Berley, Samantha




Version 3

Name: Samantha Berley


Language:  Italian

Location of Study:  Sorrento, Italy

Program of Study: Sant’Anna Institute

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Mimi Ravarino

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A brief personal bio:

I’m a freshman studying International Economics and Italian from Canandaigua, New York. I am thinking about studying French or International Development as well because I would like to work internationally for a non-profit organization in the future. I am on the Women’s Boxing Team, Student Senate, and am involved with various clubs on campus from the Campus Ministry to SIBC. I really enjoy reading, singing, playing musical instruments, and am a huge cinephile.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This SLA Grant is important to me for two reasons. First, as an International Economics and Italian major, language acquisition is necessary. Being able to take my summer to work toward fluency will not only help me in my Italian studies, but will also give me the confidence and skills that I need to work internationally with non-English speakers. I would love to work abroad in Italy after graduating, and having strong communication skills is a must. I want to be able to harness the uncomfortable situations and frustrations of full language immersion into a greater understanding and appreciation of the Italian language. Secondly, I come from a big Italian family that still recognizes and lives by our Italian traditions. I would love to learn more about where I come from, and in learning Italian, I can grow closer to my roots.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

My main goal for language acquisition this summer is to be able to speak with fluidity and confidence. I feel like I have a decent foundation of the Italian language right now, but when it comes to speaking in class or with my professors, I lack the confidence to be able to use my language skills and respond thoughtfully. I want to feel like I have a good enough grasp at Italian that I can feel comfortable participating in class and having conversations with native Italian speakers. I also want to be able to read and understand Italian literature. I would love to bring home a few books written in Italian to read for fun that I can follow and enjoy as if they were written in English. Living with a host family, I hope to assimilate into Italian culture and learn the nuances that make native families different from Italian-American families like my own.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

  1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate smoothly in Italian with native speakers without pausing to think every few words.
  2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read a novel written in Italian with greater speed, comprehension, and proficiency.
  3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand Italian movies without subtitles and have a sense for humor in a foreign language.
  4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to converse with my Italian professors confidently and with fluidity.
  5. At the end of the summer, I will have developed relationships with my host family and other natives of Sorrento that I can hold on to and refer to through my Italian education.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

Sorrento is a smaller city with a very close community that I hope to enjoy being a part of and learning from. Learning technical linguistic skills in the classroom each day and learning conversational skills from the native speakers in the community and a host family will allow me to gain an advanced, comprehensive knowledge of the Italian language and to be familiar and a part of Italian culture. I am going to try my hardest to speak as little English as possible. I think that I have enough Italian under my belt to express my feelings, but by the end of the trip I want to be able to converse about anything and everything. I want to say “yes” to everything. From excursions to Pompeii and Capri with my school, and going to mass on Sundays with my family, I want to experience every single opportunity afforded to me and really dig into the culture and language of Italy.