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02 Dec, Friday
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Montreal Families

Summer program offers international cultural experience

Growing up in Montreal, Tania Zampini never felt like she was connected to her Italian heritage; she only knew about her native country from the stories people had told her.

It was only after completing a master’s degree at McGill University in Italian language and literature and travelling to Italy during the summer that she truly connected with her roots. Wanting to give other young people a platform to experience Italian culture, Zampini and her husband Nicola Bianchi decided to start an educational travel program.

Triple E Travel (Education, Experience, and Exchange) is a summer program that offers students in high school (Secondary 3 to 5), CEGEP and university the opportunity to live abroad for a month. For its inaugural year, the program will be run out of one of two cities, either Florence or Monte Argentario and people can register for June, July or August.

Throughout the month, students will be placed into classes according to age and will learn the basics of reading, writing and speaking Italian. Prior to registering, participants will take a language-placement test to assess their skill level. Students can also choose other courses that explore the region’s history, culture or cuisine. In Florence, for example, students can choose a class on Renaissance art and learn more about Michelangelo, Donatello and other prominent artists. The experience won’t just be academic; students will also visit the city’s countless attractions, like the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio.

Like Florence, Monte Argentario is located in the country’s Tuscan region. The city is less urban than Florence, so in addition to their language courses, students will take classes that explore the area’s natural environment and history, learning about marine life and artisanal production. There will also be the opportunity in both locations to take part in extracurricular activities like playing soccer, volleyball, yoga, and, of course, indulge in the local gastronomy.

“It’s important to expose young people to different cultures in order to really understand them,” says Zampini, who currently resides in Florence with her husband. “Travelling and living in another city is the only way you genuinely learn about other people’s practices and norms.”

The base package for the program includes lodging and classes. Participants are free to add weekend excursions to neighbouring regions like Venice or Cinque Terre, as well as meal plans, at an additional cost. For those who do not wish to take part in weekend excursions, counsellors will stay behind with them and explore the city. The program can accommodate approximately 20 participants. Although there is no fixed registration deadline, Zampini says those interested in attending the June session should apply by April.

For more information, visit tripleetravel.com.

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