Canonico, Matthew


Language: Italian

Location of Study: Florence, Italy

Program of Study: Super Intensive Italian at Scuola Leonardo da Vinci

Sponsors: Albert J. and Helen M. Ravarino Family International Scholars in Italy Award, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

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A brief personal bio:

My name is Matthew Canonico, and I am a sophomore majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Italian. I was drawn to Italian at Notre Dame by my Italian heritage and by the positive experiences of my older brother (Domenic ’16), who majored in Italian. I will be in Rome in Spring of 2019 as part of the Rome International Scholars Program.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

First and foremost, the goal of acquiring a second language is one that is very important to me. It is a demonstration to myself and to others of my ability to understand ideas clearly enough to the point that I can recreate them in a different tongue. I have often thought of mathematics, my major, as a different language; I believe the tools I develop in each of these disciplines serve to aid in the other. The SLA Grant is a clear means to this end. Additionally, I believe the SLA award can realistically prepare me for the semester I will spend abroad in Rome in the Spring of 2019. I am now in my fourth semester of Italian, so I have had a lot of exposure to the language. This exposure, however, has been somewhat isolated exposure. That is, once I leave the classroom, it is very difficult to continue to practice my skills. Ultimately, I do believe what makes the difference for me could be as simple as changing location and experiencing everyday life in Italy.

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

Obviously, I hope to move a step closer to proficiency and ultimately fluency in Italian. This has to be the goal for any thorough study of a language. But more than this, I hope – and am confident – that being placed in the cultural context will advance my awareness and appreciation of the Italian culture more than any textbook could. On this note, I feel extremely fortunate for the chance to spend the time in Florence, the heart of the Italian Renaissance. On a personal level, I hope to achieve greater independence through this experience – it will be my first time traveling alone abroad.

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

1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate on both broad and nuanced subjects by virtue of having developed a much larger vocabulary base. 2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to comprehend Italian speech without first translating it to English; that is, I will be able to think in Italian. 3. By the end of the summer, I will be able to speak to native Italians without reserve due to a language barrier. 4. By the end of the summer, I will be able to notice and understand subtleties in Italian writing.