REVIEW OF Canadian College Italy BY Alum, Gill German
- Date of Review
March 27, 2023
- Grades (year)
Gr. 11 (2001 - 2002)
- University (major)
Carleton University (Industrial Design)
Director of Brand Partnerships
(5) Overall Experience
My experience at Canadian College Italy shaped who I am today. The opportunities I was afforded during my time at CCI would not have happened if I didn't take the leap to attend. They shaped how I approach traveling, new jobs, and learning and speaking different languages. It has also given me the courage to pursue global career opportunities. I am so fortunate to have been given a safe space with supportive peers and teachers to reflect on and learn who I was at this pivotal life stage. I would send my children without a doubt and would hope that anyone with an opportunity to do so would make the same choice. This experience is unparalleled in helping young people grow to become empathetic, curious, and capable adults.
(5) School Leadership
The CCI Leadership and Admin team was committed above all else to the health, safety, and well-being of the students. The students had positive relationships with them overall and the nature of CCI was such that the students had lots of opportunities to connect with one of the many adults surrounding them. When issues arose, they were dealt with. I was at CCI on 9/11/2001, which was one of the biggest challenges the leadership team could have to deal with (leading an international school abroad with diplomatic kids) and they handled the situation effectively and as best as they could.
The education I received at CCI was world-class. Every core course and elective I could have wanted or needed for university admissions was offered, and the combination of in-class learning and learning in some of the historic sites themselves was unparalleled and something I will take with me always. The teachers had a good relationship with students and were incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects. They supported the students academically but also ensured the student's mental well-being as they were conscious that the students were often far away from home for the first time. My teachers at CCI had a big impact on my chosen career path and were hugely influential on who I am today. I'm so very grateful for the dedicated teaching staff at CCI.
The academic program at CCI was carefully thought through and designed to help the students get the most out of their time at CCI. The school had a strong Ontario high school curriculum and was geared toward helping the students get the requirements, life skills, and attitudes needed to succeed in post-secondary education and their careers. The students had an overall balanced approach to life at CCI, both making time to enjoy being in Italy as well as finishing assignments, school work, and homework needed to succeed in their courses. The student body did not seem competitive or cutthroat at all to me. I was given every opportunity to stretch my skills and experience and take on leadership opportunities at CCI. And having to be independent, away from my family, to manage my own efforts was perhaps the best preparation I could have had for my years ahead at university. Because of CCI, I was more prepared for university than my peers back at home.
CCI had plenty of extracurricular activities and opportunities to connect with the students outside of class. This was especially appreciated as it was a way to interact with students in other classes and grades. From sports programs, to ski trips, gym memberships, and other trips, there was never a shortage of things to do during my time at CCI.
The student body at CCI felt like a small connected community when I attended. I recall vividly that at the beginning some students struggled with homesickness and other students stepped up to connect with them by bonding over music, movies, books, and other things they had in common. Part of what was magical about CCI is how it brought different students together and they were forced to reflect on what mattered to them most and find their community of peers. This was an incredible opportunity as a young person and one that you wouldn't get unless you left comfortable surroundings to try something completely new. All of the students at CCI shared a curiosity for traveling and discovering Italy. This gave me a sense of appreciation for travel that I still have today.
(5) School Life
The quality of school life at CCI was exceptional. From the school buildings, dorms, and the "Allegria" where we ate - everything was accessible, welcoming and comfortable as students fell into a routine. Being in such a beautiful historic town certainly enriched my learning experience, and easy access to the surrounding farmland made it possible to access nature easily. I absolutely LOVED my time at CCI and knew that the majority of the students felt the same way. Of course, teenagers have challenges with family, relationships, school, etc but the CCI staff were always on hand to help the students navigate difficulties as best as possible. CCI was a welcoming community where I fit in immediately and learned who I was and wanted to become.
The broader CCI community is welcoming and encourages alumni to stay in touch. There have been reunions and recruitment events that I have attended over the years where I fell back into old relationships easily. Both my parents and I have kept up my relationships with some students and admin since my time at Canadian College Italy and I am certain any prospective student would find the same thing.
(5) School Location
CCI is located in beautiful Lanciano in Abruzzo. It is a stunning small town nestled in the hills off the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Students felt comfortable walking and exploring the small town and took trips to the beach on weekends. These experiences in a small town where many of the locals knew and looked out for the students were a safe space for young people to venture out on their own often for the first time.
While it has been several years, I recall the CCI admissions process being simple and straightforward. It was not unduly onerous or difficult for me at the time. I had opportunities to talk to school administration and current and past students so felt fully informed and excited about what I was signing up for.