Students walking under trees on campus

Summer Italian Intensive Program for College Credit

From High School to Higher Ed…
…in Italian

2024 Summer edition


The Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies in connection with the Italian Program at MSU offers a program that seamlessly links the high school and college learning experience at the pre-AP level, while granting 3 college credits. It was launched in the summer 2017 and offered again in summer of 2018summer of 2019, summer of 2021, summer of 2022, and summer 2023 with great resulting benefits to both the HS and the university systems (the 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic).

Taught by a native speaker instructor and coordinated by an experienced high school teacher on the Montclair State University campus, the program aims to consolidate rising senior students’ intermediate Italian skills on their way to an advanced level. Students benefit from an engaging college experience on a campus boasting a dynamic Italian program and proximity to New York City. The course also includes off-campus activities such as visits at the MET or Magazzino, Eataly and various cultural centers (Tenement Museum) and Italian companies and stores in NYC (Scavolini, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, MO Gelato) and NJ (Botto Museum, Yogi Berra Museum).

Photo of students in front of the Flatiron building in Manhattan, NY.  Four high school students standing outside of Schmitt Hall at Montclair State University  Small group of high school students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC Students participating in Italian program sitting in classroom Smiling professor makes students laugh in class

The course is taught in the target language. This immersive approach leads to the study of more complex structures of the language and the expression of emotion, personal opinions, agreements and judgments. The students increase their vocabulary and ability to comprehend written texts, write an essay in Italian, and communicate spontaneously and effectively. The development of these competencies, skills and communicative abilities prepares students for college-level (e.g. Advanced Placement) courses and exams. The students get the chance to explore different topics: immigration and Italian identity, Made in Italy and sustainability, Fashion, food, movies and contemporary film directors and other aspects that are fascinating to and suggested by the students.

Do you have any questions about the course? Please visit our FAQ PAGE, and for further inquiries contact the course coordinator Patti Grunther ( or write to the office at

This project is the result of a dynamic synergy between a high school teachers (Patricia Grunther) and two university professors (Teresa Fiore and Marisa Trubiano), the support of governmental agencies (IACE) and non-profit organizations (NJIHC), as well as individual donors. It also relies on an ever-expanding consortium of high schools in NJ, while it serves and is promoted by schools outside this consortium and active in a fairly vast area comprising Northern New Jersey and New York City (see consortium page). The course, called ITAL240 Intensive Italian Bridge, is offered through Summer Session and Early College at Montclair State University: it allows students to get the equivalent of ITAL140 Intermediate Italian and start at the following level at MSU.

It has been recognized as a Best Practice in Italian teaching in the Tri-State Area at the 2018 national meeting of the U.S. “enti gestori” (managing units), which are in charge of the promotion of Italian language in connection with the Italian Consulates. At a time in which languages are mostly discussed as a “field in crisis,” and national resources are channeled primarily towards “critical need” languages (see StarkTalk summer program), Montclair State University is particularly proud of investing on innovative projects towards enrollment growth by offering a bridge course in Italian, simultaneously the language of a G7 country and a heritage language spoken in the countries of Italy’s vast diaspora.

Read ARTICLES on the innovative nature of the course:

1. An overview in “Summer Speaks Italian” (La Voce di New York, 2017)

2. The teacher’s perspective (New Jersey Education Association publication 2018):


‌Watchung Hills Regional High School, Warren, NJ; Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, NJ; Palisades Park Jr./Sr. High School, Palisades Park, NJ; Clifton High School, Clifton, NJ; Lenape High School, Medford, NJ; West Orange High School, West Orange, NJ; Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver, NJ; Hackensack High School, Hackensack, NJ; Montville Township High School, Montville, NJ; Fox Lane High School, Bedford, NY; Parsippany High School, Parsippany, NJ; Mt. Saint Mary High School, Watchung, NJ; Saint Peter’s Preparatory School, Jersey City, NJ; DePaul Catholic High School, Wayne, NJ; Passaic Valley Regional High School, Little Falls, NJ; St. Mary High School, Rutherford, NJ; Tenafly High School, Tenafly, NJ; Wayne Hills High School, Wayne, NJ; New Heights Academy Charter School, New York, NY; Pascack Valley High School, Hillsdale, NJ; and Middletown High School, Middletown, NJ