profiles of AMS students:
The Global Stride program
allows to apply their stipends
toward study-abroad costs or intensive language programs.
As part of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed
and profiled international students in the college’s graduate
program in American Studies, to help familiarize
them with people who have made cultural transitions.
The Gate is publishing
their profiles in an occasional series.
Sara Ottomano '15, Global Stride Fellow
Filippo Cervelli GR, American
Studies Diploma program
Through the American Studies
Diploma Program at Smith, which awards a one-year scholarship
to selective students from around the world, many international
students during the past 50 years have worked on various
academic projects to further their education.
10 individuals were awarded the scholarship, representing
eight countries. Filippo Cervelli, an American Studies Scholar
who earned master’s degrees in both English and Italian at
the University of Florence (Italy), is focusing his Smith
project on the relationship between multicultural issues
and ecological challenges.
Cervelli, who is from Florence,
has traveled to many countries, including the United States.
This year will be his third visit to the U.S. and will be
his longest stay here. Fluent in Italian and English, Cervelli
is not experiencing any difficulties adjusting to the language
in and outside the classroom. In fact, he tutors students
in Italian and helps conduct lessons outside the classroom
for beginner students.
Meanwhile, Cervelli is exploring
all that Smith has to offer. He has enjoyed his class on
Chinese culture and a seminar on American literature.
grown up in Florence and experienced the Italian education
system, Cervelli brings a unique perspective to Smith’s academic
curriculum and campus life. At the University of Florence,
there is no campus life because, like most European universities,
there are no student dormitories or even a campus, per se.
University buildings are for academic purposes only, Cervelli
explains. While students at Smith enjoy amenities such as
dining halls, a post office, a gym, a student center and
performance spaces, students at the University of Florence
have no access to such services. Typically, they rent apartments
independently or commute from home to the university.
comparison, however, the cost of an education is much cheaper
in Florence, and while financial aid is offered, most students
do not need it.
The curricular program of studies
is also very different. Students at the University of Florence
declare their major before beginning their course of studies
and therefore, unlike students at Smith, they have little
freedom to choose courses outside of the major. Yet another
difference between the Italian university and an American
liberal arts college is the amount of time students spend
in class. Italian students spend their time in lecture classes
with little to no opportunity to discuss or debate in small
Despite these differences, Cervelli
feels that Smith is meeting his academic expectations thus
As for campus life, Cervelli
points out that Smith offers a multitude of co-curricular
activities that encourage students to apply what they learn
in the classroom to the real world. For example, a student
studying gender relations at Smith can join a number of organizations
that advocate for issues relating to gender. In Florence,
such co-curricular activities—or indeed any kind of club—do
After graduating from Smith
in May, Cervelli hopes to study at least one more year in
America to extend his academic learning experience. For the
moment, he will continue exploring the advantages of a liberal
arts college and he would like to experience all that Smith
has to offer.