Dive into a Literary Community When You Study Abroad in Rome

August 26, 2021

Italy has a long-standing literary tradition that’s paved the way for a vibrant cultural community. Those who study abroad in Rome will find that there are endless opportunities to engage their minds, explore their interest in literature, and connect with like-minded peers. The Italy Reads program at John Cabot University is a cultural exchange initiative that brings together JCU students with high school students across Italy. 

The goal is to invoke a passion for literature and to facilitate community engagement with the arts. Whether you’re planning on studying literature as part of your degree, or simply want to tap into a community of bookworms, Italy Reads is a valuable addition to your study abroad experience. Here’s a closer look at what the program has to offer!


History of the Italy Reads Program

Italy Reads is an English language reading and cultural exploration program with a community-centered approach. The program collaborates with 200 Italian high school teachers from 60 other high schools across the country, extending its reach from Naples to Rome to Milan. First started in 2009 as a National Endowment for the Arts, the success of the Italy Reads program has carried it into its 10th year. With the support of the US Embassy in Italy, the English Theatre of Rome, and John Cabot University, the program has been able to meet the continued demand of the community.  

Every year, a classic work of American literature is selected to read together. The latest selection for the 2021-2022 year is William Demby’s “Beetlecreek,” a novel that explores the 1930s-era African-American community in West Virginia. Participating students will have the chance to meet and discuss the book with Italian high school students of English, blending the American literary tradition with the local community in Rome.  


Aug 26 John Cabot

Italy Reads engages JCU students with a vibrant literary community


Explore the Local Community As You Study Abroad in Rome

The Italy Reads program is a community-forward initiative. Students from all member schools of the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI) are invited to participate as volunteers in the JCU Italy Reads program. Members will have a unique opportunity to connect with fellow students through review and training sessions while engaging with the local Italian people. 

Throughout the program, you’ll meet and discuss a chosen book with Italian high school students of English. While studying at an American university in Italy, you’ll have the chance to consider your own country and its history within an international context. Not only will you expand your own engagement with literature, but you’ll also develop an awareness of how foreigners interpret American culture. Over a shared passion for literature and the arts, students can immerse themselves in the Italian community and form friendships that will carry them through their travels. 


Aug 26 study abroad in Rome

Expand your cultural connections while you study abroad in Rome


What to Expect from the Program

All JCU student volunteers will receive training in preparation for the program. Afterward, student volunteers will meet with Italian high school students to discuss chosen works of literature, exploring the historical and social context of both the author and the story. Students will have the chance to explore their own understanding of classic American literary works while engaging the interest of local high school students. Through the fall semester, volunteers will also be assisting Italian students in creating a short English-language video to demonstrate their engagement with the story. Students are encouraged to complete a minimum of 6 hours of volunteering for a high school visit during the semester, with many students opting to complete more. Those who successfully fulfill the requirements of the Italy Reads program will receive an official certificate from John Cabot University. Students can include this certificate on their international resumes, as a testament to their unique study abroad experience. 



Are you interested in the chance to study abroad in Rome?

Contact John Cabot University today!

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