Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday, April 29th

Today was a nice and sunny day. We didn’t do anything too exciting besides going to service learning. For the first hour of service learning Lorraine, James, and I played with many kids from different classes on the playground because the classes we’re assigned to were on a lunch break. The kids that I play with on the playground always give me flowers and bracelets and I find it very sweet. They’re super nice and are trying their best to communicate with me even though we have a language barrier. After the playground I went to the dance class with my class where I got to observe their interactions. It’s very pleasant to see little first-graders get along with each so well. They always help each other, play with each other, and are very considerate of each others needs. Closer to the end of the class I got to participate in some of their activities, which has only distracted them from what they were supposed to be doing but it was a lot of fun. Also, this upcoming Monday, my class is having an open lesson for parents and I was asked to come as well in order to help out and watch the kids while the teachers spend some time with parents. I am definitely looking forward to it.

When we got back home from service learning we decided to go to a local coffee shop to study for the Italian midterm. So Lorraine, Rebecca, Sydney, James, and I went to our favorite “No Name Bar” and spent a couple hours studying for the Italian midterm. We also got some help from the owners son Stefano who works at the coffee shop. After spending a few hours on getting ready for the midterm we got some gelato and headed back to the apartment.

April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014
Lorraine Yu

            We took our Italian midterm this morning.  It was short and mainly consisted of greetings/introductions, articles, and food vocabulary.  It wasn’t too difficult, but I did have some trouble remembering a couple of words.  After the midterm we had a short lesson that consisted of translating paragraphs into English.
            After a one-hour lunch break, we had class with Stephanie.  We talked about immigrants’ struggle with Catholicism as the dominant religion, especially in schools.  This is something that I can really relate to since I attended a Catholic school from Kindergarten up until I graduated from high school.  I felt like Catholicism was forced upon me, especially when I had to write essays about my belief in the religion.  However, I think the big difference between my experience and that of the immigrants is that my family chose to send me to this school.  If my parents were extremely uncomfortable with learning about Catholicism, I could have attended a different school.
            We had a half-hour break between class with Stephanie and our guest lecturer.  Some of us really needed some coffee to keep us going through our long day, so Stephanie took us to her favorite bar (coffee shop) in Campo dei Fiori.  It reminded me of the coffee shops back in the States because there were lots of tables where you could sit for no extra cost, a rarity here in Rome.
            For our last hour of class, we had a guest speaker, Silvio Daneo, come in.  He talked to us about the immigrants’ experiences taking religion classes.  Someone asked whether he thought religion classes should be mandatory for all students, regardless of their personal beliefs.  His opinion is that they should learn the history of Catholicism but the teachings of the faith should be left out of the curriculum since they have their own set of beliefs.  All in all, I really enjoyed his lecture and agreed with a lot of his ideas.

Monday 28-4-14

Woke up this morning and couldn't believe it was monday. I had just spent the weekend in Zagreb, Croatia with some awesome friends and really hadn't wanted to leave. Since it was Monday, I headed from my apartment to Italian Class. Italian was good, we started getting ready for the midterm we have on wednesday. I feel okay about it, we'll see how it goes. After Italian class I got my classic panino pomodoro e mozzarella from my favorite shop around the corner from campo dei fiori. I love just walking around the market and taking in the smells between classes. After lunch I headed back to class, this week is all about religion. Today we had an overview of Judaism, Catholicism and Islam in Rome. We mostly talked about the Isalmic religion since we were having a guest speaker who practices Islam come and speak to us later in the day. Class was really interesting, but I can still how this week is going to be tough. Religion is such a difficult topic for people to have non heated discussions about, I'm interested to see how the rest of the week goes, especially friday. I'm nervous to find out more about the Jewish religion in Roma and how people react to the history of the city.
After our lecture, Ejaz came and spoke to us about what it was like to immigrate from Pakistan to Rome in the late 1980's. He also spoke to us about his job, he is a cultural mediator (which comes with several tasks). It was really nice to speak with someone who went through what we have been studying and is a first hand account. I also really enjoyed listening about what he teaches to various teachers and students across the country. I'm super intrigued to see what the rest of the week looks like, until next time. Ciao!

Monday, April 28, 2014

This Saturday, because of all the excitement from last night’s football game, I had a late start. In the afternoon around 3pm, me, Julie and Christina decided to go to Vatican. 

