Italian-American Student Spotlight: Ludovica Pizzichelli, JCU Class of 2016

My name is Ludovica Pizzichelli, and I am just as Italian as my name sounds. I was born in Rome, Italy to Italian parents, but most of my life has been spent in Texas. I moved to the United States when I was six years old, and only moved back to Italy two years ago to pursue my undergraduate degree at John Cabot University.

My first few years in the United States were a nightmare. I completely rejected my Italian heritage, refusing to speak Italian in public because I was ashamed to be an “outsider” among my American classmates. As years passed, I began feeling lucky for being “different” and became more appreciative of my heritage, which my family has kept alive in the States. For instance, I am grateful to have a classic Italian mother. Even if her stereotypical loudness in front of my friends might have been somewhat embarrassing growing up, I am thankful for her constant presence and involvement in my life, which many of my American friends did not have.

I fully consider myself a third-culture kid, as I don’t completely identify with either the Italian or the American culture. I was raised by my Italian mom and my American stepdad, which allowed me to experience both the more restrained “let’s sit down and talk about what you did” American scolding method and the typical Italian shouting. While growing up it was often hard to label what my culture was, JCU’s international community has certainly made me feel less alone.

Here, I have also made peace with my native language. When I moved to the States I immersed myself completely in the American way of life, so I lost most of my Italian. My family trips back to Italy every couple years allowed me to not forget the language completely, and with my mom in the US I speak “Ital-English”, jumping back and forth between the two languages as I look for the best way to express my thoughts.

When I came back to Rome to study I moved in with my grandparents, who speak very little English. My fluency has greatly improved since I came here two years ago, but sometimes I still need a moment in the morning for my brain to switch languages as I speak with my grandparents. On the topic of Italian grandmothers: they are adorable, but so loud and so stubborn! For example, my grandma insists that I drink fresh orange juice each morning because my doctor said it is good for me. This would be fine, except that I hate orange juice, and even though I have repeated this to my grandmother many times, it’s just not working. So, every morning I drink my orange juice, and I remember that Italy is now my home.



Ludovica Pizzichelli
International Affairs Major, Psychology Minor
JCU class of 2016
Friendswood, Texas

Student Spotlight