Faces of Whitworth: Student reflects on the value of language

After applying to study for a semester in the United States, Italian international student Erika Borsani waited for a reply. Time passed and she thought she was not accepted. She finally got a reply, though. She had been accepted to to attend Whitworth for a semester.

Borsani is one of around 30 international students at Whitworth.  Although she is considered to be a junior back at her home university, here she said she feels like a freshman after going through traditiation.

Borsani grew up in the small town of Tradate, which is outside of Milan, Italy.

She will be at Whitwoth only for a semester, and while here she will study foreign languages for management and marketing.

The Italian school system requires students to learn English.  She said that in high school they did not learn to fluently speak English.

“You don’t get to actually speak it, but you learn the basics like grammar,” Borsani said.

It was not until she started attending a university that she began to learn how to properly speak English.

The language barrier has proven to be the biggest culture shock for Borsani.  She knows how to speak English and understands, but it does not come as easily as Italian.

“It is a big thing; you may take it for granted,” Borsani said.  “[It is hard when] you leave a place and you can’t say a word in your mother language and you feel like you can’t speak.”

Although the language proves to be difficult, she knows practicing the language in the culture is the best way to learn it.

At Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the university she attends in Milan, Borsani studies Greek and Italian literature, but she loves the world of art.

Borsani wishes she had chosen to study art.  In Italy she had to choose a high school to study at based on majors when she was 14.  She was not sure what she should do at that time, so she did not choose art.

After that she chose to attend a university, also based on major, and chose to study foreign languages.

“I love what I chose but I really wish I could do other things,” Borsani said.

Although she may not be studying art, she does not hide her artistic side.

One way Borsani showed off her talent was by drawing the tattoo that she has on her back.  She used her drawing skills at the Warren Hall prison tattoo Prime Time. She spent the night drawing narwhals, penguins and intricate geometric patterns on people’s arms and legs.

Borsani said she would not trade this experience for anything.  The only thing she said she wished she did differently was apply to attend Whitworth for a whole year.

 

By Haley Williamson

Photo by Greg Moser

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