actually! It depends on what interests you. Many major corporations -- not just finance -- have foundations or charitable initiatives that support causes important to their local communities or meaningful to their consumers. If you appreciate doing good for others, but want to remain in the finance industry, that's an avenue humanities majors should consider. Students who take a lean toward writing should look into communications roles - either internal, communicating to employees, or external, communicating to the media, are viable options. Finally, just because a student has a humanities degree doesn't mean they're limited from working on the business side of any organization. A humanities degree provides an excellent foundation for strategic thinking, creative problem solving and driving innovation. Employees with these skill sets are invaluable to any organization, in any role.

Q: Does study abroad on an applicant’s resume have an impact during the hiring process?
A: Yes, but like anything else on your resume, during an interview you should remark on how the experience has shaped you and prepared you for the role you are considering. Study abroad programs aren't (just) about getting away from Mom and Dad! Think about the skill set required for the job you are considering. Does it place an emphasis on organization? On collaboration? On problem-solving? One of the many advantages study abroad programs provide is that they give you ample opportunity to come across new experiences. When you return home and find yourself sitting across the table from a potential employer, contextualize those experiences and help the interviewer see the connection between what you have learned and what they are looking for. How you approach new experiences in life and in work is just as important as how savvy you are in Excel.


Anthony Nussmeier (BCSP 2003-2004)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at Kansas State University,
Founder of KSU study abroad program in Orvieto, Umbria

Q: Could you share advice with our Italian majors considering an academic career path?
A: Don’t do it! I’m kidding, at least mostly. An academic path is not for everyone, as it generally involves many long hours, frustrating moments, and a lagging job market, but if a student truly loves to teach, read, learn, etc., it can be a rewarding career. In the end, most academics can be misanthropes, but there is no one who forces a person into academe. My advice would be to appreciate the opportunities that being an academic provides—to learn continuously, to teach and influence students, to be satisfied intellectually, and to have some say in how you spend your work-day—and decide if all that outweighs the challenges. If an academic path is not right, then choose something else! For me it has been immensely rewarding despite the challenges. I still get a rush knowing that I can take students, who know little more than a few words of Italian, on a journey that sees them able to converse in, to read and to write the language. On another note, students should decide to go on to graduate school, not based on anyone else’s expectations or in the vein of “I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do”, but rather because they believe that it will offer them the chance to do what they truly enjoy.

Q: What factors usually lead your students to studying Italian and how can learning Italian at an advanced level be useful in a student’s future?
A: There are many factors that lead students to choose Italian, and often it depends on geography. For example, at my previous institution, Penn State, we had many so-called “heritage learners”, i.e. students whose families are Italian. Other times we get “refugees” from high-school Spanish, those who want to experience something different. And in many cases, students of Italian are interested in study abroad, and believe that language study will provide them with a more enriching experience. Here at Kansas State University we have fewer heritage learners, but many students who are attracted to some aspect of Italian culture—calcio, motorsports, opera, art, literature, food—and for that reason decide to study the language.

The study of language, and of Italian in particular, can be useful to a student in many ways, not all of them strictly vocational. On the most basic level, studying another language forces you to reflect more carefully on the use of your own, native language. And recent studies have shown that the study of a foreign language can delay the onset of brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. More philosophically, the study of a language can open a student up to beauty. Students of Italian can read the world’s greatest work of literature, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and Italian is, of course, also the language of opera and art.

On a practical level, students who choose to study a foreign language have higher median salaries than other liberal arts majors. Speaking vocationally, Italian can be used in many ways, and not just in the typical industries, i.e. fashion, food, editing, publishing, teaching, etc. Many of my students pursue Italian because it pairs well and has natural affinities with other fields of study, such as Engineering, Art History, English, International Business, and Hospitality. Italy is a world-leader in the creation of pharmaceutical contrast agents, yacht-building, and construction. It is home to the world’s highest concentration of UNESCO world heritage sites. Even industries such as aerospace have a home in Italy and can offer opportunities to students of Italian. (Italy just sent an astronaut to the International Space Station for three months, and was the third country to send a satellite into orbit.) In short, the study of Italian can be useful in a myriad of ways that are personal, philosophical and vocational!


passport"The expo gave me the opportunity to meet people from across the world and discover perspectives that I would otherwise never have encountered. I learned a lot about what is going on in the world and subsequently what I want to do to help it develop in a more positive direction." - Francisca Figueroa, BCSP AY 2015-16, Indiana University

Pictured from left to right: Roniquee Marksman (BCSP Fall 2013, Columbia University), Francisca Figueroa (quoted above), Alexandra Kuehl (BCSP Spring 2014, University of Wisconsin), Adriana Di Fazio (BCSP Spring 2014, Barnard College)



Domenic Canonico (BCSP Spring semester 2015, University of Notre Dame) was awarded the University of Notre Dame’s Monteverdi Prize for juniors in the Program of Liberal Studies to perform research from June 5 to July 10, 2015, in Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Tuscany, for his senior thesis on the Theology of Medieval Pilgrimage. He visited sites on the via Francigena and was interested in studying the allegorical representation of the human life as pilgrimage towards god. Domenic took Professor Giuseppe Ledda’s Filologia Danteseca course at the University of Bologna, and Dante will always be a useful resource for understanding this allegorical vision. 


