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Matthew Salvatore

matthew square imgDouble Major: Italian and Journalism

        Four years ago, I came to Rutgers not knowing what I was going to do for a major, but leaning towards mathematics because they say that’s where the jobs are. When I was making my first schedule, I requested an Italian culture class, just for fun. It would give me three more credits, and I wanted to learn about some Italian history since I am half Italian. The class was “Introducing Italy City by City: Rome” with Professor Rhiannon Welch. It was taught in English so I felt no intimidation, but as the semester carried on, I felt so intrigued by everything I was learning I decided to take another course.

        My second semester, I signed up for a culture course taught by Professor Alessandro Vettori, and a basic language class taught by exchange professor, Ilona Hrenko. In both of those courses I learned so much, and my love for the Italian culture grew stronger now that I was learning the language to go with it. I can tell you first hand that it is not easy to learn a new language, but I had a much easier time than I ever did in high school thanks to the help of some great professors. At Rutgers you don’t just learn Italian to take a test, you learn to be able to live in the language. It was around this time that I heard of the summer Study Abroad program in Urbino and declared an Italian major.

        The program sounded great, and had a multitude of options for me even though I was still in elementary Italian, but I wanted to wait until I had a better grasp on the language so that I could fully immerse myself in the language, culture, and life in Italy. After another year of practice with the language, and adding some more cultural knowledge as well, I felt confident and ready to tackle the trip. Six weeks in Italy in a small Renaissance city with few English speaking residents may sound tough to some, but there is no better way to learn a language. Plus--what would give me more cred as the Italian Club’s Treasurer than having been to Italy?

        I spent six weeks in Urbino, and they were easily some of the best experiences I will ever have in my life. I cannot even begin to describe how it felt walking around in a completely new place, talking to people in their native tongue, and learning everything I could. I made great friends in Italy and back here through that trip, and I will never regret a penny put towards it. After an amazing summer like that, it was tough going back to normal.

        I spent the last year and a half working my way through the rest of the major, encountering more and more amazing professors with so much knowledge to offer. I can honestly say I never came across a professor in all my time with the Italian Department that I wasn’t completely satisfied with. Now that I’ve finished the major, and my time at Rutgers, I wish I could stick around for more.

      Truth be told, I never came to Rutgers expecting to major in Italian, but I took one class, and was hooked. What I loved most about my major was learning all aspects of the language and culture, such as current events, culture, history, reading, writing, and speaking. While I’m currently pursuing a job in the field of my other major, journalism, I am also considering getting my teaching certificate to spark the same interests I found in other young students. For all of you reading this, I tell you with the utmost sincerity: being an Italian major was one of my best choices made at Rutgers.

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Department of Italian
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
15 Seminary Place, #5105
New Brunswick, NJ 08901


Voice (848) 932-7031
Fax (732) 932-1686

Sheri La Macchia, Administrator

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