CAGLI, Italy – Students in Gonzaga University’s Master of Arts in Communication and Leadership Studies program drew a crowd of 500 people to an exhibition, also called “Spectulare,” of their final projects chronicling their intercultural immersion through digital video and photography.
The exhibition was held in the center of Cagli, a medieval Italian city in the Apennine Mountains. The purpose of the project was to learn another culture’s values from an insider’s perspective and then share the resulting digital stories with the community in a public exhibition.
Allesandro Chegai, a restaurant owner in Cagli, said the students’ public exhibition helped the community understand what the students were doing in Italy.
“Gonzaga engages the community as international guests in a way that we can enjoy. The stories and photographs have nothing to do with the students and everything to do with the people of Cagli,” he said. “They create community here in a way that we cannot create ourselves. That is special.”
Gonzaga student Mark Ramos, an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, added to the celebration by performing a traditional dance dressed in regalia. “I wanted to give part of my culture back to the Italians, another culture rich in tradition and history. Even though dancing and singing are only the tip of the cultural iceberg, it is something I can share.”
The Gonzaga-in-Cagli Project, now in its 10th year, attracts students from around the world. It is one of the master program’s study-abroad opportunities in which students learn intercultural communication, Italian language and culture, profile writing, photography and digital design. The course combines classroom instruction, lab work, and field research.
Students also share their digital stories with the community in a book and with the world through a website.