Carli Williams | March 4, 2020
Natalie Pratt ’22 is an architecture student, originally from Niles, Michigan. On campus, she sings in the Notre Dame Folk Choir and is a member of the Italian Club (Circolo Italiano), the Frank Montana Sketching Club, and The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS). As a student in the School of Architecture’s Rome Studies Program, Pratt arrived to Rome last fall to study for an entire academic year.
Since childhood, Natalie Pratt dreamed of coming to Europe, particularly Rome. She was determined to make the most of her time in the Italian capital and took two Italian language classes on campus in preparation. In Rome, though she enrolled in Italian classes with Professor Chiara Sbordoni, Pratt discovered that there were many other opportunities to practice and learn the language, including the Language Mixers hosted by the Rome Global Gateway.
Language Mixers, which began at the inception of the Rome Global Gateway in 2014, are a unique collaboration with local Italian institutions, including Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS), Instituto Sant’Orsola, and Università Roma Tre. During regular meetings, Notre Dame students have the opportunity to meet local peers and engage in cultural and linguistic exchanges. Students of all language levels are welcome and encouraged to participate. “It doesn’t really matter how much Italian, if any, students can speak. It has to do with an open mind to meet and mix with Italian students their age, a curiosity about their everyday life, and a willingness to share points of view, ideas, and new ways of living and studying. The key is to open oneself to go a bit beyond one’s comfort zone,” Sbordoni expresses.
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