Italian Studies

italian studies

There's more than one way to look at the world. St. Mike's students who choose to major or minor in Modern Languages often are adventuresome souls with broad interests in literature, history, cuisine, film, customs and the structure of language. Fluency in a second language is a practical and marketable skill, and studying Italian as a minor also will improve your understanding of English because of common Latin roots. Italy has been at the center of the cultural and artistic history of the Western world for two millennia and Italian is widely used in science, music and art, so this minor pairs well with any of those areas as a major. Immersing yourself in Italian culture also will give you the valuable insights of a dual perspective on life and the world.

Geography helps us with that. We're a short drive from the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Montreal. That means you can gain fluency not only from your classes, which emphasize conversation, proper grammar, literature and culture, but also from visits to the theaters, museums or Italian neighborhoods of a multilingual international urban center. Montreal's Italian community is one of the largest in Canada, second only to Toronto. With a quarter-million Montrealers of Italian ancestry, the city has many Italian districts, and Italian is the third most spoken language in Montreal and in the province of Quebec.

Here on campus you'll socialize with our significant cohort of international students. You can spend a semester or year abroad in Italy – few destinations are more appealing. First you'll take a language placement exam to put you at the right starting-point. Then you either can explore Italian for the first time or deepen an existing familiarity with Italian culture. The rich variety of film, literature, music, food and customs of Italy all are in the mix for students in this major.

Your first-year Italian courses develop basic language skills and introduce you to the cultures of the Italian-speaking world. You'll to develop proficiency through applied language components of courses taught in English, allowing you to read and discuss, in Italian, selected texts and materials pertinent to the subject matter of the course. These courses may be offered in a variety of disciplines. You'll meet one additional hour per week with instructor(s) to discuss the texts in Italian. Those who successfully complete the language portion of such a course will receive credit for a half course.

Your next courses are based on the literature and culture of the Italian-speaking world. You'll study and practice oral expression, including interviews with native speakers, the production of radio programs, video projects, a visit to Italian communities in Montreal, Boston, or New York City or an evening at a local Italian restaurant.

Other courses help you enrich your grammatical resources, expand vocabulary and practice writing in Italian in order to consolidate those skills and to critically reflect in the target language on a variety of subjects. "Topics" courses explore the major contributions of Italy to Western culture in such areas as art, architecture, cinema and music and may be repeated barring duplication of materials. Take a course that surveys Italian film from Neo-realism to present, analyzing important moments in Italy's historical, social and political movements of the 20th century, through chosen films by leading Italian directors such as Visconti, Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini and Benigni. 

Study Abroad

The hard part might be deciding which study-abroad experience in Italy will best suit your personal interests. One in three Saint Michael’s students in general spends a semester or year abroad. As you might guess, the figure is much higher for Modern Languages students. Here are some programs in Italian language or locations that our students have explored. View our Study Abroad Programs Page for more information.

Study Abroad Politi Scholarships:

A limited number of scholarships are available to support study in countries and programs that the College believes offer optimum learning opportunities. The scholarships are made possible through the Dr. A. Francis Politi International Fund.

Applications for study abroad programs emphasizing experiential learning opportunities (field based research, internships, student teaching, and service learning) or study in a language that is not the student's primary language will be given priority. Grants will range from $1,000 - $1,800. An academic year student can apply for a maximum of $2,000. The scholarships will be applied to the student's accounts.

Special consideration will be given to students who study in the following regions of the world:

  1. Africa
  2. Central and Latin America
  3. Asia
  4. Middle East
  5. Non-English speaking countries in Europe in which the student studies in the language of the host country and/or takes language courses.

Teaching, translating, interpreting, international journalism, business, law, foreign service, travel industry, or graduate studies in Italian literature are some post-graduation or career possibilities for Italian minors.

Learn What Matters