When (not) in Rome: How students will continue to learn and speak Italian on the Rome LSA+

Students on the Winter Rome LSA+ were informed last Wednesday that they should leave Rome earlier as the program would be terminated "out of an abundance of caution" in the face of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Even though the students are sad to leave their host families, the beautiful city of Rome, and their immersion experience, they know that the program is not over. My students and I are ready to continue to work together remotely. We are aware of the challenges, and we embrace them creatively. Different time zones, the inability to meet face to face, and the lack of an immersion environment will not stop us from continuing to explore, discuss, learn and reflect until the end of the program with intellectual curiosity and excitement. Students know that what they have learned so far is an excellent foundation for the critical thinking work and intercultural reflection that they will be doing in the coming weeks.

We want to take this unexpected event as an opportunity to continue to learn about the importance of shifting perspective, flexibility, and creativity. Students will meet in clusters over zoom to discuss culture, media, and literature texts almost every day and will check in regularly for feedback with the director of the program. They will even continue to be in touch with their host families to hear about the latest news in Rome. Lastly, they will maximize their presence in the United States, adding a comparative perspective to their final cultural projects. 

It might seem that the LSA+ in Rome has been cut short, but the program is running at full speed, and students will continue to learn and speak Italian.