Alex Blutinger (BCSP Spring 2009, Brandeis University) visited the BCSP office last April. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school and is completing an internship in New York City. For two weeks in Bologna Alex interned at a local veterinary clinic. He visited with his former roommate and other Italian friends from his Spring semester abroad. Alex commented that Bologna hasn’t changed much, but it’s very different without BCSP friends such as David Pestell, Samantha Suranne, Lauren Claps, Rachel Kubacki. Hopefully they will all be able to reunite for the upcoming BCSP 50th anniversary celebration!

Mairin Cipolla (BCSP AY 2007-2008, University of Pennsylvania) stopped by the office in September. She was travelling with her boyfriend to show him Bologna for the first time and to relive some important moments in via del Pratello! Mairin lives in New York City and often thinks back to her year abroad. For a while she lived above an Italian wine bar in Brooklyn, which helped her maintain her Italian language skills! She is still in touch with her BCSP friends and the Italian friends that she made…in via del Pratello!

Anastasia Collins (BCSP Spring 2012, University of Notre Dame) and Max Ditlevson (BCSP Spring 2012, University of Wisconsin) made a surprise visit in June. In 2013 Max graduated from University of Wisconsin with a major in Italian, and Anastasia graduated from University of Notre Dame with a major in Liberal Studies and Italian. They became engaged during their trip in Italy: Max proposed to Anastasia in the Cinque Terre from a vineyard overlooking the sea! They both live in Baltimore. Max is studying to become a pharmacist and Anastasia is teaching English at a middle school in Baltimore City. Her career was inspired by her internship at the Gandino middle school in Bologna.

Schuyler Cowan (BCSP Spring 2014, Mount Holyoke College) came to visit last October. She is a Fulbright ETA in Muenster, Germany for the year. During her senior year, together with fellow BCSP alum Sarah Martin, Schuyler was an Italian language assistant at Mount Holyoke. The summer before that Schuyler and Sarah were awarded Mount Holyoke’s summer internship to work in the Office of International Relations at Ca' Foscari. These endeavors were inspired by Schuyler's internship in Bologna at the Pepoli middle school. Schuyler has remained in touch with Sarah and Alena Douglas. She frequently visits her family in Belgium.

Brandon (Paolo) Dayton (BCSP Fall 2014, Indiana University) graduated from Indiana University in 2014, and immediately after the ceremony “returned home” to Europe. Paolo taught English in a middle school in La Rochelle, France for seven months, and he came back twice to visit BCSP! He has kept in touch with Margaret Uland, who has also been teaching English at a high school in Italy. Paolo spent the summer in Oklahoma with his family and recently returned this side of the Atlantic to continue teaching English in Madrid! We can surely count on another visit soon!

Christine Ianni (BCSP Spring 2014, Mount Holyoke College), Sophia Spector (BCSP AY 2013-14, Mount Holyoke College) and Mattia Gentile (BCSP intern Oct. 2013-Feb. 2014) came to visit the BCSP office on June 3, 2015, with exceptional news: Christine and Sophia graduated together from Mount Holyoke. Christine will start working at HUBSpot in Boston, an indbound marketing and sales software company. Sophia will be a New York City teaching fellow. Mattia has been accepted to a master's program in Venice. They will be taking many trips between New York, Boston and Italy!

Becky Lee (BCSP Spring 2011, Cornell University) recently wrote that she is living in Florianópolis, Brazil in the southern state of Santa Catarina. She is a Fulbright TA in English classes for the university community through a program called Inglês sem Fronteiras (English without Borders), which helps Brazilian students study abroad in English speaking countries. Becky presents workshops about American culture and holds conversation clubs. She spent "winter break" traveling around Brazil, a physically large and hugely diverse country that she is really enjoying getting to know!

Sam Park (BCSP Spring 2012, Indiana University) obtained an M.A.  at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Piedmont. He was asked to stay on and work for the university in the Tutor Office. Sam’s main responsibility is to organize didactic trips for undergraduate and graduate groups. He is very happy to have chosen the Food sector for his career! Sam wrote: "My semester in Bologna played a big role in me ending up in Bra and being in the world of food.  Given how food plays such a large role in Bologna's identity as a city and Bologna's role in the greater gastronomic culture of Italy, it wasn't a coincidence that I found myself in Piedmont at the University of Gastronomic Sciences. I remember going to the Slow Food 'Earth Markets' every week if I could wake up in time with my classmates and roommates."

www.bcspbologna.it andrea.ricci18@unibo.it