Student Immerses Self in Italian Culture

Jason Fisher and Mason Jones Van Dyke

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Few individuals step outside the norm because of fear of the unknown.

Eugenio Calderon has never been afraid to step outside his comfort zone and try new things. Hoping to explore a different culture, Calderon is spending a year in Brescia, a city in northern Italy.

Home to 200,000 people, Brescia is a wealthy city; that while not as popular with tourists as other cities in the region, has plenty to offer in the way of heritage and food.

For instance, Brescia is home to the Monasterio di Santa Giulia, a former monastery that is now a museum home to art and historic artifacts. A World Heritage Site, the monastery’s collection contains some items over 10,000 years old.

Brescia is also known for excellent food that puts a unique twist on traditional Lombard cuisine. Calderon has said some of his favorite foods he has eaten while in Italy are cotella alla milanese: veal chops coated with bread crumbs, and risotto: a rice dish cooked in a broth of meat, fish, and/or vegetables.

In addition to changes in palate, several differences exist between the education Calderon is receiving in Brescia and his education in Neenah. For instance, high school is known as Scuola secondaria di secondo grado, and lasts five years, roughly ages 14-19.

Furthermore, while all Scuola secondaria di secondo grado schools have common subjects such as Italian, math, etc. but are specialized based on what the students want to do as adults The three main categories are Liceo schools, which focus on preparing students for university education rather than the workforce, Istituto tecnico schools, which offer extensive technical education and often include 3-6 month internships with various companies, and Istituto professionale, which focus on practical activities and workforce preparation.

Clearly, Calderon has successfully stepped American norms and is busy experiencing Italian culture.   

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