Students of Italian benefit from the small classes and close interaction with faculty which are at the core of Vassar’s pedagogy. Consistent use of Italian in class and during the many extracurricular activities organized by the department, such as trips to the opera, film screenings, card nights, coffee hours, and cooking classes, mimics as close as possible a full immersion experience. Students of all levels meet in the Italian Lounge to work on group projects, have conversation with the language fellow or the academic intern, or simply do their homework in an Italian-speaking environment.
The department offers student employment opportunities for research assistants who assist faculty with their research projects and course preparation, and language assistants who conduct language drills for first-year students. Each year, one student with advanced language skills is selected as academic intern to tutor first- and second-year students in grammar and conversation and help coordinate extra-curricular activities.
Senior projects, which students are required to present in order to be considered for departmental honors, include literary translations from Italian to English, theses on Italian literature and culture, creative projects. Click here to see a few examples of recent senior projects.