Carbonaro, Christopher



Name: Christopher Carbonaro


Language:  Italian

Location of Study:  Sienna, Italy

Program of Study: Dante Alighieri Institute

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Albert J. and Helen M. Ravarino Family International Scholars in Italy Program

Blog URL:




A brief personal bio:

My name is Christopher Carbonaro. I am a Sophomore studying Political Science, though I am also considering attempting to obtain a double major in Film. I began studying Italian roughly one year ago after convincing myself that my mangled Spanish syntax was beyond saving. Though this will not be my first sojourn to Italy, it will be my first in which I stay in one specific city for longer than a handful of days and my first in which I will enter the country with some measurable degree of foreign language capacity.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

This SLA Grant is extremely important to me, perhaps immeasurably so, due in large part to the fact that I am still uncertain of what field I would like to enter following graduation. Although I mentioned earlier that I am considering attempting to obtain a double major in Film, I am also intrigued by the idea of working with international policy. I plan to study abroad in Rome during my Junior year and, as a component of my assigned coursework, I intend to obtain some type of internship with the U.S. Embassy there. By being allowed to study Italian in its native country, surrounded by fluent individuals, I anticipate that I will be able to assimilate into any internship I find myself in while with much greater ease. I hope to consequently be able to more accurately assess whether or not such a field is one in which I would like to continue working. Additionally, though the following may have no great value in the form of career advancement, I would like to be able to communicate with my distant family and my grandparents in Italian.

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

I hope to be able to evaluate the extent to which I can adapt to a new environment and work towards blending into said environment. I am a native of South Bend, and so I have yet to truly experience the feeling of being thrown into the unknown as an adult. While many of my peers have been forced to familiarize themselves with the surrounding city of South Bend through tentative exploration and hearsay, I have never felt particularly distant from home. By traveling to Siena, I will be able to see how capable I am of adapting to a completely new environment, one which is different not only in terms of location but language and culture as well. If I choose to pursue a career in film, I will likely have to move to a large city and do something similar, and this study abroad opportunity provides a microcosmic sample of what such an academic pursuit might entail. I would also like to familiarize myself with one of the most influential and enduring European cultures; as someone fascinated by food, fashion, literature, and film, Italy understandably has a certain allure.

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

1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to speak without stumbling over my words. I find that I enunciate very clearly in English, and when I cannot properly do so in Italian, I get frustrated. At the end of my time abroad, I will be able to speak more closely to the manner in which I do in English.

2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to superficially discuss and recognize the various accomplishments of the most famous Italian individuals throughout the ages e.g. Dante, DaVinci, etc.

3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to speak and comprehend others at a level of proficiency equal to a student who has completed four total semesters of Italian classes at Notre Dame; if I can do this, I will have done what most students do in half of the time.

4. By the end of the summer, I will be able to speak with others in Italian on topics which do not primarily concern themselves with description. Examples of such types of conversations include discussion of literature, film, ambitions or dreams, political concepts, and more.

5. By the end of the summer, I will still be able to fit into my pants back home because I will not have eaten pizza for every meal and gained upwards of twenty pounds over the course of five weeks.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: