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Teaching Business Culture in the Italian Context

Global and Intercultural Challenges


Peter Cullen and Maria Elisa Montironi

Italy often suffers from its cultural heritage. Certain themes have passed into stereotype and popular consumption, while others have been overlooked. This volume discusses teaching choices and topics on the implementation of a US study abroad business programme in Italy. The authors first have a look at business questions, then at culture through a chapter on the fashion industry. The final section focuses on methods in teaching Italian culture, language, history, and intercultural communication. This volume highlights non-traditional aspects of Italian culture, and focuses on the intercultural dimension of teaching and learning for study abroad students. The points of view found herein should promote a more contextualized and contemporary view of what studying Italy can be about.

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This book was born out of conversation among staff members of the then newly created Business Culture in the Italian Context programme offered in its first edition by the University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of International Studies and the Villanova School of Business. The programme was created to be a joint-certificate programme offering credits in both the Italian and the US university systems. As such, both Italian and US academics and administrators have been involved in creating and developing the course. Now preparing for its fifth edition, the course offering is held in Italy at the University of Urbino. The nature of the course requires that both content and didactics are generated and updated in the context of international communicative strategies. Teaching staff is largely Italian, provided by the University of Urbino. One of the courses in the programme is co-taught by a professor from the University of Urbino business programme and a professor from Villanova School of Business. The challenges of teaching US students in the Italian academic context prompted many deep and interesting conversations among teaching and administrative staff. While both American and Italian cultures are closely connected, the context in which this course is offered provides countless intercultural challenges.

As an academic with a North American and Anglophone background, a long-term resident of Italy, as well as scientific and didactic coordinator of the programme, I thought it might be useful to find a forum in which some of the aforementioned conversations could...

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