for consortium members
and associated universities
September/October 2010, newsletter. N. 5


Fall Semester Courses
Calendar of Events
Interview with Prof. Christine Dodd
Pasta 'Making and Eating' Evening
Student Spotlights

BCSP welcomed twenty-two students in Bologna on August 30, 2010. September was an important and busy month. Students attended orientation meetings and activities, found housing, completed the Pre-session course, and had individual academic advising sessions with Director Andrea Ricci. Courses at the University of Bologna and at the BCSP office have been in full-swing as of mid-October.

Special thanks to University of Minnesota student John Hooper, a talented photographer, for the picture of his friends, Liz and Natasa (both University of Minnesota), strolling under Bologna's famous porticoes.


Prof. Christine Dodd


The courses being held at the BCSP office this semester include: Prof. Christine Dodd's Advanced Course in Italian Language and Society, Prof. Fulvio Cammarano's The Italian Historical Transformation: from Unification to the Fascist Era, and Director Andrea Ricci's The Cinema of the Italian Economic Miracle.



Prof. Christine Dodd has been teaching Italian language and culture to BCSP students for five years. She is responsible for four/five courses held throughout the academic year- both Pre-session Language and Culture courses and each Fall and Spring semester Advanced Italian Language and Society course. Prof. Dodd is from Bologna. Her father is British, and her mother is Italian. She graduated in French and Spanish at the University of Bologna with a thesis topic on foreign language education.

Q. BCSP students come from various universities, and even though they have met the language requirements to participate in the program, they sometimes have different levels of Italian. Some are Italian majors while others are concentrating in different subjects. How do you help prepare them for the courses they will take at UniBo and the full-immersion in Italian university life?

A. In my pre-session course, for example, we simulate an oral exam. The American students consider the Italian oral exam complex and daunting. I try to teach them strategies for a successful 'performance'. They learn the proper way to interact with Italian professors, and formulas for what to say at an exam. By 'formulas' I mean how to formulate a question for a professor, how to introduce a new topic during the exam, how to ask for clarification or show interest. We then put these formulas to practice we simulate an exam in class. Students also simulate writing emails to professors in the formal tense. I give them study tips, too. I explain how Italian students prepare for exams. They repeat out loud what they've studied and recite answers to questions the professor may ask. This tactic is useful as the exams are oral, and the American students need to practice speaking. I tell them that if the Italian students do it, then that is all the more reason why they should.

Q. What do you like about teaching Italian to American students?

A. The American students are very curious about Italian culture. They are very interested in participating in discussions about topics in Italian society, such as family, education, food, etc. I get the impression that they feel that Italian culture really is different from theirs. This inspires conversation in class.

Q. For your course 'Italian Language and Society' students are assigned to read newspaper articles on current events and then discuss them in class. Which topics have inspired the most interest?

A. The Italian family is always of great interest but also issues regarding young Italians. We've studied articles on alcohol consumption in Italy, bullying in Italian schools, and the how Italian school system works, for example.

Q. How would you describe the improvements BCSP students make in Italian by the time they have finished your course?

A. Using articles on current events really helps improve their Italian because I've noticed that they often discuss their homework assignments with their Italian roommates, or with other Italian peers, and this produces a positive result in class. It is a course that encourages them to engage in conversation with Italians, and what they learn outside of class they bring for discussion the next day. My class represents and implements the opportunity for full-immersion.

Pasta Making and Eating Evening

As of the Spring Semester 2010, BCSP introduced a 'Pasta Making and Eating Evening' into the orientation week activities. This year's annual students learned to make tagliatelli, strigoli, tortellini and tortelloni with 'Nonna' Assunta and her daughter, Manuela, at the La Traviata, a trattoria run by the same bolognese family for generations. In the pictures to the left, student Julia Meek (Indiana University) exchanges recipe secrets with Assunta and students Alexandra Gray (University of Pennsylvania) and Natasa Stjepnovic (University of Minnesota) prepare tortelloni cheese filling with Manuela. Later that evening dinner and dessert was served for everyone.


Viist the BCSP Facebook page to see photos of the
Welcome Dinner, Pizza Party, Pasta Evening,
and trips to Ravenna and Urbino:

Claire Harrison


Ellen Skala


University of Minnesota

Claire is interning for the academic year at the City of Bologna's Cultural Communications Office. Her tasks include writing a newsletter in Italian for the city's cultural events and promoting the events to the student population. She also helped represent the Culture Office at Alma Fest, a festive orientation day at the University of Bologna.

University of Illinois
Ellen is interning for the academic year at the International School of Bologna. She assists the ESL coordinator, Sue Bell, during classes on Tuesday and Thursday and works with children between 4 and 9 years old. Ellen is responsible for organizing the daily activities, which may include learning songs in English, art projects with vocabulary themes, spelling bees, and reading out loud followed and interpreting paragraphs.

After graduation, Ellen would like to teach English abroad. She obtained a TOEFL teaching certificate in the United States and has experience teaching English as a foreign language to adults. At the International School she is exposed to mostly Italian mother-tongue children that are learning English grammar before Italian grammar. Through her teaching experiences, Ellen has observed that, while adults understand the concepts of grammar, teaching young children presents new challenges because they are being introduced to structural linguistic rules for the first time. Ellen finds the internship very valuable towards reaching her future goals; she will be able to teach English to a variety of age levels.