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Arianna Brown

Bachelor of Arts and Marketing
Library assistant at Lazzerini Library

As a student completing a Diploma of Languages (Italian), I had the opportunity to complete an internship at Monash Prato as an Italian elective unit. I applied and was accepted to work at Biblioteca Lazzerini as a library assistant. Also as part of my internship I facilitated English literacy workshops on Australian animals, food and culture for children of various ages. The internship gave me the opportunity to practise my Italian in a business environment as well as have some first-hand international work experience.

Personally, I think the advantages of completing an internship is the cultural integration you receive as not just a tourist or student but as a work colleague to the people you work with. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone on a level where we could discuss current affairs and personal interests. The internship enabled me to understand my full capacity to speak the Italian language in an uncontrolled, very real environment, which was very different to the tutorial oral class work I was used to.

I was surprised how natural it felt teaching the kids in the language workshops. Being the youngest in my family, I’ve never really had much practice speaking to or teaching young kids, especially alternating between Italian and English. My language ability enabled me to proficiently alternate between languages when I was teaching, which in one instance enabled me to successfully teach 50 children of ages 10 and 11 to sing and dance to Australian songs.


Maureen O'Beirne

Bachelor of Arts (Languages)
English Language Assistant at Liceo Cicognini

I have been privileged to have spent the past four weeks in Prato as an English teaching assistant at the Cicognini high school.

It has been a wonderful and positive experience to become involved in the programs of such a prestigious and historically significant school and both staff and students have welcomed me warmly. I have been impressed by the linguistic competence of the students and the program implemented by the school, which includes the study of other subjects in English.

The English teachers with whom I have been working demonstrate much dedication to their vocation - this inspires me to continue with my studies with the intention of teaching English on completion. The staff has included me openly in their current teaching programs and, over the weeks, through observation and interaction, I have come to understand much about how English is taught.

The respect, interest and politeness shown to me by the students of Cicognini have been high and would seem to be some reflection of the influence of the staff here. It is valuable and important for both students of Monash and of Cicognini to experience each other’s cultures. I am thankful to have had an inside view of the culture and language which I am currently studying and will leave here so much richer for the experience – and I hope a little more competent in my knowledge of Italian!

Thank you to all staff and students of Cicognini who have been so giving of their time and expertise, and to the people of Prato who offer those of us studying Italian such an authentic experience of life here.


Shireen Rawlins                                                                                                                                                  

Bachelor of Education
Placement at San Niccolò and Convitto Cicognini

My teaching placement was at Cicognini, which is a stunning building with a beautiful grand dining hall with fresco painting covering the ceiling. I was very fortunate to have an extremely friendly mentor teacher in my preferred area of teaching: visual art. My mentor and I would often go out for coffee, or tea for me, after class and chat for hours. She was very keen to improve her English language skills and it was lovely to watch her English improve dramatically over the three weeks I was with her. I have very fond memories of our time together and we have kept in regular contact with each other ever since. I was lucky to have had a lot of teaching experience whilst in Prato. I planned and taught six different art classes at Cicognini every week, whilst also having the privilege to teach two more classes at San Niccolò; another absolutely stunning school with extremely friendly accommodating staff. As a result of this I have over 300 photos of students' work, which will be great for my teaching portfolio.

And it doesn’t stop there! Monash University kindly organised for us to attend private family dinners in small groups. This was a great opportunity to spend time with locals over some great food and wine; some of the best food I tasted in Europe! On the weekends I went to Florence, Pisa and Siena, and on the topic of food, I absolutely loved all the different pizzas, pastas and gelati flavours! And as a bonus I continued my travels after the Prato experience to see Rome in Italy, before jetting off to Germany, England and France. I would highly recommend the Prato Practicum to anyone! One of the best decisions I ever made!