Madeira welcomes Italian students for an American Thanksgiving

November 14, 2013
Madeira students at Temple of Apollo overlooking the Bay of Naples, summer 2013

On Friday, November 22, eleven students and two teachers from a high school in Cortona, Italy will arrive at Madeira to complete the second half of an exchange which occurred this summer. Their school, "Liceo Classico Luca Signorelli," is in the center of the Etruscan town of Cortona in Tuscany. Its focus, as are all "classico" secondary schools, is on a classical education, which includes compulsory Latin, Ancient Greek, philosophy, and art history, in addition to Italian, English, math, science, history, and the arts. There are several different kinds of Italian secondary schools, all of which have a five year curriculum.

During their stay, Italian students will visit classes on Monday, November 26 and stay in Madeira girls' homes as well as one night in the dorms, and tour Washington, D.C. They will also go as a group to New York City for a weekend before heading back to Cortona.

These thirteen Italians are those who hosted the eleven Madeira girls and two teachers who participated in Madeira's Classical Summer Program in July 2013 and who now will be hosting them in return. This year's classical study abroad participants spent three weeks in four different regions of Italy studying Italian, art history, classics and archaeology. Their trip was punctuated by the week-long home stay in Cortona and their last week at a pre-Roman archaeological dig in southern Italy. 

With three hours a day of classroom instruction, the home-stay, and 28 centuries of civilization to immerse themselves in, Madeira students got a good sense of Italy's rich heritage, as well as what it means to be an American through a European lens.  Students investigated essential questions, like "Who are the Italians?" and spent several days in the classroom learning about their Etruscan, Greek, Roman, and Italic origins, as well as their vegetation, cuisine, geography, and language.

Madeira's next Classical Summer Program will run in the summer of 2015 and gives priority to Latin students.