A beginning Italian course will be offered as an elective in the spring semester to all students interested. The teacher is Lorenzo Bonaiti, husband of history professor Anna Bonaiti. He grew up in Italy and moved to the United States five years ago.
Bonaiti was an Italian lecturer before his wife accepted the job at Hillsdale. When they moved, they started talking to the deans and other professors about starting an Italian department. The idea was met with enthusiasm, and Bonaiti is beginning with one class to gauge interest.
“I think that in a college of liberal arts, Italian, with its great history and art, fits perfectly!” Bonaiti said.
The class is a three credit elective on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Students will learn to converse in Italian about sports, hobbies, and family. The class will focus on giving students a strong foundation in Italian grammar, as well as knowledge of Italian culture. Plenty of spots are still available, and fliers are posted around campus with information about enrolling.
“Besides the work in the classroom, I am planning many extracurricular activities, like movie nights, Italian dinners, and more,” Bonaiti said.
Senior Liana Guidone looks forward to taking the class.
“I do have some Italian roots,” Guidone said. “I’ve always thought it should be fun to learn it.”
Her grandfather immigrated from Italy to the U.S. in 1912. Guidone hopes to continue learning Italian after she graduates, and is excited to learn the basics in her final year at Hillsdale.
Bonaiti’s excitement translates into high hopes for the class.
“My dream for the next few years is to have a real Italian program and be able to organize trips to Italy,” Bonaiti said. “But for the moment Beginning Italian is a good starting point.”
Senior Callie Shinkle said she looks forward to taking the course this spring, during her final semester of college. Although her language requirement is already fulfilled through her completion of several Spanish classes, Shinkle said she’s interested in learning Italian for its own sake.
“I know conversational Italian from restaurants and walking on the street,” Shinkle said. “ I am excited to learn it and say what I want to say.”
In addition to participating in a study abroad program the summer after her freshman year, Shinkle has visited Italy countless times with her family. She said she is excited to more fully learn the language after full immersion in the Italian culture, which she said well aligns with the values she has developed at Hillsdale.
“I really love the focus on family, and food and drink,” she said. “They’re also very Catholic, which is my religion, so I like that a lot. It’s such a really communal culture.”