This past June, two SCU Italian Studies majors, Camila Biagi and Maleny Quiroz, together with 50 other US students of Italian, participated in the VoluntarItaly program in Italy. After applying and being accepted in the program that required an advanced level of proficiency in Italian, they spent three weeks in Lombardy (Northern Italy) volunteering with Italian children in summer camps affiliated with the Catholic Church. As camp counselors, they ran activities to develop skills such as teamwork, determination, and faith. Both Santa Clara University students feel that it was the perfect opportunity to strengthen their language, connect with the culture, and learn to be role models and ambassadors for a younger generation. The Department of Modern Languages & Literatures awarded each one of them a fellowship to make this wonderful experience possible.
Maleny was placed in Cesano Maderno, a town 20 minutes away from Milan. The best part of her experience was being able to share her culture with the Italian children and, at the same time, growing in her own understanding of the Italian culture and language. One memorable day was when they did a pilgrimage up a mountain, where the kids enthusiastically helped each other get up all the way to an ancient church that stood at the peak, overlooking a beautiful lake and surrounding nature. See more photos.
Camila worked with children in the Grest summer program in Mantova, a city rich with ancient history and art. She enjoyed working with the children who were always curious about her life in the United States and eager to know about differences between American and Italian cultures. On her last day, when she had to say goodbye to many children she had become close to, she realized how special the time they had shared together was. Read more on Camila's Blog.