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2023 Summer Italian Intensive Program for Early College Credit (July 10-27)

Welcome to the 2023 edition of the Summer Italian Intensive Program for Early College Credit, a unique opportunity to improve your knowledge of Italian language and culture to advance your studies at both the high school and university levels, while experiencing campus life through a short-term residential experience.

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. Now in its sixth edition, the program represents a continuous service for high school students as well as recent graduates of New Jersey and the Tri-State Area interested in consolidating their learning from the past year and getting ready for their future university experience.


DATES: July 10-27, 2023 (classes run from Monday through Thursday; residential students live on campus Sun night through Wed night)
TIME: 9am-1:30pm including lunch (students bring their own lunch or buy food at campus cafeterias)
LOCATION: Schmitt Hall 110
: $825 (this is the actual cost, even if previous promotional material may show another amount)
ROOM AND BOARD: $700 (double room in a dorm: $384; breakfast/lunch/dinner: $316) – students will be provided with a card to be used at campus cafeterias
PARKING: Free in any parking areas on campus during the summer


Do you have any questions? Please visit our FAQ PAGE, and for further inquiries contact the program coordinator, Patti Grunther ( FAQ

Taught in the target language by an experienced native speaker, the course 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.

Guided tours

  1. Mon. July 10: Campus tour led by Teresa Fiore
  2. Wed. July 12: Eataly in New York (tasting tour + hands-on workshop)
  3. Mon July 17: The Metropolitan Museum of New York: A guided tour of the Italian masterpieces of the collection led by Roberta Minnucci (Scholar in Residence at Magazzino Italian Art Center)
  4. Mon July 24:  Cooking class at Healthy Italian La buona cucina (Madison, NJ)

Lunch speakers (The “Prendiamoci un caffè insieme” series of talks is an integral part of the summer program and attendance is required)PRESENTATIONS ARE IN ITALIAN
For a full set of bios and photos of speakers, see list of guest speakers in pdf file to be uploaded.

  1. Tue. July 11 – Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno with Grace Julianna discuss their short fictional film Our Return to Italy (26 mins) about the choice of an Italian-American winemaker to move to Italy.
  2. Thur. July 13 – Giulia Baldini: NY-based Italian Brazilian journalist recounts her personal voyage from student to model and fashion blogger
  3. Tue. July 18Amir Issaa, Italian-Egyptian rapper, writer, and activist, addresses issues linked to Black Italy, discrimination, citizenship, and the power of words and creativity
  4. Wed. July 19 – Rossana Dall’Armellina: Yoga expert based in Italy  provides advice for physical and mental wellbeing (link and YT channel)
  5. Thur. July 20 – Federica Heiman (Dolce Federica) offers a brief history of chocolate production and consumption at the global level and more specifically in Italy.
  6. Tue. July 25 Julian Mossuto: A field marketing specialist for Adidas soccer talks about the role of soccer in Italian society within a historical perspective.
  7. Wed. July 26 – Emilia D’Albero: An MSU alumna now an award-winning cheese monger discusses her career from an MSU student to an Eataly intern/events manager and her present role in the cheese and charcuterie sector
  8.  Thur. July 27 – Final greetings from program’s organizing team and pizza lunch

Afternoon activities – designed for residential students (open to non-residential students upon request for a $20 fee – contact

  1. Tue. July 11  – Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno lead a workshop about making a very short video on the theme of “moving to Italy” whether as an Italian descendant or a lover of Italy.
  2. Thur. July 13 – Giulia Baldini: NY-based Italian Brazilian journalist/blogger and former model leads a hands-on workshop about creating a fashion blog.
  3. Tue. July 18 – Amir Issaa, Italian-Egyptian rapper, writer, and activist, leads a creative workshop in which students will write a rap song in Italian as a group.
  4. Wed. July 19 – Megan Biondi: A certified yoga instructor leads a hands-on yoga session in Italian
  5. Thur. July 20 – Federica Heiman (Dolce Federica) coordinates a hands-on workshop on how to make chocolate bars.
  6. Tue. July 25 – Julian Mossuto: A field marketing specialist for Adidas soccer involves students in learning and practicing some basic soccer skills.
  7. Wed July 26 – Emilia D’Albero: An MSU alumna now an award-winning cheese monger discusses the role of cheese in Italian gastronomy (with cheese tastings)

The program is offered by the Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies and the Italian Program (Department of World Languages and Cultures) at Montclair State University, in association with Summer Sessions , and the support of the Inserra Scholarship Fund.

The program is the only one 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.



Original developer, coordinator, and RA for 2023: Patti Grunther

Patti Grunther lived in Italy for more than 20 years and has been teaching Italian language and culture at Watchung Hills Regional High School since she moved back to the U.S. with her family 15 years ago. 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 Board of the Italian American Committee on Education (IACE), co-directs the TANDEM project on creating virtual exchanges with Italian schools, 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.

Program director and instructor for 2023: 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. Since 2017, for the summer program she has served as the supervisor for content and activities, the active liaison with a variety of offices on campus as well as with supporting institutions and individuals off campus. 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.

Intern for 2023: Francesca (Frankie) Irvin

Francesca Irvin graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School in 2023. She studied Italian in all 4 years of high school, graduating with the Seal of Biliteracy. In addition, she was inducted into the Italian Honor Society in both her junior and senior years. Francesca plans on attending college in New Jersey and majoring in Education with an Italian minor. She is excited to broaden her knowledge of Italian language and culture this summer.

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