Since I am studying abroad in Italy, it would make sense that I talk about my actual classes! I am taking four classes for 15 credits this semester at the Umbra Institute. I really like them and they each offer something different. What I like most about the classes is that they are challenging me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I have great professors and am looking forward to how the semester progresses.
Below are my classes:
Intensive Intermediate Italian: 6 credits
Monday-Thursday, 10:30-11:50 AM
We had a week of intensive (intensive) Italian the first week we were here – 3 hours in the morning, 3 hours in the afternoon. In the morning we reviewed concepts we’ve learned before to refresh our Italian skills, and in the afternoon we learned “Italy survival” such as going to the supermarket or a restaurant. Now we are doing a mix of vocab, grammar, and speaking each class. It’s an engaging class and I like that it’s my first class of the day – so I don’t have to get up very early like I would at Babson. There are around 11 students in the class.
Sustainability of Food Production in Italy: 3 credits
Monday & Wednesday, 5:15-6:45 PM
I really like this class especially considering my interest in environmental sustainability. So far we’ve talked a lot about agriculture and its origins then we moved to the green revolution and we’re now discussing the effects of it. The class has really challenged some of my thinking on certain kinds of food production, such as organic farming, as solutions for the future. For instance, there are a lot of loopholes with the term “organic” and unfortunately it’s not as pure as we often think it is. There are about 10-12 people in the class.
The Business of Food: 3 credits
Tuesday, 5:15-6:45 PM & 7:00-8:30 PM
Considering I go to business school and I love food this class was a natural option for me to take. The class focuses more on wine than food in general but I find the industry very interesting so it’s still a great class. As you might remember from my earlier blog we visited a winery with this class that we will be working with towards the middle-end of the semester. As of right now though we’re learning about the industry and different approaches to wine marketing. There are around 15 people in the class.
Fair Trade Internship: 3 credits
Internship: Tuesday & Wednesday, 12:00-1:30 PM; Seminar: Thursday, 3:30-5:00 PM
I originally wasn’t intending on taking this class when I came to Umbra but as I learned more about it I decided it could be a great opportunity. It’s a seminar and internship based course. What does this mean? It means that I have a seminar each week where I learn about Fair Trade and its positives and negatives. Then, I intern a few hours a week at Monimbò Bottega del Mondo which is a Fair Trade shop not too far from where I live that sells food, clothes, jewelry, and other fair trade products. The seminar is taught in English but the internship is almost all in Italian. It can be a definite challenge but I’m hoping it’ll be a rewarding experience. So far I have mostly worked in the food section restocking inventory. Yesterday the owner of the store was telling me about the different kinds of fair trade coffees the store sells so that if a customer asks I will know how to respond (exciting but at the same time terrifying!).
None of my classes are pure lecture based which is good. We have a lot of class discussions and we learn a lot from each other in that way. It’s different being in classes with students who are not also business majors (as it is at Babson) so everyone brings a different perspective from their respective educational (and experiential) background. I can’t believe that midterms are already coming soon – time goes by fast!