A study program in Cagli, Italy, is getting a reboot. John Caputo, who led the popular Gonzaga University program for 12 years, is launching a new cultural-communication immersion program in Cagli. His new educational travel company, Mercurio LLC, will run the program open to any adult for college credit or not.
Gonzaga’s program, which ended in 2016, brought university students to Cagli to learn about the language, meet the residents and take courses in the medieval town. Participants also spent time in Rome. The new program will be similar.
“Talking to other people, I had this idea to relaunch the study abroad because of the value and experiences we were having,” said Caputo, who recently retired as a professor in Gonzaga’s communications and leadership studies department. As a professor emeritus, he’ll continue to do some teaching.
With a March 1 application deadline, the program’s expected cost is $4,495 per person, which includes tuition, housing, transport, activities, insurance, lab fees and some meals. That price doesn’t include airfare. The session would cost about $500 less if done without academic credit.
“People recommended things such as you don’t really have to do this program for credit because a lot of people in midlife or further ages who would value doing this. They want sort of an academic experience, but they don’t want a traditional academic experience.
“They like to be around a place where they’re really learning a lot, sharing ideas, but they’re having a fun time.”
However, popular aspects of the program will remain, such as participants contributing to a multimedia project to share stories about people they’ve met, he added.
“We actually do write stories and do photography working with a professional photographer who does the photo class. We work with an Italian language teacher who does conversational language.
“We put together both a hard copy book as well as web pages, but it’s all streamlined now, more simplified. The actual immersion and telling stories of people you’re meeting is still a central component.”
For those who want college credit, students earn them through Sapienza University of Rome. The Cagli session will start at Sapienza before the group goes to Cagli, with a free weekend for travel.
“The biggest change is the idea of opening this up for non-university students,” Caputo said. “We want to keep an academic component, like with the lectures and discussions. The places we visit will all have a learning component.”
Cagli is a small town in the Marche region of Italy about 150 miles north of Rome and 30 miles inland from the Adriatic Sea.
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