By ASIA COLOMBO
John Cabot University (JCU) officially began the Fall 2014 high school visits for the “Italy Reads” program on October 15. This semester the chosen literary piece is Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms, which is being discussed by JCU and Italian high school students.
The first visit was made to the Linguistic High School “Immanuel Kant.” The JCU volunteers inaugurated this year’s visits with Hemingway’s masterpiece after last year’s success of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake. Hemingway’s novel deals with strong themes such as war and love, very different from Lahiri’s book. The Indian American author, in fact, focused more on the consequences of cultural shock, narrating the story of an Indian married couple moving to the United States.
During the first Italy Reads 2014 visit, Italian students learning English were eager to express their thoughts about Hemingway’s novel. The girls, especially, were focused on the love story between the two main characters, whereas some others found the reading challenging due to the expansive vocabulary. However, the benefits of the program were evident as students were pushed in learning to expand their knowledge of English by analyzing the novel.
Ernest Hemingway’s life was also discussed in relation to the novel. In fact, a student in the first hour of class pointed out that, “Hemingway had many women throughout his lifetime, yet he focuses his novel on the love story between Henry and Catherine.” She found it fundamental to underline the psychological aspect of the narration.
Italy Reads allows Italian students to practice their English and literary comprehension, as well as analytical skills. It is also an opportunity for JCU to read core novels of American and English literature, analyzing their symbols, themes, language, and characters along with the classes of high school students.
Students from both worlds observe how there are ways of studying. As a matter of fact, Italy Reads is not only a literary program, but also, and most importantly, a way for teenage students to observe and come to contact with other cultures and ways of life. Similarly, it also provide JCU students and volunteers with the peculiar possibility of understanding different educational environments and teaching and learning methods, convincing them that outside of the campus door there is a true world that awaits to be discovered and explored.