Saturday, December 24, 2011

Università degli Studi di Catania # Fall 2011

Anamaria REMETE


The Universita degli studi di Catania has its headquarters in a former Benedictine monastery that locals say it's the seconds largest in Europe located in the old city center, near the St. Agatha Dome and all of what a city-center is all about. Although Sicilian is obviously preferred Italian in Sicily, taking some Italian classes provided by the university will come in handy (not in the local fish market though where a large smile saves the day). I'm afraid the bureaucratic plague hasn't spared Italy, but rest assured that in all that exhausting paperwork you will have a brave local – with the name of a saint – who will help you in a wide range of issues.

"Mafia, pizza,'s all they know", said a Sicilian friend when talking about outsiders' perception of Italy and especially Sicily. Why not admit it? For as much as we like to see ourselves as "open" even we are susceptible to stereotypes. But perhaps the important thing is to always leave room for interrogation and overcoming them in the end.

Our experience and the way in which we perceive things in Catania may be viewed in several stages. At first, complete enchantment that is so typical when having contact with a new place: baroque architecture, hearing that funny Sicilian on the streets, food, the warm climate... But before you know it that initial indulgence may fade away; the Mezzogiorno "piano, piano" pace may not be so much in tune with the Central, Northern, Eastern European's (Argentinean/Chinese/Kazakh’s, etc.) speed. And then, the "cycle" changes once again: with a healthy sense of humour you can make fun of those social habits and, who knows, they might even change you in the process...

We have overlapping lives in the sense that we interact in Italian and we follow Italian social norms, but we also live in Argentina, China or in the Czech Republic in a way; they're a part of us and in some special way all these different lifestyles come together in a small group of six students in Catania. The groups' common language is not exactly Esperanto, but it's close enough; when one language doesn't work we "invent" a new one. It seems chaotic from the outside, but, in some strange and twisted way, it actually works!

Let's take a look on two lectures:

Melania Nucifora

Professor Nucifora's class explores the theoretical, political, economic and social framework in which the vast concept of "landscape" has been developed through history, the main approaches such as the cultural versus the environmental one, the rational versus the mechanical approach to nature and the main challenges that come alongside them.

Paolo Militello

The methodology seminar has provided TEMA students with the necessary basic research tools in the absence of which a paper cannot be called a proper research. The seminar focused on proposing a standard model for structuring a research proposal, tips on planning the stages of the project and basic reference and side notes usage rules.

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