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Il Mondo Italiano: Patrizia Farina’s Journey

By Paola Anguiano

Professor Farina teaching her students (Screenshot by Paola Anguiano)

Patrizia Farina sits in front of a screen, in a room with full, illuminated bookshelves wearing a smile and her handouts ready to teach her students the Italian culture. Farina is an Italian professor at Purchase and Western Connecticut State University and lives in Connecticut.

Farina has been teaching at Purchase College for 20 years. She started teaching in the fall of 2002 at the Foreign Languages Department. Farina is a native Italian from Pisa, Italy. Her favorite meal is pizza.

Farina was asked what she most loved about Italy. And she said that while things are changing in Italy, what she most loves is the climate. “You wake up in the morning, and you’re never gonna ask yourself how is the day today going to be? It’s sunny, obviously, and always very mild,” said Farina.

She got a Laurea (equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts) in Roman history from Università Degli Studi di Pisa and a Ph.D. in Roman archaeology from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Before teaching Italian, she started with Latin. She had taught at many colleges, including Cornell University, Colgate University, Syracuse University, and the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

“I love what I do,” says Farina. She is passionate about her job and says that it has some challenges but also some rewards. “When you see that people are actually getting it and they start making their own sentences, it’s like, this is so beautiful, fantastic,” said Farina.

Students often describe her class as easy. “Professor Farina is someone who is very patient, she likes to show us about Italian culture and is very enthusiastic,” said Angel Sanchez-Montes, a computer science major.

Before COVID, Farina used to teach on campus, but since March 2019, she had to start teaching remotely. When everyone was coming back to in-person classes, she continued remotely because it was easier for her. One of the biggest challenges she must face is to "Keep students engaged," said Farina. She also said that, as a professor, you need to be patient. "Patience is the biggest gift that you can have," said Farina.

Teaching at two colleges can be challenging because of the number of people. She asks her students to do their homework on time because of the amount of work she must check. She has to remind her students to do their homework every class; "Then they get it, and they are happy," said Farina.

Professor Farina teaching the distinct types of verbs (Screenshot by Paola Anguiano)

“I do like her class,” Sanchez-Montes said. “My favorite part about Professor Farina’s class is when we watch videos about certain Italian customs,” Maya Villanueva, an anthropology major, said. “I like that she is patient with us and helps us through the learning process,” said Villanueva.

“People will struggle and pronounce things wrong, but she will be really patient and not make you feel bad or dissuade you,” said Isabella Nuñez, a film major. She also says that her class is in the evening, and while she would usually hate a late class, but, “It’s really chill and non-stressful,” said Nuñez.

Farina loves hiking. “That’s a big recharge during the weekend,” said Farina. She says that because of COVID-19, she does not hike with big groups but hopes that it changes soon. “It’s nice because you’re looking at the landscape,” said Farina. Before COVID, she liked going to concerts. She likes dancing. “I used to be a ballerina myself,” said Farina. She also likes cooking and baking, and always bakes for her hiking group.

“I love when she will make little jokes or talk about the weather outside, and honestly, her class has a very lighthearted, calming feeling to it,” said Nuñez.

“She is very nice, and she doesn’t make the class boring. She tries to keep us engaged,” said Villanueva.

“When I have a topic down, it’s fun to put it into practice and show off what I know, and when I’m lost, it’s a great way to learn,” Nuñez said. “Most of the stuff Professor Farina corrects me on during practice sessions, are the things I never forget.”


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