The great thing about attending an American university in Italy is that there are organizations in place which allow you to immerse yourself in Italian life, and also share your American culture with others. One such organization is the High School Outreach Program, run by John Cabot University in association with high schools in Rome and surrounding areas. For any student looking for a more well-rounded experience abroad, the Outreach Program is an exciting and non-intimidating way to meet and mingle with an Italian audience. By participating in the program, JCU students have the opportunity to learn about themselves and their host country, while helping high school students improve their English literacy skills.
The opportunity to engage in authentic cultural exchange is one of the main reason students are inspired to study abroad in Italy. Nothing compares to total immersion in a new country, and the chance to experience firsthand its unique traditions and way of life. And the exchange goes both ways! As John Cabot students interact with the city’s inhabitants, they too are exposed to new and interesting world views. But unless you actually get out there and converse with locals, experience on either side is restricted to passive observation. The High School Outreach Program is an ideal way to make that initial introduction. Volunteers get to converse with Roman students, while the students get to practice their language skills – and both have a chance to exchange ideas about literature, society, and the human condition.
Practical Benefits of Participation
In addition to the rewards of cultural exchange, the Outreach Program offers John Cabot students other practical ways of enriching their time at an American college in Rome. Speaking before a class is an excellent way to develop and practice your communication and presentation skills – abilities considered foundational to a liberal arts degree, and essential to professional success following graduation. After at least six scheduled visits to a classroom, volunteers earn a Certificate of Participation: an excellent accomplishment to put on your resume for teaching positions, applications for graduate studies, or future employment opportunities.
John Cabot University also offers a more frequent volunteering opportunity in a similar realm, called the Italy Reads program. This community-based reading and cultural exchange program chooses a work of American literature to be read in various high schools across Rome, and then discussed with John Cabot students. Both the High School Outreach Program and Italy Reads give study abroad and degree-seeking students the opportunity to forge rewarding relationships with local literary enthusiasts while giving back to their host country in meaningful ways.
How will you get the most out of your time in Italy?