By the time we got there, it was all packed at Piazza San Pietro. We could tell there were many people from other countries because they brought their countries flag with them, and some people were singing songs from their own country. We thought to ourselves that there must be having some kind of events. As expected, we found out later that there were two popes who have already passed away would become saints on Sunday, so I guessed people came here early to celebrate. However, we didn’t make it into the St. Peter’s Basilica since the line was incredibly long.

We thought there would be some kind of border line between Vatican and Rome, and we really wanted to take a picture of that line. So we spent a lot of time walking around and looking for the border line, but we didn’t find it and I am still wondering if there is an actual one. We saw the security men guarding the entrance to vatican, and the way they dressed was very different. Something I didn’t expect to happen was Julie asked one of the security man that if she could take a picture with him, since the way he dressed was very different, and he refused her. They also seemed to speak better English. We wondered if they were more educated and if they lived in Vatican. 

Before we left Vatican, there were many Spanish people singing and dancing at Piazza San Pietro, so we joined them. It was really fun and we enjoyed it a lot. We really like how we can see people dancing and singing freely in Italy.

So that’s our simple and relaxing Saturday in Rome. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Today Sydney, James, Rebecca and I woke up in Pompeii and had a delicious breakfast at our hostel! A capuccino and nutella-filled croissant are always a great way to start the day. We were originally going to hike Mt. Vesuvius but unfortunately it was raining and we were advised not to hike it on that type of weather condition. We were bummed that we were not able to do the hike but we were excited to head off to Naples and explore that city. We took off to Naples and the first thing we wanted to do was get lunch! We walked around trying to find a good-rated pizza place but couldn't find it so we ended up in another pizza place instead. My friends and I tend to share our pizzas all the time but this time we each ordered one to ourselves! Naples is known for their pizza so we were hoping for the pizza to be extra tasty but to our dismay it tasted like any other regular pizza haha. After lunch we stuck around a bit at the restaurant watching a Chelsea soccer game.  Then we headed off to check out the rest of the city but as we started walking we noticed that practically everything was closed and there were not a lot of people on the streets. And of course it was raining all day long.  The weather reminded me of Seattle! I wish it had been a nicer day though because our shoes were so wet and that's how we were walking the whole day. We walked nonstop from the time after lunch until we took our train to Rome. Our plans didn't go the way we hoped but overall it was nice getting to experience Naples with my friends. When Sydney and I arrived to our apartment we were updating Lorraine and Veronika on how our time had gone and we were literally crying of so much laughter! It's always fun catching up with each other and getting updates on what the rest of my peers were up to on the weekend! :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Today has been such a beautiful sunny day in Rome! We started off by watching a very unique film in class called Bread and Chocolate. It was about an Italian immigrant who struggles to become a member of the Swiss society but at the end doesn't give up no matter how awful his situation is.

After class a couple of my peers and I headed to buy soccer tickets for the game tonight between Roma and Milan! We waited in line for quite a long time and when we finally reached the entrance the man letting people into the store told us that the tickets were 75 Euros! We were shocked because some of our roommates the day before had gotten their tickets for 45 Euros so that's what we were planning on paying for them. We decided to go inside and see if that was true and to our luck the tickets were 45 Euros! We were so happy and purchased our 5 tickets. The ticket seller spoke Spanish so I was able to have a nice conversation with him while we were making our purchases.  It is really nice when I come across Spanish speakers because back in America I speak Spanish every single day. Here in Rome I haven't been able to and I really miss that. So when I come across someone who knows Spanish I get so happy! It is great getting to know more about them and being able to use my native language once in a while here.

We got some of the best seats in the stadium! We will be sitting in the middle of the first row of the sideline of the stadium! I couldn't be more excited. I have never been to a soccer game in my whole life so having the opportunity to go to one in Rome is beyond amazing! The game will take place tonight at 8:45 pm so my roommates are getting ready right now to head out together. We even got matching Roma T-Shirts to go support the team! This will be a great night!!!! :D :D :D

