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Presenting our 2019 Massimo Bonavita / U of M scholarship winner!

My name is Aarilee Lorenzen and I am thankful for receiving the ICC Massimo Bonavita Memorial scholarship this year.

I took my first Italian course Spring semester of my freshman year at the University of Minnesota; at that time, I was just adding an extra course and Italian was something I had never had the opportunity to study before. Of course, the language has been fun to learn but what has really captivated me are some of the cultural topics introduced in classes, some of which have inspired some of the research I have done in my anthropology classes. Right now, I am talking a documentary film class with Prof. Fabbri which has been very insightful as to how film may be a valuable tool for ethnography. The things I have learned in Italian classes have also been helpful in some of my English classes, especially in analyzing and writing poetry. It would be no exaggeration to say that my courses within the Italian Studies program have been incredibly influential in my other areas of study.

My appreciation for the Italian Studies program is what inspired me to apply for the job as the Undergraduate Student Assistant, which has been a fantastic opportunity to become more engaged in events in the community and to share my passion for Italian studies with other students. The conversation hour has been the best part of the job, especially this semester. One thing that I am particularly proud of is that some of my friends who are studying other languages have started frequenting the conversation hour and are slowly picking up Italian. I have been so grateful to share this beautiful language with them and, hopefully, to inspire them to take a few classes for themselves.

Another way that I have been able to engage with the Italian studies program is by volunteering as an Italian tutor – working with students and helping them along in their classes. Perhaps my proudest achievement of my work within the Italian Studies program has been reestablishing the on-campus Italian club, Foro Italia. While serving as the president of the club, I have been able to organize many events like game nights, film screenings and cooking exhibitions all with the goal of getting more students interested in and participating in Italian Studies. Foro Italia has also allowed me to participate in many outreach events and to interact with other students on campus who have an interest in studying Italian.

I plan to continue my involvement with the Italian studies program next semester while I study in Italy at the Università degli Studi di Perugia. I am excited to be able to improve my language skills and to engage with Italian culture in a more thorough way. As with most study abroad programs, the cost of a semester in Perugia is more expensive than a semester at the University of Minnesota. This scholarship will alleviate some of the financial strain of going abroad.  Thank you for making this opportunity possible. I look forward to sharing my Italian experience with ICC members via posts and photos.  Grazie!

The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
  250 Third Ave N., Suite 625 | Minneapolis, MN 55401 | (612) 295-4111 

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