Alum Davis Mooney (’14 Mechanical Eng.) comes from a place where impressive sightseeing is not uncommon. His hometown, Lookout Mountain, TN is a small mountain town on the Tennessee-Georgia border a few miles North of Rock City, the famed rock formation from which — according to legend — up to six different states can be seen. So, when as part of his Italian Studies Minor he chose to participate in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures’ Study Abroad program in Perugia, Italy he knew well what skills he needed to take with him in order to enjoy a great adventure.
Davis attended NC State from 2010 to 2014 as a Mechanical Engineering major, minoring also in Italian Studies. Currently. he is on staff with Reformed University Fellowship at Virginia Tech, VA.
In the following interview conducted by FLL Webmaster Samuel F. Sotillo Davis talks about his Study Abroad experience in Perugia, Italy where he spent six weeks improving his Italian language skills while learning about the country’s long history and about his favorite sport — the so-called “engineer’s sport” — Formula One Racing.
Samuel Sotillo: What sparked your interest in Studying Abroad?
Davis Mooney: As soon as I arrived at NC State I was interested in studying abroad. There were so many advertisements for trips and Study Abroad experiences and they all seemed liked places I would love going to. I had been to Italy once before on a trip with my high school and wanted to return to the country with a better understanding of the language. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to go after my sophomore year at State, and it was a fantastic experience!
SS: Briefly describe your experience abroad.
DM: I spent six weeks in Perugia, Italy at Università per Stranieri studying intermediate Italian. It was a fantastic experience! Nine other students from NC State and I met our tour guide in Rome and spent the first few days of the trip visiting historic sites and experiencing the city. We then got to Perugia and spent a couple of days getting settled in the city and at the university. The remainder of the trip was spent taking classes throughout the week and traveling to other Italian cities on the weekends. These excursions were a great way to see multiple parts of the country and to experience the unique cultures that each city had to offer. Overall, it was an incredible trip which I will never forget!
SS: How do you feel this Study Abroad experience relates to your career goals and personal interests?
DM: It was during this trip that our tour guide introduced me to what he referred to as the “engineer’s sport” — Formula One Racing. There is a long history and a cultural fascination with racing in Italy, and it was so much fun to experience this fascination firsthand during my time in the country. This is an interest that I have continued to pursue in the States, and I was so excited to hear that there are plans to launch a Formula One team based out of Charlotte, NC!
“The Perugia Study Abroad Program has existed for many years at NC State because of its success. Students arrive in Italy with varying degrees of knowledge of the language and interest in the culture, and leave with a common love of the country and with many shared memories.”
SS: What were some of the rewards?
Another reason that I enjoyed the trip was that it gave me the opportunity to learn more about another of my interests — ancient Roman history. During my first trip to Italy I got to see some of the major historical sites, but my study abroad experience was a much better opportunity to learn about the long history of the country and people of Italy. Although I am biased, I can’t imagine a better place to study abroad than Italy. The people are friendly, there is a rich culture, an incredible history, paintings and art from all of the masters, some of the best food in the world, and the scenery is gorgeous!
SS: What are some of the things you learned during your trip?
DM: The main reason that I studied abroad in Italy was to learn Italian. This study abroad experience definitely helped me to achieve that goal. All of the classes were taught in Italian by native Italian speakers. By the end of my six weeks of classes, I had a much better understanding of the language and had built a base of knowledge that I was able to build on in my remaining Italian classes at NC State. The Study Abroad program was also a great opportunity to practice my Italian speaking skills, as there were many students in my classes from other countries who did not speak English and the only language that we had in common was Italian, so we were able to help and to encourage one another as we learned!
SS: What were some of the challenges?
DM: Although my Italian speaking skills grew while I was in Perugia, it was still difficult at times to communicate. I would try my Italian while ordering lunch or buying groceries, but there were times when I would forget words or say the wrong thing. Thankfully, the Italian people are very gracious, especially to those who are trying to learn the language.
SS: What would you say to current NC State students who may be thinking about going abroad while in college?
DM: Do it! Although it may require sacrificing half of a summer, studying in Italy is an experience that will cause you to learn and to grow in so many ways. The Perugia Study Abroad Program has existed for many years at NC State because of its success. Students arrive in Italy with varying degrees of knowledge of the language and interest in the culture, and leave with a common love of the country and with many shared memories. Although I am a few years removed from my study abroad experience, I still love scrolling back through my pictures from the trip and remembering all of the different people I talked to, meals I ate, and places I visited!Posted by FLL Webmaster