Brenna Lyon is a senior who is pursuing a dual degree in Biology and Italian with a minor in Medical Humanities.
What inspired you to study Italian at OU?
I decided to study Italian because when I started college I was pre-med and knew Spanish would probably be helpful going down that route, but I wanted to do something different. I though Italian was similar to Spanish so I just went for it, and it was one of the best choices I think I’ve made. I had no plans to do anything more than the mandatory three semesters required, but once I reached the end of what was going to be my last semester I legitimately became sad at the thought that I wouldn’t have any more Italian classes. I then decided to make Italian a minor and continued with my Italian classes which were easily my favorite classes. I studied abroad in Arezzo the fall semester of my Junior year and I was going to finish my minor after one or two more classes. Again, I felt sad when I thought about not taking more Italian classes. It was in Arezzo that I realized, you know, maybe this means something. So I changed my minor to a major. I’ve always wanted to become fluent in another language and somewhere along the path towards that I ended up falling in love with Italian.
What aspect(s) of Italian culture are you most excited to explore?
I have been listening to music from other countries for as long as I can remember and I absolutely love movies, so those are two aspects that I have already begun to explore but am excited to dig into deeper. What I never thought I would be interested in, though, is Italian architecture and the little details that can be found within and on the buildings in Italy. When I was in Arezzo, I got bored of the buildings. They’re flat with no texture and a lot of them are the same color. BUT, I started to notice the doors and the door handles. They’re all different and amazingly designed. I found myself just staring at doors as I walked past them and it was something that I didn’t expect at all. Other than doors, though, the duomos and statues that are found throughout the country are absolutely beautiful and have a lot of history behind them and I’m excited to learn more about that.
What would you tell a student who is thinking about studying Italian at OU but who may be on the fence?
Do it! It’s a really fun language and if you’re already thinking about it why not just go for it and be a little different than those around you? OU’s program in Arezzo is pretty well known, and I 100% encourage you to do that or study at Bologna, and it’s a great opportunity to be able to get out of the country and explore the world some. I went with a basic knowledge of Italian and I believe that made me have a deeper appreciation for where I was and what was happening around me. Also, being a student and knowing that we’re concerned about if professors are good or not, I’ve taken courses with almost all of them and they’re honestly amazing, so if that’s an aspect that concerns you don’t even worry about it.
What are your goals and plans for the future?
That’s a really good question. Until the beginning of my Senior year I thought I wanted to become a physician and thought about doing something like Doctors Without Borders. Then at the beginning of my second semester of my Senior year I began to think about veterinary school. I haven’t really figured out what it is exactly that I want to do with my life, but I do know that whatever happens I want to be able to continue with my proficiency in Italian, use it, and return to Italy many more times.