As Italian professor Laura Godio approached Italian professor Rita D’Amico, there was an instant ease and the mood of this interaction seemed almost too perfect. These are two professors that, when they speak about the language they teach others, are enthusiastic about it even if they both have different teaching experiences.
The love for teaching Italian started 18 years ago for Godio back in Milan, Italy. When she relocated her life here in Los Angeles, she began her career at the Italian Institute of Culture where she met a professor that recommend she set her eyes on possibly teaching at Pasadena City College because there were a lot of opportunities for her.
Choosing to start her career at PCC in 2007 was also when she met professor D’Amico, who was her mentor at the time.
“When I came here for my first interview as an adjunct professor I just loved the college,” Godio said. “I loved the program because we have the biggest program at community college level in California.”
One of the main reasons Godio loves working at PCC and being apart of the Italian program that is offered is because it allows her to teach several levels of the Italian language to students who are interested. This program also allows both Godio and D’Amico to teach classes such as cinema and culture.
Professor D’Amico’s story of why she began her career at PCC is different than professor Godio’s. Being in the states for much longer, D’Amico got her PHD in Italian literature from UCLA and began her teaching career in Dallas, Texas. When she got the urge to come back to California, she set her sights on PCC. Not expecting to get the position, she was lucky enough to find an opening and her career at PCC began in 2001.
“I came here because I knew this was a strong program,” said D’Amico. “When I came, there were all the Italian language classes from beginning to intermediate already and there was a lot of flexibility.”
D’Amico is also one of the professors that has had the opportunity to teach abroad in Florence, Italy with the study abroad program PCC offers for students.
“I really enjoy teaching there because I see all the powerful transformation for the students to go and study abroad,” D’Amico said. “I encourage everybody to really take this opportunity [to study abroad] because it’s a great learning opportunity … it’s a life changing experience.”
Touching on what their fondest memories are of working at PCC, both Godio and D’Amico have similar stories to tell on what has really impacted their love for teaching their language on this campus.
“Because I teach every level, seeing students starting from scratch not being able to speak a word and only knowing three words in Italian and seeing the same student in a very short time -basically in four semesters- being able to have a full conversation about any current events in a foregin language to me is the most fond memory,” said Godio.
D’Amico’s fondest memories are those of her taking students to Florence, Italy and seeing them flourish in an unknown city and return after a full semester absolutely changed in the best way one could imagine.
“When they go to Florence, I can see the transformative experience and I still have students that contact me and send me emails,” said D’Amcio. “And they came with me ten years ago and that’s very rewarding. What is also rewarding is to see a student who is struggling and having difficulties … and when I help him or her, I see little by little they get more confident.”