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Turin Program gives students taste of politics, culture

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Syl Kacapyr
Sophia Scazzero
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Sophia Scazzero '16 tours Caffe Vergnano in Turin, Italy.

Fifteen Cornell students spent 20 days in Turin, Italy, June 2-22, to learn about European politics and culture as part of the Cornell in Turin (CiT) summer study abroad. Now in its second year, CiT brings students (including non-Cornell students) to Turin for an accelerated course on European and Italian politics. It is run by the Cornell Institute for European Studies and held at Turin’s Fondazione Luigi Einaudi.

CiT participants visited the headquarters of the Caffè Vergnano coffee company as well as La Stampa, one of Italy's most widely read daily newspapers; Poderi Luigi Enaudi, a winery in Italy's Langhe winemaking region; and several Turin museums. These activities supplement daily lectures for the course European Politics, taught by Cornell faculty with guest lecturers from the University of Turin.

“The city of Turin and the region of Piedmont are just as much as part of this program as our daily classes at the Fondazione. We chose Turin for this program because it is one of Europe's most fascinating and rich urban environments yet it's not overrun by tourists or other foreign students,” said Sydney Van Morgan, associate director of Cornell’s Institute for European Studies. She co-organizes and teaches the course with Kora von Wittelsbach, senior lecturer in Romance studies. Cornell is the first Ivy League university to establish an undergraduate study abroad program in Turin.

In their spare time, students are encouraged to explore the city, including its cuisine and landmarks. “Of course we want students to learn a lot in class, but we also want them to experience life in a major European city that is full of history and culture,” said Van Morgan.

Said Phoebe Hering ’16: “I wanted to try a short study abroad program before I commit to a full year abroad. This program also provides exposure to politics in Europe, which is important to me since I am considering a major in government.”

Kylie Kies ’15 added: “I plan to work in the hospitality industry, so I will benefit from the greater global understanding that this program will give me.”

The CiT program, which is also open to students who are not regularly enrolled at Cornell, is partially supported by the San Giacomo Foundation and administered by Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.