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University of Minnesota Scholarship Winner Blog 2018 - Elena Cattaneo

My name is Elena Cattaneo and I am this year’s recipient of the ICC Massimo Bonavita Memorial Scholarship. I am a rising junior at the University of Minnesota studying Neuroscience and Italian and I want to thank you for choosing me to receive this scholarship, as it will allow me to pursue my lifelong dream of learning Italian.

I was born in Zurich, Switzerland and moved to Minnesota at fifteen months old, where I grew up speaking German and English. Most of my relatives are from Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland and I try to visit them regularly. As a child I forged friendships with my cousins, all the while speaking different languages, and as I became older my desire to learn Italian and communicate properly with my family became stronger every time I returned to Switzerland. A large part of my decision to attend the University of Minnesota was due to its Italian program, and I have been lucky to be taught by incredible teachers and professors for the past two years. I have learned more than I thought I would in such a short amount of time, and already my ability to communicate with my family has flourished. I can only imagine how much more I will learn this fall while studying at the University of Bologna, where I hope to take courses in Italian literature and history.

I am so grateful to the ICC for helping make my dream to immerse myself in Italy’s beautiful language and culture a reality. I believe that this opportunity will not only allow me to learn a new language, but it will also allow me to grow and learn about myself in a way that can only be done by leaving the comfort of normality, and by vulnerably embracing a new way of life.



The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
 528 Hennepin Ave | Minneapolis, MN 55403 | (612) 295-4111 

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