Student Profiles

Italian Dream

Studying in Rome for a semester had a big impact on Christina Palella’s life—and her major.

Annually, more than 100 Saint Mary’s women spend a semester or academic year in Rome, participating in the College’s oldest and most popular study abroad program. They live and study in the heart of the city, within walking distance of famous sights like St. Peter’s Basilica, the Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. They take courses in Italian, art history, classical archeology, international business, and other subjects, soaking up the language and culture directly. For Christina, the experience was transformative.

“You discover so much about yourself—how much you can do, how independent you can become, and how much you can connect with people from other countries,” she says of the semester she spent in Rome during sophomore year. “You get a taste of a different kind of life.”

What began as a taste ended up as a passion. After Rome, Christina returned to campus and became an Italian major. She added a second major in Spanish and a minor in secondary education. Eventually, she plans to work as a high school language teacher and pursue an MA or PhD in foreign languages.

Two favorite Italian teachers at Saint Mary’s inspired those dreams. “Professor Nancy D’Antuono is a scholar, teacher, friend, and mother all in one. Professor Peter Checca is the only one who can make grammar fun—and funny. Their passion for Italian language and culture really carries over to us,” says Christina. “As a teacher, hopefully I’ll make my classes just as enjoyable as theirs were for me. I’d like to share my own interest and excitement with students, just like my professors did with me.”