Italian students “extremely impressed by Parkside”
It's a whirlwind two weeks. Every year around Columbus Day, a group of students, usually three, from the University of Calabria (UNICAL) in southern Italy spend a fortnight in America--one week at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha and one week at Loyola University in Chicago.
This year, students Rosanna Taverna, Rita Turano, and Nausica Aiello were our guests and while they enjoyed the entire campus, one facet in particular stood out.
"They were extremely impressed by Parkside...and they loved our food!" said Dr. Carmel Ruffolo, director of the program. "You've got to remember these are Italians and they are so finicky about food. So, they had a good campus experience."
Now in its eighth year, the exchange brings students who have completed their MBAs at Unical here for a two week post graduate experience. Ruffolo said the students involved are always the top graduates in their class.
Their packed itinerary included sitting in on classes at both universities, touring Italian-owned businesses, meeting with the sponsors of UW-Parkside's annual Celebrazione Italiana--CNH, Palmen Motors, and Turano Baking. They also attended Columbus Day festivities at Kenosha's Italian American Club and Chicago's Columbus Day Parade.
Along with the excitement of being in America, this trip is important to the students' careers, sometimes serving as the factor that lands students a job.
"Because of the tough times in Italy--and it's been tough in southern Italy for a long time--having this on their resume really does a lot of good for these students," Ruffolo emphasized. "It's a great experience and even though they're only here a short time because we make it interactive--they're at the classes, they're at the companies--it gives them that one little boost."
Ruffolo went on to say the students were extremely proud of the success enjoyed by Italian Americans in all walks of life here. She also said she's talking with her colleagues at Loyola about expanding the exchange to four weeks, "because," Ruffolo said, "there's so much more they can do."In the photo, Italian exchange students pause for a moment with UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford at the Italian American Club. Pictured, from left, are Rosanna Taverna, Rita Turano, Chancellor Ford, and Nausica Aiello.