Alumnus Giosuè Prezioso Helps Launch English Program at Rome Prison
Giosuè Prezioso earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from John Cabot University in 2015. After graduation, Giosuè was hired as an intern at the JCU Foreign Language Resource Center, and in September will start his Master of Science (MSc) in Art, Law and Business at Christie’s, the world’s leading Auction House.
What brought you to JCU?
John Cabot attracted me since I wanted to major in Art History and I am bilingual Italian-English. The Art History department faculty, JCU’s international character, and the Roman cultural framework promised an ideal scenario for my academic pursuits.
How did you become involved in the JCU Community Service Program?
I was impressed by the program, which offers many volunteering initiatives. Among these, a couple of years ago, I personally got interested in a teaching position at the CEIS (Italian Center for Solidarity, an association that offers a large array of services to the public such as treatment of drug abuse, mental health care, and family counseling, among others), where I helped young students with Italian and English. It was a highly formative experience, which I continued throughout the semesters.
Tell us about your experience teaching English at Regina Coeli, Rome’s historic prison.
After volunteering at CEIS as a teacher for a while, I contacted Regina Coeli and submitted my project: a 30-hour program to teach English. I started teaching the following week.
What was it like teaching inmates?
I never felt any difference with my previous teaching experiences. They were regular students to me, students who demonstrated high levels of enthusiasm and motivation. Their commitment was so high that I decided to ask the boss of another company I work for, Talketika, (a Spanish international language school), to issue certifications for free at the end of the course. The school accepted, and from that moment on, all the students prepared for the B2 (upper-intermediate level) exam. Each certification would normally cost 1,000 € so this was a big deal!
I also contacted a friend of mine, philanthropist and the Dean at the Film school of Cinecittà film studios, Prof. Raffaele Passerini, to ask him to hold a seminar in English intonation, reading and interpretation. This short workshop held by Prof. Passerini led us to a final performance held in English, where the audience was the whole community of prisoners, who supported their friends during the show. One of the managers of Talketika, Fabio Pasquali, was also present for the occasion. A commencement ceremony was arranged and we handed out all the certifications as well as two awards: “Best Performer” and “Best Student.”
What was most rewarding about this experience?
The fact that from a small class we were able to bring different worlds together. Spain, Italy and the U.S. -where Passerini had lived for eight years while teaching at the New York Film Academy – were united under a common goal. Not only do the students hold an international certification valid worldwide now, they also received compliments from the entire community and graduated with very satisfactory grades. Moreover, some Italian newspapers wrote about the news, and the Regina Coeli director, along with the staff, would like to repeat the project in the future.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered?
The biggest challenge was facing the frequent setbacks the students encountered throughout the semester. Personal, legal, and family issues affected the atmosphere of the class. On the other hand, the change I could see in their spirit and mood, and the pride of their families and the community made it an unforgettable experience. This was the greatest human and professional achievement of my short career.