mercoledì 12 ottobre 2011

ISTITUTO EUROPEO Study Abroad, Middlebury College Sets an Example for American Universities in Florence

Middlebury Campus in Via degli Alfani
By Paige Gherardi

Middlebury College celebrated 50 years of its Florence location in Palazzo Vecchio with Mayor Matteo Renzi and the new Consulate General Sarah Craddock Morrison. One of the elements that sets Middlebury aside from other American universities in Florence is that their students sign an “impegno d’onore,” or honor code, to speak in Italian while they follow a Florentine curriculum.

It is very rare to see American students blending in with Florentine students their own age, and the biggest obstacle for interaction between them is the language barrier. Florence is trying to break this barrier by offering events that include both foreign and Italian students, but it is still difficult to find occasions to speak in Italian.

American universities, which send around 300,000 students abroad per year, are finding that their students are taking less and less away from the culture of their host countries because they spend an average of 4 hours per day connected with friends at family at home and are not challenged to speak a foreign language in social events. Now more universities are following in Middlebury’s footsteps and creating similar honor codes to speak in Italian.  

It will be interesting to see how many foreign universities enforce new language and cultural requirements to make Florence into a melting pot for students and culture exchange rather than remain an increasingly English-speaking town.

Middlebury College Impegno d'onore
M'impegno a usare esclusivamente la lingua
italiana durante il mio soggiorno alla Scuola
Italiana.  Sono pienamente consapevole del
fatto che l'uso, anche se episodico, dell'inglese
può comportare l'allontanamento dalla Scuola
in qualsiasi momento della sessione.

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