The Honors Copernican Scholar Exchange Program is now accepting applications for spring semester 2019. This exchange program connects the Honors College with the Honors College at the Università degli Studi di Padova, home to Galileo and Copernicus. Two Purdue “Copernican Scholars” will be selected for academic year 2018-2019. The two Purdue Copernican Scholars will serve as ambassadors for the Italian honors student, who will be studying at Purdue during fall 2018 semester. The Purdue Copernican Scholars will then study at the Scuola Galileiana di Studi Superiori (the Università’s Galileo Honors College) in spring 2019.
- Classes are available in English, including HONR opportunities.
To give you a better idea of what the Copernican Scholar experience is like, we interviewed Copernican Scholars Stephanie Price and Alessandra Napoli about their experiences. Price enjoyed her time in Italy so much, she is now studying abroad again. This time, in Querétaro, Mexico.
How have you grown as a person through this program?
Price: I realized that I love learning and using foreign languages! I took Latin in high school, so I never experienced actually using a foreign language in life. In Italy, I realized that it feels absolutely magical when you can speak with someone using a language you don’t know all that well, and then that person understands you and responds right back! Being able to communicate in multiple languages is very commonplace in Europe, whereas it is uncommon in the US. Most people knew at least 3 languages, so it inspired me to begin learning Spanish alongside Italian. I plan on cultivating my abilities in these languages for the rest of my life.
The Copernican Scholars program also piqued my interest in politics, because I observed first hand how political decisions of a country affect citizens’ lives. Italy’s system of healthcare, education (both lower and higher education), immigration, economics, and more all are results of its government’s political decisions. People are much more vocal about their political opinions in Italy and I was fortunate to be there during the time when they were having elections for mayor. I saw multiple protests and rallies while I was there. It was fascinating to see how involved people were with the politics of their area. Now, I try to stay more up-to-date on U.S. politics. I make a point to know who my representatives are, and don’t hesitate to contact my reps when I have an opinion.
Napoli: I have become more aware of the differences in culture and thought between Europe and the United States. All in all, our cultures have a lot of similarities, but there are some major differences in things that both groups take for granted. This program allowed me to get to know amazing people really well, and some of the most interesting conversations that we had were about some of the most taboo topics in politics and society, but they were always focused on understanding and expanding worldviews.
It sounds like the Copernican Scholars program really expanded and changed your world view. What else did you learn?
Price: I realized that the values and goals that I have, such as the value I placed on establishing a good career and owning my own home, are very American values. People in other places don’t necessarily share those values. There was much less emphasis on careers, extracurricular activities, and “resume-building” type thinking in Italy. Many people don’t own their own home because property prices are so expensive. It actually made me re-think how I was conducting my college experience, to be less about “What will make me look good for a job when I graduate?” and more about “What do I genuinely enjoy and value?”. It helps that Italians have a less class-oriented view of jobs in general. Here someone might look down on you if you worked 30 years at the local grocery store, but in Italy it’s actually a fair career that many people have.
- My deep love for Italy and coffee and an even deeper respect for food.
- Italian music is awesome.
- How to be an independent learner and use all resources to the best of my abilities.
- Also the topics in class that I would not have otherwise studied: Ironmaking and Steelmaking, Game Theory, “Socialist” policies throughout Europe, the history of Arabic learning and knowledge.
- How to take care of myself.
What would you tell other students about Copernican Scholars?
Price: It’s a really special opportunity that us students in the Honors College are very fortunate to have. Studying and living abroad for a semester is a unique experience that teaches you more about that country and its way of life than traveling by itself ever can. Apply and take advantage of this!
Napoli: This is one of the best decisions that I’ve made at Purdue. I can’t even express the amount of joy I have from the memories that I made while I was there and the joy I get from the new memories I continue to make with the friends that I made while there. We are still close.
The Honors College is holding a callout to share more information about Copernican Scholars this Thursday, Feb. 22. Join us in HCRN 1143 at 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions please contact Catharine Patrone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested students can CLICK HERE to apply online by March 1.