Meet The Staff: Matilde

The SRISA staff is the essential backbone of the school, the heart of your new Italian family. Willing to help in any way, whether it be drawing you a map or pronounce a word for the 10th time, they are patient and always smiling. I thought it was time to highlight them and all the great things they do. How are they amazing, and how do they handle all these crazy students?! Keep checking back for more interviews with the SRISA staff.

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Matilde and students attend a Florentine soccer game

Matilde Zampi

Student Perspective: “Matilde was an inspiration to us all. Her enthusiasm and zest for life always amazed me. There was just something about the way she looked at you and smiled, that gave you the sense that she believed in you. She wanted you to succeed and was willing to help in any way she could. She would push you past your limits because she understood that it is okay to make mistakes with language or even in life. I think she understands the fundamental concept that life isn’t about staying in your comfort zone, it is about pushing past personal boundaries to get to personal growth and achievement. She is not afraid to push her students in terms of learning. I look up to Matilde for her enthusiasm for life and her students. She is someone that is truly an inspiration in terms of the importance of taking authorship in life and always maintaining positivity and enthusiasm in everything.” Natalie S. Fall 2014

How long have you worked at SRISA?

I have been working at SRISA for almost 10 years

What do you love about working at SRISA?

I love everything about working at SRISA. First of all I have an awesome relationship with all my collegues, and the staff. Then, I can also say that it’s a privilege having the chance to work in a small school, so that we can have not too many students in each class. This means we can get to know them one by one, and we can create a familiar kind of atmosphere.

What makes SRISA different/special from other study abroad programs?

 All I have already said makes SRISA different from other programs in Florence as well as in other cities in Italy. Professors spend a lot of time with their students, we actually love to go with them also in fieldtrips, so even during that time we can teach them something more that they would not learn from regular guides. As a Professor of Italian Language and Literature, I love to be available for my students all the time, so that they can feel free to talk to me about their problems, or answer their questions about Italian and Florentine culture.

Whats something everyone should check out while in Florence?

Of course Art in general. What you can find in Florence is only in Florence. Most of the times students don’t know about few very special museums, like the Specola, the Stibbert, the Galileo Museo della Scienza, the Museo Archeologico, the Giardini di Villa Bardini etc. There are many more, but for sure students should visit the Corridoio Vasariano because it’s a very special and unique experience. Another suggestion I can give students is to go on day trips to beautiful places like Arezzo, Lucca, all the Chianti Classico area, Bologna, Perugia, Orvieto, Gubbio…it’s hard to choose, there are so many things to see even in just one day taking a bus or a regional train. Moreover I would recommend students to visit other regions in my Country before going to other States in Europe. Every region in Italy is like a different Country under every possible point of view: art, culture, language, food..

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

There are many places I would love to visit. If I think of one place where I would go back right now is Israel. History over there is allover, it’s like being back at the beginning of our Eastern culture. If I have to choose a place where I would like to live instead, I think I would choose the South West of the United States. I love everything about that area, the nature, the people, the simple lifestyle.

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Matilde takes students on a field trip to Rome

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

As an Italian it’s not easy to choose one thing that I would eat for the rest of my life, but I cannot survive without pasta and tomatoes!

What do you do in your free time? 

 During my free time I like to watch all sports, and soccer is of course my favourite one. I like cinema in general, and music. I have a season ticket for the Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze because I love classical music and opera.I like to read, to be on the Internet, to share time with friends, to go out for dinner. The thing that I love the most is traveling, so I try to find new places to visit all the time.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

My favourite class to teach, besides Italian Language, is Italian literature.

What class would you recommend to students?

Clearely I would recommend students to take Italian. It’s very important to have a connection with the Country you are living in, and you can get it in a more complete way if you know a little bit of its language.

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