HPU Spends ‘Maymester’ Learning About Italian Culture

High Point University students spent two weeks studying Italian culture during a recent “Maymester” trip. The group visited the Colosseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.


HIGH POINT, N.C., May 31, 2019 – A group of High Point University students from the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication spent two weeks exploring Italy’s rich culture.

HPU students spent time in the towns of Termoli and Carunchio where they learned how Italian small businesses target markets in the United States.

The trip served as the global experience portion of the course International Communication Case Studies, taught by David Radanovich, assistant professor of strategic communication. HPU Global Experience programs, also known as “Maymesters,” are short-term study abroad opportunities allowing HPU students to travel within the U.S. and internationally to learn about different cultures through real-world experiences.

The goal of the course is to help students understand the importance of adapting messages to a target audience and appreciate the complexities of cross-cultural communication in public relations.

“Traveling gives students the opportunity to connect theory with actual practice by immersing themselves in the local culture and gaining first-hand experience with seasoned professionals,” said Radanovich. “The students and I have learned so much by meeting with the executives of these Italian companies and hearing how they promote their company and market their products in the United States.”

HPU students visited the Vatican, where they met with an official who explained its history and provided insight into how the Vatican operates as its own country. The students then visited the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Colosseum.

“St. Peter’s Basilica was absolutely stunning,” said Rebekah Hatherly, an event management major. “Seeing the altar where the Pope serves communion was incredible. These are experiences all HPU students should do because it enhances our sense of history. My education wouldn’t have been complete without exploring other countries and experiencing their cultures.”

Students learned about the history of the factory and how pasta is made.

The students spent time touring the towns of Termoli and Carunchio, where they studied how Italian small businesses target niche markets in the United States to promote their brands.

“You can study a textbook or sit in a class all semester, but you won’t fully understand a culture and how they communicate until you actually go and experience it for yourself,” said Cassidy White, a journalism major. “Being able to see and understand these Italian businesses and to ask questions about their branding strategies has helped me so much.” 

Students also toured one of the biggest pasta factories in Italy, La Molisana, to learn how pasta is made and how the company promotes its brand. The factory, which was founded in 1912, is run by four generations of the Ferro family.

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