Today’s blog will focus on an activity at the ACCENT Florence Study Center that helped ring in the new year. A huge success among students, and a great starting point to their time abroad, each semester, the ACCENT Florence staff host an Italian culture trivia game, designed to teach students about cultural differences in a fun, interactive, and competitive way.
What is the most effective way to learn about Italian culture, food, and lifestyle? We have often asked ourselves this very question. In the end, we decided that there is no more effective way of getting to know something than by having fun with it.
With this in mind, we designed our Italian culture trivia game, a fun, interactive, and effective way to teach students to identify the cultural differences (and commonalities) between their home country and host country. Along the line of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, the Italian Culture Trivia Game is named Who Wants to Make a “Bella Figura?”. The meaning behind this title gives some insight to the goal of the game: to help students avoid making a bad impression (a brutta figura) or being culturally insensitive, by providing them with a basic framework of Italian culture and lifestyle. The game is held at the beginning of each academic term, giving students a useful crash course during their first weeks abroad.
For example, one popular trivia question is “When should you never order a Cappuccino in Italy?”, which helps students understand that in Italian culture, one would never have a meal accompanied by a cappuccino, cappuccinos are ordered in the morning before breakfast or in the afternoon, and are often accompanied by sweets like pastries or cookies.
During this trivia game, students are also able to learn interesting facts about Italy. Varied from how young the country is as an independent nation, to the nonexistence of Alfredo sauce in Italian recipe books.
During our January 2018 trivia game, we decided to split the group into two teams based on the students’ Program Coordinators: Andrea and Francesca. And so the game began, a friendly and yet competitive environment, everyone enthusiastic and apparently very prepared. Question topics included Geography, History, Food, and Culture. By the final question, the teams were tied, having answered almost all of the previous questions correctly.
Intercultural learning is challenging, nonetheless we believe it must be taught. Our job at ACCENT is to make our students aware that a better understanding of their host culture could make their experiences abroad easier, safer and more rewarding.
As usual, feedback for January 2018’s trivia game was overwhelmingly positive. That’s proof that intercultural learning can be extremely fun.
~Francesca Pannozzo, ACCENT Florence
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