April 21, 2014, Lorraine Yu

We spent the first hour of class working on our group research projects.  We came up with our research question and a tentative timeline.  My group is working on immigrant youth in Italy, something that I’m really interested in because I compare it with my experiences as an immigrant in the US.  When class ended, we sadly had to say goodbye to Manka.  The whole class wrote and signed a card for her, and she gave us all souvenirs in return.
After a quick lunch break, Stephanie, our new professor, took us to Celio Azzuro, a preschool next to Circus Maximus.  Daniele, the director of the school, explained to us that the school provides a healthy environment to spread cultural awareness for both Italian and immigrant children alike.  Unlike most schools in Rome where parents are only allowed to drop their children off, Celio Azzuro lets parents spend about 20 minutes with them before leaving them for the day.  They can also spend that time talking with the teachers.  When they pick their children up, they can spend some time with their kids at the garden.  The school also holds events where families of students gather to spend time together.   During this time, Daniele tries to encourage families who have cultural differences to communicate with each other.  What I found particularly interesting was the admissions process.  Celio Azzuro will automatically accept children who are sent to them through social services.  From there, they make a list of foreign/immigrant families and Italian families and piece together a heterogeneous student body.  Priority is usually given to children who need it and come from various socio-economic backgrounds.  I really enjoyed the visit to this school and enjoyed the information that Daniele shared with us. 


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday April 24, 2014

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Rome, Italy! Earlier in the day we had Italian class and that’s always fun to learn more Italian. We learned how to order more food correctly with the appetizer, first meal, second meal, dessert and something to drink. We also learned the different feminine and masculine articles singular and plural. I like our Italian teacher because she seems passionate about the Italian language and she’s always enthusiastic.

After Italian class Claudia and I went to go buy Subway for lunch and just talked and catch up. I really enjoyed our conversation because I was able to vent and just talk about my feelings. She is a very good listener and after she gave me really good advice. So afterwards I felt much better than I felt yesterday. After lunch I grabbed a little gelato before we got on the bus to head to service learning.

My service learning site is at Iq Bal Masih and I have two different 1st grade classes that I switch back and forth from. So today I had my Thursday class with Caterina and I could tell the kids missed me because it had been over a week since I seen them. It felt good to see that they liked me even though I don’t speak much of the language. It really made my week to teach them English and for them to even teach me a little Italian today.  After Caterina and I got done teaching the kids a few English words we had free time where they draw a lot. So I also started drawing as well and before you know it the kids started huddling around me. They wanted me to draw stuff for them and of course I did. But then at the end of class most of them handed me drawings that they did for me! J Today was an awesome day, I loved it!

By Shontia C.W.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22nd

Today was a very exciting day! First, we had a Q&A with the director of a documentary we watched. His name is Fred Kuwornu, his film discussed the issues of not granting citizenship to immigrants, especially for those who were born in Italy. It was insightful to listen to his views and hear why he had to focus on the benefits of gaining citizenship and why he chose not to include things like multicultural education in his documentary. Following the Q&A, we got to meet Stephanie who will be teaching our class for the rest of the quarter! We are sad that Manka is leaving on Thursday, but excited to finally meet Stephanie.

After class, I went grocery shopping with a few of my classmates (trying to save money, eat less carbs, and cook in the apartment during the weekdays!) I bought some meat, veggies, fruit, and snacks. I was also able to sit at the apartment and relax a little, and turned in a job application before our group dinner tonight! Normally, if it was sunnier out, I would have gone on a walk or brought a book along with me to the park or something, but it was cloudy and had a little rain today.

Tonight we had our group dinner at Manka's apartment, since it was her last group dinner with us. Stephanie and some of the teachers and the principal of our service learning schools joined us as well. Manka got take out and we ate at her apartment. There was different food than just pizza and pasta and it was delicious! We had bread, mozzarella, prosciutto, chicken salad, a salad with grains and vegetables, broccoli, artichokes, strawberries, hazelnut wafers, cake, and beverages. (SO YUMMY!) Ate a lot, mingled with people, it was nice. :) After dinner we took Manka to one of the girls favorite gelato shop by our apartments in Trastevere. It was a good way to end the night.


Monday, April 21st

After dealing with downpours in Switzerland and Germany, I found out that my classmates also experienced fierce rain in Rome this weekend.  Therefore, Monday came as a great relief when the sky opened up and the sun was able to warm us all.  For me (and most of my peers, I assume), this was the first full day that I have had no responsibilities or travels to account to.  After a lazy morning, I had an enjoyable lunch and a group of us set off to Villa Pamphili to relax in the sun.  It was a relaxing opportunity to listen to music, write postcards, sun tan, and take a break from the busy days.  Although it was like finding a needle in a haystack, we were able to meet up with some more of the people in our group and we continued to hang out and take pictures.  At one point, I was able to jump in to a circle of people playing volleyball, and it was a fun way to let go and play!
As it was a slow, relaxing day, there isn't much more to say, other than that today was a great chance to recharge.  The weeks go by fast, probably because I don't have time to stop and reflect on them! Nevertheless, this program has been a tremendous experience so far, but I am even more excited to transition into the second half of the quarter!

