International Involvement: Baccano

My semester has been brightened by an Italian touch.

First off, my Intermediate Italian Continued course is full of amazing people, and each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is made one hundred times more fun by our banter.

Secondly, I've gotten more heavily involved in Baccano, our campus's Italian conversation club. Out of curiosity, I attended its organizational meeting at the very start of the semester. The group of us, along with Dr. Daniela Busciglio, brainstormed ideas for events we could host. Movie nights, coffee meetups, bake sales, soccer tournaments, you name it! This group of guys and gals is so enthusiastic about Italian language and culture - it's absolutely infectious. What began as a simple interest in learning a beautiful-sounding language has grown into a love for what that language represents: the culture of a passionate, loving people.

Two events stand out to me as being especially exciting.

The first was our second Caffe e Conversazione for the semester. Anyone with any level of Italian who was interested could come to Crimson & Whipped Cream and chat away with other like-minded people. Along with some people from my own Italian class, I met several fun new folks and had awesome conversation about everything from our favorite foods to our romantic gossip - all in Italian. I remember thinking, this is real language learning. Not memorizing long lists of vocabulary you may never use, but rather putting all of it into practice and forcing yourself to think, speak, and breathe the language. Throwing yourself into the deep end and chatting away, drawing on the collective knowledge when you reach a roadblock or can't quite articulate a thought. It's embarrassing and scary and wholly thrilling.

The second event was quite exciting - the documentary filmmaker Fred Kuwornu came to OU for a day to speak. His films seek to enact social change, which creates an interesting middle ground between art and activism. Although I was not able to make it to his talk, I did attend the meet & greet and later accompanied Dr. Busciglio and Mr. Kuwornu to dinner, where I was able to ask millions of questions about his life's work.

I'm grateful to Baccano for providing opportunities for me to step out of my comfort zone and learn outside of the classroom. I can only expect my involvement to become more exciting over the coming weeks and semesters!

Elena

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