Language, Business & Culture BA at MSU

Aug 01, 2019 891

BY: Enza Antenos

On May 1st the departments of Modern Languages and Literatures and Spanish and Latino Studies, hosted a reception to launch the B.A. in Language, Business & Culture. Guests, included business representatives, political figures, alumni, and university faculty who came together to celebrate this unique academic program linking the learning of world languages and cultures (students choose one from Arabic, French, German, Italian or Spanish) to the business world.

Prof. Enza Antenos, Program Director and Italian professor, welcomed guests and explained that the new degree program addresses the need to prepare students for success in the global marketplace. Robert Friedman, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Greg Cant, Dean of the Feliciano School of Business, underscored the importance of the two colleges partnering to develop the innovative degree. Prof. Teresa Fiore, Inserra Chair in Italian and Italian American Studies, spoke to internship opportunities made possible by the endowment in the rich and diverse ecosystem of the Italian economy in the greater New York area.

Language, Business & Culture formalizes something Montclair’s language students have already successfully achieved: careers in the global marketplace. Student guest speaker Emilia D’Albero, who held various positions at Eataly, confirmed that she had a competitive edge in her career because of her studies and opportunities afforded to her through the Italian program.

Italy, according to ICE figures, brings as much as 8.9% of its export market overseas towards the United States. There are also over 1000 Italian companies with a presence in the U.S. and approximately 7500 American companies doing business with Italy. Do we truly appreciate how significant the Italian language and culture are in a global marketplace? Is Italian an essential skill for professional careers beyond teaching? Language, Business & Culture provides an answer to these questions, and establishes a more immediate and meaningful connection for students, making language study relevant.

The major will provide students with opportunities to explore contemporary narratives of Italian language and culture through the perspective of business. It proposes a connection between the language and culture to the nation’s business and economy, unifying a student’s pre-existing knowledge of Italian products and their presence in the global marketplace, to the language and cultural background that is communicated by these products. It bridges the Made in Italy to the cultural know-how and excellence that creates them.

A required element is an international experience (local internships with Italian companies, or an internship in Italy): an experiential learning opportunity to activate various forms of knowledge in a hands-on context that allows students to have direct contact with the professional world before graduating. To this end, the Italian faculty is very grateful to the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission and the Coccia Foundation for their generosity and continued support of internships for students of Italian who major in Language, Business & Culture.

Establishing sustainable relationships between the University, Italian businesses and the Italian community is essential for student success. Language, Business & Culture will prepare proficient language students so they are functioning, effective and educated citizens of the global community.

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