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K-State Today

June 21, 2017

Kansas State University in Italy Office celebrates its grand opening in Orvieto, Italy 

Submitted by Andrew Smith

From left: Serena Croce, Program Director, Provost April Mason, Centro Studi President Matteo Tonelli, Interim Associate Provost Grant Chapman, Orvieto Vice Mayor Cristina Croce and University of Arizona professor Dr. Claudio Bizzarri.

Kansas State University in Italy celebrated its grand opening May 29 in Orvieto, Italy, as the inaugural session of Kansas State University in Italy summer program commenced.

The Orvieto mayor's office hosted a joint news conference with the university to celebrate the partnership, confirming the relationship between Kansas State University, Kansas State University in Italy, the city and the Centro Studi Città di Orvieto, where Kansas State University in Italy is housed. This is the first year of a multidiscipline K-State Education Abroad initiative in Orvieto, where the College of Architecture, Planning & Design has been traveling for semester abroad programs for the last decade. The event in Orvieto was attended by Cristina Croce, the vice mayor of Orvieto, with Matteo Tonelli, Centro Studi president, also representing the city.

Representing Kansas State University was April Mason, provost and senior vice president, who spent her high school years in nearby Rome, as well as Grant Chapman, interim associate provost for International Programs, and Serena Croce, Kansas State University in Italy Program Director.

"Orvieto represents a landscape of many people over centuries," Mason said to those assembled. The provost gave part of her remarks to the gathered media and students in the Kansas State University in Italy program in Italian. "It represents history, politics, language, art and architecture, all of which provides our faculty and students who travel here with diverse explorations that sets the stage for their international curiosity and cultural competence."

Chapman said the move to a wider based educational program in Orvieto was a natural fit and a significant step forward for international programs for K-State.

"We have an excellent facility and staff here already, and an important part is the location," Chapman said. "You have the city of Orvieto, you have Umbria, and you are just an hour to Rome or Florence."

K-State Education Abroad — formerly Study Abroad — hopes the program will give students a chance to learn about another culture, as well as a bit about themselves as they travel to another country.

"I think it is so important for our Kansas State University students to have the opportunity to study in a place that is different than what they are knowledgeable of," Mason said. "To come to Orvieto, to experience the food, to experience the culture, to experience passeggiata after dinner. It's so important to see how other people live and what it's like to communicate in another language. That opportunity is one that is worth its weight in gold, and our students tell us they are different when they fly back."

In its first year, Kansas State University in Italy has 36 students and eight faculty members participating in a variety of classes, including philosophy, art history, Italian language, food and wine and sketching. The program is planning to expand to more students, and classes, in the years to come.

"It's going to grow," Chapman said. "We have faculty interest in this program, more courses that are being proposed for the program, and that means there will be more opportunity for students in those particular programs. Students also will be able to take a course outside of their discipline that will help with their electives, and we can use Orvieto as the living laboratory."

The Kansas State University in Italy summer program runs from late May to mid-June. Each student takes two three-credit courses in the program, travels to Rome, Florence and places of interest in the region, and has other cultural experiences during the four-week stay.

For more information about the Kansas State University in Italy Program, contact Joe Milostan, director of Education Abroad, at milosta1@k-state.edu

Photo courtesy of Andrew Smith, multimedia news director and journalism instructor at K-State.