Parker Imlay

Recipient Profile


Language: Italian

Location of Study: Siena, Italy

Program of Study: Dante Abroad by Dante Alighieri Siena

Sponsors: The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, the College of Arts and Letters, and the Ravarino Family

Blog URL:



A brief personal bio:

My name is Parker Imlay. I’m a rising senior originally from a small town in Utah called Hurricane. My major is electrical engineering, but after taking a few semesters of engineering classes I felt like I was missing out on an important part of my education, namely learning a foreign language. Almost on a whim, I decided to sign up for a beginning Italian class for the spring semester of my sophomore year. I fell in love with the language and decided to continue my language studies during the remainder of my time at Notre Dame.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

The SLA Grant is important to me because it provides me the only opportunity during my undergraduate career to obtain the fluency gains and cultural intuitions that can only come from immersion in a foreign language. Both because my major required a fairly regimented schedule and because I started learning Italian late in my academic career, I wasn’t able to spend a semester abroad. This summer is my last opportunity to go to Italy before graduation. After I graduate, I plan on becoming a pilot for the US Navy, so I won’t be using Italian directly for a little while. However, after I am finished flying, I hope to continue my career in some type of diplomatic role, helping the Italian and American militaries work together. The language skills I develop this summer will be essential to those plans.

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

Over the course of my time in Siena, I hope to greatly improve my conversational Italian skills. While I have a good grammatical base, my speaking needs a lot of improvement. I have high hopes for the gains that I can achieve through using solely Italian for 5 weeks. I believe that being forced out of my comfort zone will increase my confidence in engaging in conversations beyond my comfort level as I continue to learn the language. By the end of the summer, my goal is to be able to smoothly hold full conversations with native speakers. In addition, I hope to develop greater appreciation of the Tuscany region, including the rich art history and gastronomical culture. Finally, I hope to develop some lasting relationships with the people of Siena.

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

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate without mentally translating phrases into English.

2. At the end of the summer, I will have developed at least three friendships strong enough that we will keep in touch. At least one of these will be with a non-student.

3. At the end of the summer, I will be able blend in well enough to the culture, even when speaking, to not have my presence scream “American!”