James Norris

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday

So instead of having a traditional Easter Sunday of going to see the Pope speak at the Vatican (like I was originally planning on), I woke up and headed off to the... zoo! I stopped at the Trevi Fountain along the way because there's a gelateria there that I'm in love with because they're one of the few that sells lamponi (raspberry) gelato. I swear everytime I go there it's better than the next time. Then I did my best to try to remember the route to the Spanish Steps (I hadn't been there in over a year and a half by myself) and managed to get there without getting lost! It was like my feet knew exactly how to get around.
After the Spanish Steps I walked up hill to get to Villa Borghese which is this enormous and gorgeous park in Rome. It contains several museums, the Bioparco (zoo) and many other sites. On my walk to the zoo which happens to be on the complete other side of the park, I got to enjoy people watching and all of the greenery. The park was filled with people today, some had rented bikes, quadbikes, racecar bikes, segways and other 4 wheeled vechicles while others just preferred to stroll around on their own two feet. It was nice to get a break from the city for a couple of hours and enjoy a mini "paradise" in my opinion.
The zoo was great. It wasn't my first time there, but I love zoos so I knew I had to go at least once this trip. They even had two new exhibit type things - one was to raise awareness about invasive fish and the other was all about insects and butterflies. I thought the fish exhibit was quite cool since it raised awareness about the creatures coming to the seas around Italy and you got to see them first hand. I also got to see the bears being fed, which was quite cool. They seemed so human like, even as they ripped apart their fish. By far though, the giraffes and elephants are still my favorite. I even watched an elephant feed itself hay.
After the zoo I headed back to the apartment for the day. I made a late lunch and took a nap. I also cleaned my area around my bed so now it looks great (finally). Hopefully I'm off to bed soon, I'm exhausted. Until the next time!

Saturday, April 19th
Slept in a little late this morning so I wanted to get my day rolling. However, our water heater was broken, so my roommates and I couldn’t shower until 1pm this afternoon. My apartment was all ready to go by 2:30pm and we met up with some girls from the other apartment. We had a day planned for the rainy Rome weather. We caught the 3 to Testaccio and ordered a plethora of mini pastries that was recommended to us by a blogger. Afterwards, we hopped back on a bus that took us to Monti. We walked up and down the city streets, taking pictures of cars and plants and doors (thanks, Nancy). We also did a little bit of shopping; I bought my first purchase! I got a very cute and simple silver necklace from a boutique that was tucked away in one of the many alleys. By this time, we were beginning to get hungry. Veronika and Lorraine raved about a cute little restaurant in the neighborhood, so we decided to get dinner there. It was a quaint place, with delicious food and kind prices. Afterwards, we got coconut and tiramisu gelato for dessert. However, this did not fill us up. We caught the H bus back to Trastevere where we went back to our place to relax and plan our day trip to Tivolo for Easter Sunday. Then, we went out for Nutella-filled calzones as our (second) dessert. Hey, when in Rome, right?! It was another fun-filled day of walking around and having spontaneous photo-shoots and getting caught in the rain. We also ran into an older gentleman who heard us comparing today’s rain to Seattle’s and he told us that he and his wife were also from Seattle! Small world! Although it rained, it didn’t stop us girls from throwing on our rain jackets and whipping out our umbrellas. This weather was not new news for us Seattle-lites. Ciao until next time!

