Study-Abroad Site Coordinator Visits NMU
International Programs recently hosted the director of its study-abroad site in Macerata, Italy – one of four long-term programs NMU offers in partnership with the Midwest Consortium for Study Abroad. The other locations are as follows: Vienna, Austria; Dublin, Ireland; and Segovia, Spain.
Filiberto Braccalente discussed the Macerata program with NMU staff, made classroom presentations and met with faculty and students who previously spent a semester there. Two NMU students are in Macerata this semester. Braccalente explained the growing popularity of study-abroad programs.
“College students today are not intimidated to go far away from home because they recognize globalization and they see the world connected every moment before their eyes on the Internet,” he said. “They are willing and eager to experience something different. They also understand that when you step out of your frame of reference, you learn more about your own culture and the role of your nation in the world.”
Braccalente described Macerata as a “hill town” of nearly 50,000 in central Italy about 25 minutes from the Adriatic Sea and within one hour of a mountain range, providing an attractive location for swimming and hiking enthusiasts. It is home to Macerata University. Established in 1290, MU is one of the oldest universities in the country.
“The city is not overwhelmed with Americans,” he said. “The university is integrated with the community and students are housed in apartments scattered through the city, so students find that they must communicate in Italian. It is a productive experience for them. The program is open to students with no previous language experience, but they take language classes during their stay. They are also paired with an Italian student for conversation and activities and with 24-35 total students, there is a good ratio between students and professors.”
In addition to serving as site director, Braccalente teaches architecture and art history. There are opportunities for NMU faculty members to teach for a semester abroad, as the consortium regularly appoints faculty from participating institutions. For example, John Smolens (English) taught in Macerata and Carol Steinhaus (Business) recently taught in Vienna. For more information on faculty opportunities, contact International Programs at ext. 2510.