Over the past few years, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences—especially languages—has suffered significant cuts from the administration and the library.
On Thursday, Apr. 7, the Italian department showed that cuts or not, languages will not die at Dalhousie. Italian professors Federica Belluccini and Robert Buranello organized the Italian department’s Student Award Ceremony to highlight the students’ hard work.
The packed McCain Fireplace Lounge, where the Italian department held the ceremony, and the presence of the Italian Consulate General (all the way from Montreal!) showed both the professors’ and students’ devotion to the department—and to languages.
“We are small,” Buranello said, “but passionate.”
The Italian department offers four classes—beginner and intermediate Italian, a culture class, a drama class—and independent study options. The students studying in the department talked throughout the ceremony about ways they could continue to practice their Italian since there isn’t an advanced Italian class offered at Dal. (Yet they all seemed to understand the Italian comments coming from both the Consulate General and the professors [they all laughed when native Italian speakers did].)
Most students present at the Award Ceremony didn’t win an award, but were there to support their peers. Buranello, who came half-way through the year to replace the intermediate Italian professor who left to take care of his newborn, felt that the Italian students deserve more, with their commitment to the small department, despite the inability to major in it.
“Italian is a niche language,” said Italian Consul General Enrico Padula. “But it connects you with Western civilization.”