I ended up going to college in Atlanta, Georgia and Cape Town, South Africa to study anthropology and international studies. Throughout this time, I kept up my connection with my hometown, returning to Italy to work over the summers and teaching Italian at Emory University during the school year. After graduation I traveled throughout Asia, teaching K-12 students for several months at a home for street kids in India. These adventures made me interested in how people around the world learn in different ways.
After a five-day-turned-one-year visit to Bend (we know how that goes!) in 2009, I returned to school to get my master’s and joint PhD in anthropology and educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While working on my degree, I taught Italian classes at the university and continued to enjoy working with the Italian community. I lived in South Africa for two years as a Fulbright Scholar while I did my research on high school education and became an advanced Zulu speaker. During my last year of my studies I was given the opportunity to write my dissertation from anywhere in the world—and I decided to move back to our beautiful town of Bend.
In Bend I started teaching small group and private lessons in Italian, as well as anthropology classes at COCC and OSU-Cascades. I love teaching! I have also enjoyed continuing to go to school to master my Spanish language skills with the help of our fantastic teachers in Bend. Through these experiences I have also come to understand the importance of being able to tailor educational needs to individual people. Working one-on-one with students and keeping class sizes small and affordable are essential to any learning adventure. That is when I decided to create Bend Language Institute.
My goal through Bend Language Institute is to provide meaningful education through language and cultural studies to our Bend community. Learning a language isn’t just about memorizing words but understanding another way of life. It helps broaden our perspectives and engage our minds. Plus, it is fun!