Tracing Your Roots: History Senior Nick Ciniglio
Born in Rhode Island, USA, Nick Ciniglio is a senior History major with a passion for Italy and its culture. Currently in the process of obtaining his Italian citizenship, Nick is president of the JCU Fandom Club, and was previously a Resident Assistant (R.A.).
What brought you to JCU?
Basically, I was looking for a university where I could do three things: 1) study History and Italian; 2) study abroad in Italy; 3) not spend incredible amounts of money on tuition. JCU met all 3 criteria. Other than school though, I was also looking to obtain my Italian citizenship by blood, which is easier to do from within Italy. I was born in the U.S., but my great grandparents were originally from Carinola (near Caserta, in the south of Italy) and a small town in Sicily called Termini Imerese. At home, our Italian culture has been preserved, but speaking Italian was lost because my relatives came at the end of the 1800s/early 1900s at a time when assimilation was more important than keeping one’s roots. Therefore, I chose to come to Italy also as a way of rekindling my roots by re-learning the language and getting my citizenship through the part of my family from Carinola.
You have been an active member of the JCU community through involvement with clubs and working as an R.A. What have you learned from these experiences?
I’ve learned a lot about community involvement. In particular, as an RA I developed lasting skills in communication, organization, customer service, etc. I am currently the president of the Fandom Club, and occasionally participate in other club events. Working with clubs I have met a lot of like-minded people and have grown personally both from taking part in activities and also from managing things myself while on the board of a club.
As a History major, what are the practical sides of studying such a theoretical subject?
I think the most practical application is to learn more about the world in order to help improve it. I strongly believe that by studying history one can understand the successes and failures of the past, and help ensure a better future. Even studying the smallest details can influence the way we look at the world.
History is very relevant today because of all the ongoing political debates that are taking place. History can help mitigate and correct misinformation. In addition, history, since it is always coming to new conclusions and discoveries, contributes to a constantly changing world and actively updates our knowledge of the past. I would argue that the theoretical aspects of studying history are the most important because they challenge us to think more critically, from multiple viewpoints.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I would like to get a job working at John Cabot in order to help the school grow and improve. I would also like to enroll in a master’s program to continue my studies in history, especially the topic of religions and arcane beliefs/practices. I am also trying to write a historically-influenced fantasy series, but have put it off till I graduate and can dedicate time to work on it.
What advice would you give to incoming JCU students?
I love the local atmosphere at JCU in which students and staff/faculty can interact in a less formal manner, as opposed to a large American university in which students are essentially just a number. It makes the university function so much better because everyone is much more approachable. I would advise new students to expect some culture shock and to familiarize themselves with the Italian language and culture before arrival, in order to best settle in. Additionally, I would urge them to look into courses and majors/minors so that they can more effectively work with their advisors and have a better academic experience.