Sydney Staples

Friday, April 18, 2014

4/18/2014 – Friday
Natalie Hostetter 

            Happy Friday! Today was a beautiful day in Rome, sunny with not a cloud in the sky! First thing in the morning we met up outside the Ministry of Education as a group to get started on our Street Art Tour. The first place we saw was a rather old neighborhood with a new identity. We stood in the middle of a city square with children playing volleyball, soccer, and other outdoor activities together. Our tour guide explained to us that this neighborhood used to be where a lot of less well off families live, but now few of these poor families remain in the city as more middle class families have now taken over this neighborhood. She also mentioned that the nightlife is better there than in Trastevere where we all live! On a less educational and more personal note, on our way to our next sight we walked passed a Texas Roadhouse grill with all you can eat ribs! I will definitely need to make my way back there soon!!
            One of the next places she took us was an old slaughterhouse. Pretty weird for all of us animal lovers to see but we actually got to go inside the little private community and actually were sitting on old troughs where animals would drink water. Below I have a shown a panorama photo of the slaughterhouse to give you some idea in to what it looked like! Inside also was a curd (uncertain of spelling) community from Turkey I believe who graciously invited us to sit around with them for a little and have some tea!
            Next we were on to see some actual street art around the city of Rome and the first one we saw was a gigantic wolf on the side of the building. I wasn’t able to get a picture but take my word for it, it was HUGE! It covered the entire side of a probably 8-9 story building and was done in only one day! The meaning behind the wolf is that apparently the wolf is the official animal representation of Rome. Pretty cool. Next we saw some black and white art of a woman and a man on the walls of a sidewalk. I do have a photo below of this one and I can’t remember exactly the name of the mural but it was something like “The beautiful woman”. This particular piece of art was even turned into a short film. Lastly, we made it to the absolute most beautiful street art I have ever seen. This one I cannot describe to even remotely do it justice but I have a picture below to give you some idea. This mural was on the front and side of an abandoned building and the detail was just remarkable. One of the faces the artist painted was completely out of bananas! The artist, Blu, is one of the most famous street artist’s ever. He has traveled and done work in many countries throughout Western and Eastern Europe as well as the United States.

            This was just the start to an incredible Easter weekend! Ciao!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Jessica Pickering

Today, we finally got to sleep in a bit! We didn't go to our service learning classes like we normally would on a Thursday, because the schools are already on holiday for Easter! We rolled out of bed and went to our 1:00 pm class, where we started off by debriefing our visit to the Roma Camp the day before. Initially everyone was quite shocked, but after discussion we are all starting to wrap our heads around the concept a little more. We were a little bit unnerved to find out that the women are rarely allowed to leave the camps at night and that some of them get married at just sixteen. Also it was strange that some people could be a little wealthier in their home countries but choose to live in the Roma camps for various reasons, but most likely to make more money to take home to their families in their home countries or to temporarily do business and then move along to another country.

After discussing the Roma Camp visit, we began to compare immigration, immigrants, racism, and inclusion/exclusion between Italy, the European Union, and the United States. Manka taught us a teaching structure called "KWLH", which stands for what you already KNOW, then what you WANT to know, and after the lecture what you LEARNED, and finally HOW you're going to apply it. Personally I was curious about the citizenship regulations and the process that people go through to become citizens in Italy compared to that same process in the United States. I learned that in Italy specifically, the most important part of the process is gaining legitimate residency rights for a long-term stay. Sometimes, Italians never become citizens which is not as big of a deal as I initially thought. In order to gain residency in Italy, they must have legal documents for at least five years, adequate lodging, an adequate salary, and Italian language proficiency.

Once we finished class we all flooded out of the Rome center to enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the day. Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wednesday 4/16

After our lecture yesterday on the ethnic minority community the ‘Roma’, today we got to experience a real Roma campo first-hand. We were joined by anthropologist Ulderico Daniele, who took the bus with us about an hour away to lead us around the campo. Visiting the site after learning about this community was a very surreal experience. The people who lived in the camp seemed a bit confused at first about why a group of American students were there, however we were greeted by children at the gate and they started to follow us around. A social worker on the campsite gave us some more background information on the camp’s population; around 1,000 people live on this tiny property together. The Roma who live on this campo are from a wide range of places, and in particular a large community comes from Bosnia. We started to make our way around the camp, walking slowly and stopping to say hi to kids and adults on the way. Everybody was extremely friendly, waving and yelling Ciao! Our small group got bigger and bigger as the tour went on because the children wanted to tag along. I definitely wasn’t able to wrap my mind around the rough living conditions until I was able to see it in person. The containers they live in are tiny and worn out from the elements; and there is scrap metal and garbage everywhere. I started to realize after a while that all of the children in the campo that we saw had not gone to school that day, which made me sad that school isn’t a consistent possibility for them. Visiting this camp was eye opening to say the least, and I am really grateful that we were some of the only outsiders who able to experience it. This day was humbling and will definitely be one of the days I remember the most.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Veronika, Tuesday, April 15th by  

