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ACC students, guests enjoy ‘An Afternoon in Italy’

News Photos by Alyssa Ochss People gather and eat Italian food in the Commons of The Besser Technical Center at Alpena Community College during The Language Society’s “An Afternoon in Italy.” Michael Tipton and James Newman serve guests coming up to the table.

ALPENA — Community members and students took a quick trip to Italy on Thursday afternoon.

Alpena Community College’s Language Society on Thursday hosted “An Afternoon in Italy,” a fundraising event for their next trip to Europe in 2023. Students served Italian food and soda while Italian music played in the background as well as a slideshow showing places in Italy.

Mancino’s provided the dough for the event and Jimmy John’s provided the bread for the bruschetta.

Karol Walchak, an English/speech professor at Alpena Community College and leader of The Language Society, said the students did everything by themselves for the event. They made the pizzas, garlic knots, and cinnamon knots.

“What we try to do is every two years we get a new group of students,” Walchak said. “So this is our newest group, some of them left over from last year. We’re planning on a trip for 2023 to go to Europe and this is one of our fundraisers.”

Michael Tipton, left, and James Newman, right, pose for a photo at The Language Society event on Thursday.

Walchak said every semester they host events like the one held on Thursday to help spread cultural awareness.

“And what we try to do every semester is just raise cultural awareness by throwing events like this for example, ‘An Afternoon in Italy,'” she said. “We’ve done Poland, Germany, Japan. So next time around I think we’re doing Brazil.”

Walchak said they’ve taken the full two years to plan the trip because of the cost.

“Five thousand dollars for a college student is just a lot of money,” Walchak said. “So I apply for what grants are available and students write papers and get scholarship money and we do stuff like this and collect bottles.”

The trip consists of an itinerary that includes several different countries including France, Germany, England, and Italy.

The students, some who have been in the Language Society for only a couple of months, are excited to get out of the country and experience different cultures.

Michael Tipton has been a part of the Language Society since February and said this was his first fundraiser for the group.

“Oh, I’m so excited,” Tipton said. “It seems to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully we raise enough money and get the right donations and I think there’s some scholarships or grants that we can apply for. It’s just going to be extremely affordable.”

He said the trip would be something they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. He’s excited to go to London and see Big Ben.

James Newman said he’s still relatively new to the Language Society as well and he is also hoping to go on the trip.

“I’m really excited, we have one stop we’re supposed to do in Turkey, and I love Turkish culture,” Newman said. “So I’m pretty excited to see what Turkey’s like.”

He also said that it’s cool that the Language Society gives college students, who might not get an opportunity to travel due to budgets, a chance to see the world.

Leo Maiolo, the recorder for The Language Society, joined in October and is excited for the opportunity to travel abroad.

“I’m excited to be overseas,” Maiolo said. “I’ve never been to Europe and it’s on my bucket list to go to Europe. Even just overseas, get out of the United States or the Americas, because I’ve been to Canada.”

Maiolo also said that traveling is one of his passions and when he heard about it he jumped right in. He said that he originally was already taking notes before The Language Society asked him to be the official recorder.

Kai Cunha has been a part of The Language Society for a month. She said new experiences were what initially drew her to The Language Society.

“English is my second language, so coming here to the United States is a totally different kind of experience and The Language Society brings that new whole experience of new cultures and how everything is,” said Cunha, who is from Brazil. “I feel like the most important thing is getting to open yourself to embrace the kind of cultures. So that’s what attracted me to The Language Society.”

She said having the opportunity to experience everything, including travel and learning about different cultures is exciting. She is trying to make the most of it while she’s young.

A lot of the students said The Language Society is a fun group of people and they’re very friendly and welcoming. They are currently recruiting people into the group. Their next meeting is at 2 p.m. on April 21 at Alpena Community College in NRC 210. That meeting will focus on the 2023 summer trip to Europe.

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