Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Alumni in the Spotlight
Raffaele Napolitano '11
1. What was your reason originally for choosing Italian as your language of interest?
“I grew up in an Italian household where my father immigrated here when he was 22 years old. I had grandparents on both sides of the family who were Italian immigrants as well. In high school I decided to pursue Italian up to the AP level and did very well, preparing me for college.”
2. How did your study of Italian open a wider horizon of cultural and social understanding for you?
“Family communication became easier. I had embraced my heritage and loved the food and culture. Most importantly, my curiosity to what was being said around in my family drew me closer to them.”
3. Was your knowledge of Italian instrumental in any way in obtaining the job you presently have? How has it benefited your career?
“I held a part-time job at Coach during my time as a student here, and that job led to an opportunity one fateful Saturday night. A regional manager for Phoenix International, a leader of Import-Export international business, came in to pick up certain products. I was very helpful and attentive, and when he finally came to ring up at the register, he pulled out a debit card with a computer chip embedded into it. I immediately recognized this as a talking point about my study abroad experience in Italy where I had seen these types of cards being used in Europe. He seemed to be impressed and offered me an informational interview which then led to a job offer to be trained for the position a few days later."
4. Did you find your study of Italian at Muhlenberg satisfying? Elaborate, please.
"I took five courses of high level Italian past the Intermediate II level offered , which counted toward my self-designed Italian studies major. With the help of the Languages Department here, I felt that it was important to immerse myself in as many classes as I could.”
5. Did you study abroad? How did that experience benefit you?
“Yes. I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy for a five-month stay. It helps me now with the increasing number of my Italian clientele because I can find a comfort zone of cultural understanding and I can meet them at their comfort level of the language.”
6. On a personal level, how did your involvement in the Italian language and culture enrich you?
“I fell in love with Italy itself and all of its culture, honestly. I had the chance to meet people of other cultures, live on my own, and grew a greater love for Italian itself. I could spend hours studying it, speaking it, and hearing it and it wouldn’t fatigue me.”
Read Raffaele's Senior profile written by Sarah Degginger