Learning Goals

In connection with the College’s learning goals, the major in Italian at Mount Holyoke prepares students to develop a comprehensive knowledge of Italian language and culture. It is the department’s mission to inspire and motivate students to learn about Italian culture in all of its multifaceted aspects through:

  • in-depth study of the Italian language in all of its components (speaking, writing, reading and listening), in order to achieve near-native proficiency. Through a communicative approach, students learn to express feelings, engage in discussion about any topic, develop complex ideas, and read and critically analyze original texts and films in Italian.
  • in-depth study of Italian culture and literature to develop a rich, diverse and layered knowledge of Italian thought, history, cultural habits, geography, culinary tradition, gender issues and politics.
  • in-depth study of the role of Italy and Italian culture in Mediterranean and world history through millennia of people’s shifts, diasporas and migrations.

The department aims for students to become global citizens, through study abroad programs in Italy and internships in Venice, Florence and Rome. Dedicated faculty members believe in creating a relaxed and positive atmosphere that is conducive to learning, beyond the traditional classroom experience. Classes take frequent advantage of campus resources (museums, libraries, residence halls, and the Italian Living-Learning Community) to organize events to continue teaching beyond the classroom in a consistent and constructive effort at community building.