Year abroad helps Italian major develop language skills, discover senior thesis topic, and strengthen connection to family heritage

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

Gianna Van Heel’s time studying abroad while at Notre Dame was immersive and comprehensive — the nearly yearlong experience included coursework, research, an internship, and embracing the Italian way of life. She knew it was the best way to truly learn another language. Van Heel, who won the College of Arts and Letters’ Robert D. Nuner Award for the language major with the highest GPA, studied Dante during her time abroad and was captivated by his writing. 

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