A Paul and Silvia Rava award recipient in Italian, Vanessa graduated from WU in 2011 with a major in Romance Languages and Literatures and a minor in Economics. She also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, through the WU Carlos III program, where she was able to take literature classes in Spanish and Italian. Vanessa is passionate about languages: along with Spanish, Italian and French, she also speaks Portuguese as well as English, her two native languages. “Being raised in such a bilingual and bicultural environment,” she says, has made her “very curious about the world in general from a very young age.” Vanessa is spending 2011-12 in Perpignan, France as an English Language Teaching assistant.
An avid rock climber who does lots of biking, kickboxing, hip-hop dance, travelling and hiking, Teresa majored in French and minored in Italian at WU. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Romance Studies at Duke University. Teresa’s proficiency in Italian and French is exceptional. Not only was she awarded the Department’s Rava prize in recognition of her scholarly achievements in Italian but also (perhaps the greatest mark of distinction!) in both Italy and in France she has been taken for a native speaker! For Teresa “successful communication in another language is always a moment of personal triumph" and one that allows her to expand her horizons. "Being able to speak foreign languages," she says, has made her feel "like a citizen of the world."