Tessa Endresen

Italian Major

My path to majoring in Italian LACS was kindled by my appreciation for the beauty of the language in both its written and spoken form, the opportunity to build upon my art history minor and particular admiration for the High Renaissance, and the magic I felt at being able to achieve true intercultural connection. When I reflect on my experiences in the Italian department as a soon-to-be graduate at Trinity, I am struck by the variety of opportunities, richness of immersion, and depth of support available. I feel both proud of my accomplishments and prepared for employment following graduation, having spent a semester in Italy applying my studies in conversation, grammar, and cultural cues. In addition, I have served as a teacher’s assistant at both elementary and intermediate Italian levels, and contributed to the creation and development of a new course for the department under the guidance of my advisor.

The numerous quality opportunities I was exposed to while abroad in Rome is made even more impressive when I consider that they were all experienced in the one brief month I had before the Coronavirus struck and we were sent home. In just five weeks I felt my foundation of understanding regarding the natural flow of Italian conversation, etiquette of interaction amongst locals, and everyday lifestyles and customs learned in Trinity classrooms reach fruition through my immersion in the country. This complete cultural involvement continued to be treated as a priority for Italian LACS students upon our return to the states, with some of the most notable offerings beings: zoom calls with university partners to foster casual communication skills in a foreign language, detailed guided tours of both hidden and highly-frequented landmarks throughout the city, and online workshops displaying the inner-workings of an art conservation studio. From continuing horseback riding lessons at the Cascianese Country Club, to finding independence exploring unfamiliar daily tasks like grocery shopping or making small talk, and participating in valued celebrations such as Carnevale in Venice, I felt that every step of my time abroad had been designed to be as authentic and engaging as possible.

In conjunction with the Italian department’s dedication to thorough cultural immersion is the fount of opportunities available to be a teacher of the language, gain insight into how LACS courses are structured, and explore potential career and travel opportunities following graduation. It is an ideal blend of encouragement, practice, and support that I have developed a deep gratitude for, and that provides me with a comforting sense of preparedness as I approach the end of my four years at Trinity. The refined size of the department has enabled me to make strong connections with my professors, and be more involved in a variety of diverse projects: serving as a teacher’s assistant for Italian 102 and 202 classes, aiding in the conceptualization and planning of my advisor’s new course Empire of the Senses in World Literature, and applying to the competitive Fulbright English Teaching Assistant scholarship. I have been overwhelmed by my professors’ dedication to advocating for my growth within the language, and am excited to see where this appreciation for and pursuit of greater intercultural communication takes me as I stand on the cusp of a new chapter.