Hola, ciao, hello everyone! I’m Taive Muenzberg, a member of the class of 2023 with a double major in Italian Studies and Hispanic Studies. Without the Language and Culture Studies at Trinity, I would have had a completely different experience, and I say that because I truly believe that I was surrounded by some of the most engaged students and professors, excited to connect language learning and communication to both historical and contemporary issues, and it is the part of my Trinity experience which I will surely miss the most after graduation. There wasn’t a LACS class which I took that I couldn’t connect to courses in different subject areas, even some which would never present similarities on the surface.
When I first enrolled at Trinity, I anticipated that I would study Political Science or Public Policy, but I am so grateful that took Italian 101 my first semester. It was completely by chance, but within the first week of classes, I knew I’d want to continue studying the language, so the following semester I enrolled in 102, as well as a variety of other courses based in Italian culture and history. By the conclusion of my freshman year, I decided to devote myself to studying languages. I returned to Spanish, a language I began to learn during middle school, and continued on with Italian. By the end of my sophomore year, I had declared a double major! and it the beautiful thing was that even though much of my schedule became LACS based, I maintained plenty of liberty to continue studying topics outside of the majors that sparked my interest, such as Art History, Environmental Science, and International Relations.
I think it was Italian Cinema, a course which I took in the latter half of my freshman year, that solidified my decision, and it continues to be my favorite course which I’ve taken in the LACS department, actually, out of all of my courses at Trinity, and I was fortunate to be able to return to this course through a Teaching Assistantship. The way which cinema exposed me to Italian, but really just to different perspectives, made me realize that as I was studying these languages, I was gaining a greater understanding of international affairs, understanding the culture of a population, studying their leadership and political history, knowing the things that divide a state, and studying the global influence of their language. I was given a greater understanding of the “why.”
Undoubtedly, I could speak to how every LACS course impacted my thinking and inspired further studies which I did through research and writing. Currently, I’m working on projects for both my Italian and Spanish Senior Seminars. For Italian, I’m working alongside on of my peers, Molly, to study Biagio “Max” Corvo and his role as an Italian-American man participating in the invasion of Sicily during World War II. We’ve been fortunate to work through his archives which we have here at Trinity’s Watkinson Library, and it’s been fascinating to study post-unification history, migration, and foreign intelligence, among other things! For Hispanic Studies, I’m writing about Latin American Chronicles, focusing on Gabriel García Márquez’s Doce cuentos peregrinos through the lens of Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
Next year I’ll be attending Indiana University in Bloomington to continue studying Italian Language and Literature in a two-year Master’s program. I’m so excited!