2021 Summer Italian Intensive Program for Early College Credit

Interested in improving your knowledge of Italian language and culture to advance your studies at both the high school and university levels? Eager to catch up in person after a year of discontinuous hybrid learning?

The 2021 edition of the Italian Intensive Program is slated to take place this year in an “al fresco” version, leveraging the beautiful outdoor spaces of the Montclair State University campus in accordance with current COVID-related guidelines, which could also affect the program of cultural activities and possible tours.
* Note that the application form asks for information about the class rank, which is not required. That line can be left blank.

This one-of-a-kind program designed for high school students on a university campus is available at Montclair State in an intensive summer format, including guest speakers and off-campus tours. In just three weeks, it prepares students to move with confidence from Italian 3 to an AP or advanced Italian class, while granting 3 college credits at a very affordable price. The program has been offered for three years (20172018 and 2019) and, after a hiatus due to COVID, it returns in 2021 to serve high school students as well as recent graduates of New Jersey and the Tri-State Area as they consolidate their learning from the past year and prepare for their future university experience.

“If it weren’t for this course, I don’t think I would have wanted to study Italian in college” – Vincent Falcone (Fox Lane HS, Pound Ridge, NY; student 2019 Summer program participant; MSU student majoring in Language, Business, and Culture in Italian)


Dates: July 12-29 Monday through Thursday for three weeks: 9am-1:30pm including lunch (students bring their own lunch)
ITAL 240 (permit required)
Schmitt Hall 125
$855 (tuition, registration, and activity fees – note that lunches are not included)
Residential option: $600 (single room with bathroom) or $528 (double room with bathroom) for 4 nights a week (Sun through Wed nights) for 3 weeks
Note that students must be 16 and above to be able to reside in the dorm. This option may be subject to cancellation depending on revised NJ State COVID-related regulations
Parking: TBA


Do you have any questions? Please visit our FAQ PAGE, and for further inquiries contact the program coordinator, Patti Grunther (inserra@montclair.edu).

Conducted in the target language by an experienced mother-tongue teacher, the program immerses students in the language and culture with an emphasis on verbal skills which allows students to break the communication barrier. Students will be empowered to express emotions and personal opinions more comfortably while preparing for upper-level Italian courses, including the Italian AP exam. The course ITAL 240 (Intensive Italian Bridge Course) includes thematically-structured units on such topics as: immigration and Italian identity; Made in Italy (food, fashion) and sustainability, and draws from authentic materials including films, advertising, YouTube videos, music, news, etc. Overall, students benefit from an engaging college experience on a campus that boasts a dynamic Italian program and proximity to New York City for enriching cultural activities and tours. Upon completion they earn college credits that are valid at Montclair and cooperating universities.

Summer 2021 cultural activities and lunch speakers  (locations, dates and times TBD, depending on health and safety guidelines)

Past activities have included visits to: the MET, the Tenement Museum, the Botto Museum, the Yogi Berra Museum, Italian stores (Scavolini, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, MO Gelato), Magazzino in Cold Springs, and Eataly in NYC.

“Prendiamoci un caffè insieme” – Lunch talks range from the history of Italian landscaping to coffee tastings. Among others, students will meet architects, art historians, designers and pizzaiolos and learn about their very individual field of expertise in the realm of Italian and Italian American culture. Lunch talks are a mandatory part of the program and require attendance.

The program is offered by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and the Italian Program (Department of Modern Languages and Literatures) at Montclair State U, in association with the Early College Program and Summer Sessions, with the co-sponsorship of IACE (Italian American Committee on Education) (TBC for 2021), and the support of the NJIHC (New Jersey Italian Heritage Committee (TBC for 2021). It is the only program of this type in Italian in the U.S. 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.

Over time, the summer program has produced a consortium of local high schools, which is bound to expand given the great benefits to both the HS and the university systems created by initiatives such as this program.


Original developer and coordinator: Patti Grunther

Patti Grunther lived in Italy for more than 20 years and has been teaching Italian at Watchung Hills Regional High School since she moved back to the U.S. with her family. She has taught Italian at all levels of the high school system as well as English as a Second Language and Linguistics at local colleges, including Montclair State University, Kean University and Bloomfield College. She serves on the AATI (Association of American Teachers of Italian) board as National Co-Chair of Advocacy and is the recipient of the 2019 AATI Distinguished Service Award in the K-12 category for her achievements in bridging high school, university and pre-professional experiences through Italian.

Instructor for 2021 edition: Tiziana Rinaldi Castro

Tiziana Rinaldi Castro was born in Italy in 1965 and has lived in New York since 1984. She has regularly taught Ancient Greek Literature at Montclair State University and Italian language at NYU, Fordham U, St. Francis College, and Montclair State University, as well as at the high school level in Colorado. She is the Creative Director/Director of Literary Programming of BACAS– a center for Arts and Culture that operates between Brooklyn, Upstate New York and the south of Italy. The author of three novels, a book of poetry, and several short stories in Italian, she has also published essays in English. She is a frequent op-ed writer for the Italian newspapers Il Venerdì di Repubblica, Alias, Il Manifesto, and Il Reportage. Her more recent work Guida alla New York ribelle, a historical guide of revolutionary New York, is forthcoming in Fall 2021.

Program director at Montclair State University: Teresa Fiore 

Teresa Fiore (Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and Professor of Italian) is a widely published scholar; coordinator of interdisciplinary cultural programming; and the recipient of awards and grants. As a faculty member, she is strongly committed to curriculum innovation and pedagogical experimentation in dialogue with the high school system. For the summer program she serves as the active liaison with a variety of offices on campus as well as with supporting institutions and individuals off campus, and as supervisor for content and activities. To learn about the projects she has spearheaded and coordinated over the years (and continues to support via the Inserra Endowed Chair) in order to strengthen the relationships between the HS and university systems, see here.

Note: Dr. Marisa Trubiano served as faculty co-developer with Dr. Fiore for the period 2017 through 2019. See her bio on the main page of the summer program.

Quick link to this page: tinyurl.com/MSUmmer2021
See also 2018 video