Kathleen Olive, BA Hons I (2000) PhD (2005), academic officer and cultural guide at Academy Travel
I can honestly say that studying Italian at the University of Sydney changed my life. The language I learnt in class was polished by three trips to Florence, funded by generous scholarships for student exchange and archival research for my PhD on the Italian Renaissance. I now lead cultural tours to Italy, spending half the year there, and the mentors I found in the Department of Italian Studies spurred me on as I set off down this path.
Mark Seymour, BA Hons (1992), MA UConn, PhD UConn. Senior Lecturer in European History, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
I chose Italian at Sydney almost on a whim, but I adored the department and its dedicated lecturers from day one and have never looked back. Learning any language carves new channels in the mind, and doing Italian opened doors onto new cultural, social, and political worlds, leading me to a new career. After graduating, I did a PhD in Italian history in the USA, during the research for which Rome became my second home. I taught at a US university in Rome before finally settling back into the southern hemisphere with a very rewarding career teaching and researching Italian history.
Gaetano Castiglione, BA (1994), DipEd (1995), Head of Languages St Patrick's College Strathfield, President of ILTA (Italian Language Teachers Association)
My love and passion for the Italian language was nourished and developed in studying Italian during my four years at the University of Sydney. The dedication and commitment of the staff inspired me to enthuse the students I now teach. I gained so much from the experience. Almost 20 years after graduating, I still look fondly on my university years and feel very privileged to have been part of the Italian Department.
Sandra Pitronaci, BA Hons I (1998), Grad Dip Ed (1999), Grad Cert Higher Ed (2005), MA Applied Linguistics Macquarie (2014). Senior Teacher - Programs, Macquarie University English Language Centre
Studying Italian at the University of Sydney was a fantastic way to spend my undergrad years. While improving my Italian language skills, I was so struck by the quality of the teaching that I decided on a teaching career myself. I taught Italian for a number of years in schools and at university level, and am now teaching English as a second language to international students. My teaching career continues to draw from and be inspired by the valuable experiences I had as a student in the Department of Italian Studies.
David Robinson, BA LLM. Environmental Lawyer
The Italian Department 1978-1980 was the highlight of my undergraduate studies. I found a rich variety of courses and teachers, and different academic traditions. Italian was a living subject, with politics, language, people, theatre and life, and Italian migrant stories, mixed in with literature studies. Decades later, I still enjoy teaching Italian songs at the local primary school, receiving an email from an Italian friend, and discovering something worthwhile through an Italian lens. That’s what Italian study is about: developing the language skills to open doors. Doors to places and people, but also to new understanding.
Deirdre Hyslop, BA Hons (1980), MA (1993). Principal Advisor Women Offenders, Corrective Services NSW
I came to University of Sydney as a mature-age student in 1976 to improve teaching qualifications. The Italian Department was well known beyond the university for its colourful and innovative professor. At the end of first year, staff in the department encouraged me to undertake honours which I would not have done off my own bat. After graduating with double Honours, I did an MA in Italian Renaissance Studies which led me to teach adults in a range of areas. One was with maximum-security inmates at Long Bay. This sparked my interest in criminal justice and led to my appointment as coordinator of the education programs. After undertaking a research project with Aboriginal colleagues, I moved into policy and strategy development.
Kristel Thornell, BA Hons I and Medal, MA New Brunswick, PhD UWS
Kristel Thornell’s first novel, Night Street, has won numerous awards. She was named one of the Best Young Australian Novelists by The Sydney Morning Herald in 2011. She lives in Rochester, New York, where she is working on a novel set in Northern England in the 1920s. My time studying Italian at the University of Sydney was one of the most pleasurable and meaningful pieces of my education. It left precious traces: wonderfully supportive relationships with faculty and fellow students, and a cultural and linguistic awareness that has greatly enriched my worldview, and my writing.
Joseph Falsone, BA Hons I. Director, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres
I was fortunate to spend some of the most intellectually and socially rewarding years of my life so far studying in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Sydney. I met teachers, scholars and peers who upheld a proud tradition of scholarship and learning, and who valued creative enquiry and lively debate. I met friends and mentors whose support and influence still resonate. Above all, I acquired a language and a cultural inheritance that have profoundly shaped the way I live in the world, and which lit a path to the career in arts management I now enjoy.
Colina Mason, BA, Dip Ed. (1981), MA Applied Linguistics (1992), Grad Cert University Learning and Teaching (2005).
Educator, Researcher, Editor
Studying Italian at the University of Sydney instilled in me a love of language and a life-long interest in other cultures that led to pursuing a career in intercultural education. Inspired by wonderful teachers, I continued my studies of Italian at Perugia University and spent many years as a language teacher in Europe and Australia before moving into the area of learning and teaching development in the tertiary sector. Learning another language was pivotal in following this path, which has been a constant source of professional and personal enrichment. I have recently co-edited a book about Academic Migration.
Freya Middleton, BA. Tour Company Director, Florence
I live in Florence and I have my own company organizing private tours in the city and in Tuscany. Studying languages at Sydney University was the beginning of a life-long affair with knowledge and adventure. The faculty's high quality of teaching and generosity in giving time and encouragement, coupled with the awarded language scholarships, enabled me to follow my dreams and provided the foundation of my career today (www.freyasflorence.com).
Daiana Giacullo, BEd 2002. Secondary Teacher
The Department of Italian Studies has been the diving board into my life-long career. After graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Education and a major in Italian, I have taught Italian language and culture in State, Catholic and Independent high schools locally and abroad. Currently, I’m teaching at a College in Revesby where students from Years 8-12 share the same enthusiasm, passion and interest towards la bella lingua and il bel paese as I do. Taking students abroad to Italy would have to be one of my career highlights as well as assisting students develop their Italian skills in order to communicate fluently. I thoroughly enjoyed studying Italian at the University of Sydney as the staff are knowledgeable, thorough and zealous with their subject..
Michelle Sindler, BA Hons 1 (1983), LLM (1992). Lawyer.
I started out my Arts/Law studies at the University of Sydney convinced I was headed to a life in a wig and gown as a Sydney barrister. My language studies were just “fill-in” subjects at the time; almost an afterthought as I trod the path towards life at the Bar. It did not take long however for me to discover that the Department of Italian Studies was a hidden treasure of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers of Italian language and culture who could turn an afterthought into a lifelong passion. I never wore that wig and gown. Instead I embarked on a career in international dispute resolution where my language skills have been invaluable and presented career opportunities not just as a partner at an international commercial law firm in Australia, but in Switzerland, Italy, France and the UK.