Salerno, Becket





Name: Becket Salerno


Language: Italian

Location of Study: Sorrento, Italy

Program of Study: Sorrento Lingue

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 am a sophomore from Omaha, NE, majoring in classics and economics, minoring in Italian. I enjoy reading, learning (especially language and culture), and sports (especially basketball). I have one older brother and a multitude of cousins with whom I am very close, as almost all of us live in Omaha. Last summer I made the decision to transfer to Notre Dame from Marquette, and incredible opportunities like this confirm that choice.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This grant is special to me chiefly for two reasons. First, my Italian heritage calls me to task. I am in love with the language and culture on a deeply personal level, and I hope this summer’s experience can help me to become culturally and linguistically fluent. I am optimistic that this summer study will enrich my personal identity. Second, I will spend the spring semester of 2017 in Rome, conducting research on Ancient Rome. The quality of my research will rely heavily upon my ability to navigate the country and converse with local scholars. This program will be the necessary push that renders me capable and confident to conduct good research in Italy.

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

This grant will allow me to make a large leap in my Italian proficiency, especially in speaking. I would say that I struggle most with the spoken language now. I can read and write the language with relative ease because I have ample time to process what is on the page or what I need to say—I think this is normal coming from a background of Latin. This summer, I will be able to focus on improving my fluency and comprehension of speech. Moreover, I hope to develop a couple lasting relationships with native speakers, whether that comes from my host family or friends I make around town.

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

  1. At the end of the summer, I will confidently be able to take up any conversation with a native Italian speaker.
  2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read somewhat advanced works in Italian, especially those relating to Ancient Rome.
  3. At the end of the summer, I will understand the intricacies of the Italian culture that a language course cannot provide.
  4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to identify and utilize some colloquial nuances and accents.
  5. At the end of the summer, I will have a feel for (not just knowledge of) the political and social climate of modern Italy.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

I will take in a six-week intensive language course at Sorrento Lingue. I will not use English. I will not do it. I will be tempted without a doubt. I will carry a small notebook around with me, taking down new words when I encounter them. I hope to be able to discern the English meaning of the word via a description in Italian. I will read a portion of the newspaper each day in order to supplement my vocabulary and cultural awareness. As I have already mentioned briefly, I will interact greatly with the locals. I hope to maximize the amount of time spent in conversation with native Italians—this is the way forward. I can memorize vocabulary words or read the language all day, but only through conversing will I become fluent.