Today began with an interesting educational talk about the Roma community by Isabella Clough Marinaro. We learned many fascinating and also some disturbing facts about the Roma community that didn’t leave anyone apathetic. It’s unfortunate that not many people are familiar with the history of the Roma community and the current struggles they’re facing. Many people are hung up on the common stereotypes of the Roma community regarding nomadism, fortune telling, music and dancing, purity, religion and so on and so forth. There’s a widespread ignorance about Roma’s culture and it is unfortunate that the politicians don’t have much interest in improving the situation. We also learned the history and the current living situation of the Roma community in Italy. The ethnic camps that are usually in isolated and sometimes illegal places with very little resources sound awful. Tomorrow we will have a chance to visit one of the camps of the Roma community and I am looking forward to learning more about their culture.
Right after the talk Lorraine and I headed back to Trastevere where we caught a bus to Tor Piggnatara because we decided to have lunch in that area before service learning. It was a little bit difficult to find a place to eat at because all of the restaurants were closing for siesta but we still managed to find a great place for lunch. When we got to Pisacane, both of our classrooms were in the cafeteria for lunch so we decided to go outside to the playground where we could spend time with kids from other classes. A few girls from a second grade that I met last week were very happy to see me and we started playing together right away. They took me to their little stage area on the play ground, sat me down, and put on a “show” for me. The girls sang a couple of Italian songs, danced and did cart wheels and other tricks. I can’t even describe how beautiful that was. After the lunch break I went to the classrooms of my first graders and we went to the dance class that they have every Tuesday. I loved observing their interactions during the class and playing with all of them after the class. Even though there is a language barrier between me and the kids, it doesn’t stop us from connecting and trying to get to know each other. I look forward to seeing them next week.
After the service learning we bought some strawberries and apples and headed back home. On the bus we met up with the rest of our group and everyone looked exhausted. We figured it was because the weather was gloomy and rainy today which has reminded us of Seattle. For dinner I only had some snacks and strawberries but most of the rest of the group got together to cook dinner. After dinner people sat at the table for a few hours talking and getting to know each other. It was a great ending to this rainy long day.
Veronika Patrashko 

Blog Post for Monday, April 14, 2014 by Lorraine Yu
After a hectic weekend of traveling during a train strike, it was nice to be back in Rome again.  We started our Monday learning how to order food and learning the differences between feminine and masculine nouns.  I think it’s interesting that each noun has a gender, but can get quite confusing.
During our four-hour break, Sydney Staples and I were going to find a coffee shop to do some homework and soak up some vitamin D.  After walking around for ten minutes, we finally settled on a restaurant called Cajo & Gajo because the waiter said there was wifi.  We attempted to put what Aurora taught us in class today to use and ordered our food in Italian.  I asked for the wifi password, in which he responded with something along the lines of, “Big A ten times.”  Sydney and I both tried to enter in the password on both our laptops and phones with no luck so I asked him to write it in my notebook.  His response was, “You don’t remember? It’s just ten times big A!”  We tried a few more times while we ate our lunch (Sydney had pasta with tomato sauce and bacon.  I had pepper and cheese pasta) before giving up and going back home.  For the first time since we’ve been in Italy, the check was given to us before we asked them for it.  It was strange to be rushed out of a restaurant, but reminded me a lot of the States.
At 4:30 our class went to Di Donato Secondary School to learn about immigrant/non-Italian school children in Italy and funding for Italian schools.  First, we learned about intercultural education.  The school works with all the classes to make sure that new students feel welcome.  There are also intercultural mediators available to bridge the gap between the child’s home culture and Italian culture.  They are not translators but provide linguistic and cultural support if needed.  Second, we talked about financing of Italian schools.  In Italy, the state budget for schooling is 4.7% of GDP, compared to an average of 9% in other EU states.  Depending on different grade levels, schools will get funds at the municipal and/or state level.  Third, we talked about the parent association in Di Donato that was established in 2003.  It started as a place for parents and students to get to know one another and provide a bridge for immigrants and Italians to get to know one another.  At first only 30 parents were involved, but currently houses about 200 members.  There are many different after school activities available, such as study hall, dance, karate, and painting.  What started as a place to promote intercultural exchange quickly became a hub for the community to gather together.  One interesting thing that I learned during this talk was the requirements for second-generation citizens to apply for citizenship.  In Italy, you must be in school until you are 16 years of age.  Anything after that is optional.  However, if a non-Italian who was born in Italy would like to apply for citizenship, s/he must be in school for at least 18 years.  I find this interesting because they made it harder for non-Italians to get citizenship by increasing the years that they need to be in school.
After our visit with the school, we ate at an Italian restaurant.  I had the pork with potatoes but everything that everyone else ordered looked delicious, too.  It was a nice departure from eating pizza and pasta everyday and I enjoyed the fruit salad at the end.  My diet since coming to Italy has consisted mainly of carbs and gelato so my stomach was happy to get some protein and nutrients since it has become rare in the last two weeks.  It was the perfect ending to a long day.