Alyanna Cardozo is the scholarship winner for the 2013 Poetry Contest funded by Fondazione Azzurra, Edulingua and The UCLA Italian Club.
"It's been three years now since we started this program and we've been noticing an increase of interest in our language, especially among people who do not have Italian origins, which means that Italian is perceived as the language of culture and knowledge" says Marcella Spinotti, member of the panel of judges together with Elissa Tognozzi, UCLA faculty member, Domenico Siracusa, a Ph.D candidate at UCLA Deparment of Italian, Antonella Meriggi, owner of "Le Corti dei Farfensi" Olive Oil, and Giorgio Masei, Director of Edulingua.
The scholarship covers one month of tuition in August in Castelraimondo (Marche); three one-day excursions to Rome,Venice and Florence; six half-day excursions to Tolentino and Caldarola, Gubbio, Matelica, Frasassi Caves, Loreto, Civitanova Marche and San Severino. Special evenings and events include: a welcome breakfast, an Italian music night, a karaoke night, an international night, a farewell dinner,and a certificate ceremony. The participant will be given a certificate for the completion of the program.
Past winners were Emily Cacciola (2011) and Amber Murakami-Fester (2012).
18 year old Alyanna Cardozo, tells us about her decision to participate in the poetry contest:
Why did you decide to study Italian?
My grandpa was born and raised in Italy and he inspired me to get better acquainted with our culture. I felt that learning the language was the first step.
Why did you decide to participate in this scholarship contest?
I heard about the contest from my Italian TA and decided to give it a shot.
Were you expecting to win?
I did not expect to win at all, but my grandpa convinced me to enter because it would be good writing practice.
How long did it take to write your poem?
I wrote the poem in a couple of hours and continued to revise it over the course of a week.
Is it more challenging to write in Italian or to write a poem?
Writing a poem is more challenging to me because it is often difficult to find words that both have the meaning I am looking for and that also flow well in the poem.
Where did you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration came from my views on the meaning of life. The idea of discovering what makes you happy and working toward that thing is something that I both think and talk about frequently.
What was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was making sure that the metaphors I used made sense in Italian. I was never able to verify whether they did but I hoped that readers would be able to follow.
How do you feel about spending one month in Italy?
I am very excited and anxious to go! I want to interact with native speakers and learn more about daily Italian culture.
What do you expect from this experience?
I expect to become much more fluent in the language. While I can write well enough, speaking only gets better with practice, and this will be the best time to practice
Why should other students participate in this poetry contest?
Whether or not they win, participating is a great and fun way to practice writing in Italian. Writing a poem, especially in a such a beautiful (and not to mention foreign) language, is something to be very proud of. Maybe they will even discover that they have a great gift for writing poetry. They'll never know until they try.
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