From John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to inside the medieval walls of Siena, we have jumped in and embraced the Sienese Italian culture, traditions, and languages. Embarking on this journey in order to learn our third and fourth languages while in Siena, we have grown so much both academically and individually. While studying at the Siena School for Liberal Arts we were able to learn LIS (Italian Sign Language – Lingua dei Segni Italiano), Italian Deaf Culture and History, and Italian spoken language. The two new languages we learned afforded us the opportunity to not only communicate with shop owners and locals but also with the local Deaf Community! We were really challenged to use our new languages on a daily basis.
|Gi and Alfie meet Richie from RIT.|
|Our home for three weeks in Siena|
Apart from local historical traditions such as il Palio, the Sienese horse races dating back to the 12th century, we have gained knowledge on the history of the Deaf community in Italy and the educational, cultural, and social changes that have occurred in the Deaf community since the 19th century. The building where the Siena School is located is rich in history itself. We learned about one of the pioneering Deaf Educators, Tommaso Pendola, who founded the School for the Deaf in Siena Italy in the 1800’s. His work in Deaf Education flourished in Siena until the 1980’s when the school unfortunately was shut down. We learned how the historically influential professionals in the American Deaf Community, such as Thomas Gallaudet, worked alongside the international Deaf education Pioneers. Learning about the history of the Deaf in Italy and being able to compare it to what we are learning about the history of the Deaf in America has been a wonderful and eye opening experience.
|Piazza del Campo during the Palio|
|Palio horse and jockey|
If studying abroad is something you are thinking about, GO FOR IT! When fellow students say that it is an eye opening, life changing experience, they hit the nail right on the head! Plus you and your dragon get to meet amazing people!
|Elaina and Emily and Gi and Alfie arriving in Rome.|
Elaina Gasparino and Emily Katella
Siena School for the Liberal Arts