activities & initiatives with Students from the University of Siena (UNISI) 



Foreign Language

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OUA students have the chance to interact with foreign language students and make new friends!

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Each semester, two students enrolled full-time at UNISI have the opportunity to live at OUA's Kathleen and Francis Rooney Family Residential Learning Center with OUA students who quickly become new friends!

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UNISI Interns
Summer Assistants

Every semester and summer, OUA hires UNISI language students to help out with special projects, engage with OUA students and organize activities.

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Each semester OUA and UNISI students are mixed into teams. All team members have to use their "Master Chef" skills and collaborate in creating the best and most creative pizza!

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A great opportunity for OUA students to practice Italian with a local person. A perfect way to meet people for mutual language practice.


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Pizza Cook-Off Fall 2021

Friday 22nd, in the RFC, took place the long-awaited event: Pizza Cook-OFF!

Many UNISI students came to meet the American students of #FALL2021, a chance to become friends with those from different countries! This also gave them a chance to see the monastery, where the OUA students live and study - along with making and enjoying some pizza!

Our OUA students tried to make the most creative and meaningful pizza by teaming up with the UNISI students and OUA interns, who were so relieved to see no one wanted to put pineapple on it!

Silvia, one of the members of the winning team, says: “In our group, we were from Italy, Spain and United States, from there the idea for our pizza came almost naturally: we wanted a pizza that could represent our nations, so we divided the pizza into three parts, and each part represented the flag of our countries. The key for the presentation of our pizza was the name: by joining the initials of our countries came out USI and from there the slogan of our pizza ‘U See… what a wonderful pizza!’

What else? This year Pizza Cook-OFF has met expectations again! (swipe to find out the ideas that came to students’ minds this time!)


2021 UNISI Summer Assistants
By Liliana Macias - July 8, 2021

Every semester, OU in Arezzo has the incredible opportunity to expand its students' cultural understanding and immersion by investing in students from the local university, the Università degli Studi di Siena ad Arezzo. One of the fundamental factors that OU students are able to participate in while studying abroad is becoming more globally aware and engaging in various cultural experiences that enhance their perspective of the world. A critical way to go through this is by interacting with other local students who experience similar obstacles during the college process. 

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During the summer, OUA has several hundred students passing through the Rooney Family Center as they participate in various summer programs through OU. As a way to stimulate cultural interaction and provide some support to OUA staff, the Università degli Studi di Siena (UNISI) offers an internship opportunity to some of its Language students here in Arezzo. This allows the UNISI students and OU students to engage in cross-cultural interaction while also presenting an opportunity to establish life-long friendships. OUA and UNISI are able to work together and provide a credit-bearing internship for the UNISI students while offering some extra support at the Rooney Family Center for OUA staff. For example, the UNISI interns can interact with OU students as they ask for support in navigating Arezzo, learning how to make reservations, or even planning (and going on with!) trips outside of Arezzo to learn a little more about Italy's regional differences.

This summer, OUA has had the privilege of welcoming four incredible interns: Adina, Rosanna, Samantha, and Xhuljana. Rosanna says, “It’s a cultural fusion that has enriched me, because I have had the opportunity to interact with people that have different cultures and ways of thinking, speaking, and doing things and I think that in today's globalized world it's fundamental!” 

Each of the interns’ efforts have made a significant impact on the lives of the Gaylord and Intern students thus far, and we cannot wait to see how their interactions with the Journey to Italy students will go in July. 


Fabiana Grasso

UNISI Intern Fall 2020 

I have to say I didn’t expect to enjoy my internship this much and I have to thank the OUA team for this. Working with them is giving me a lot, both in terms of the working skills that I’m acquiring (a lot - lol), and on a human level, especially in a period like the one we are living in right now. The way we as interns have the chance to express our creativity, develop projects and propose new ones, is probably the most fulfilling aspect of this opportunity I have been lucky enough to experience. 

In November 2020 Fabiana was instrumental in the OUA social media virtual show to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. See the first show-case of that day here.  


Asley Arzù

2017 - 2019 Living Experience and Summer Assistant 

I worked at OUA as a Summer Assistant for three years in a row and I must say it was one of those experiences that changes your life forever. Being in constant contact with students and learning from them while working was extremely enriching. As Summer Assistants we are always there for the students, we help them understand the Italian culture and language; we are mediators from Italian to American culture; we take students on tours of Arezzo, to the Saturday market and to many more fun events. I will never forget my experience at OUA because not only did it change me as a person, it gave me incredible memories that I created as an SA.

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Javier Chavez Camargo

Language Tandem Fall 2019

I loved the family I met during my time in Arezzo. In addition to the nice cultural experience, and the great food, Stefano and his family became my good friends and we stayed in touch after my semester abroad was over. 

Meeting local Italian students helped me connect with Italian culture from a perspective very similar to mine. I had lots of fun during all events we had with them, and the friends I made. I loved the music recommendations I got from them.

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Christian Santeramo

Pizza Cook-Off Fall 2019

It’s an outstanding experience everybody should get the chance to live! I was lucky enough to enjoy it from two different perspectives. The first was as a “MasterchOUf," being free to set culinary creativity loose, and the latter as a member of the jury. Thus, I can say doubly it’s an experience that can’t be missed, and if you’re wondering why, here are the two most important reasons that pushed me in the first place: firstly, you can go beyond cultural boundaries and make lots of friends; secondly, you get to eat pizza in the company of other people. And if pizza doesn’t appeal to you, I don’t know what could!

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UNISI Intern SPRING 2021

During my three years at UNISI I have always participated in the University of Oklahoma’s activities.

I fondly remember every event, so when I had to choose where to apply for my internship, I decided immediately to try at OUA. In this work environment you never feel like you’re doing things wrong because it’s a team effort and each idea we come up with is accepted and completed together.

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Alexia Chiriac

UNISI Intern FALL 2020

OUA has given me a lot: First of all, a best friend, and now the opportunity to gain experience in my area of study. The internship at OUA is a world apart because of the dynamic nature of the work. There are many projects and ideas to be completed that allow me to use my creativity. People here will never say “no” if you have something in mind.

Love y’all!


Francesco Neri

Summer Assistant 2017 - 2019

Working as a Summer Assistant has been one of the most valuable experiences for my personal growth, and it was a lot of fun, too! Taking American students on day-trips, guided tours and events in the places where I grew up was my favorite thing to do. It enabled me to give them my unique perspective as a local, but also learn a lot from their thoughts as visitors.

My time as a Summer Assistant was also crucial to my professional development: It allowed me to discover local businesses, companies, and organizations that I didn't know before, even though I've lived in Arezzo my whole life! I constantly met people with all kinds of backgrounds and this helped me find my way in the professional environment.

I miss OUA a lot, because I had the chance to work with some of the best colleagues and superiors I've ever had. I highly recommend it!

Franceso also studied in Norman for one semester and now works for a company in Arezzo that teaches English to clients. 

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Francesca Maddii

Living Experience Spring 2020

Imagine getting the opportunity to make friends with people from the other side of the world, having loads of fun activities planned, an amazing staff ready to help you with everything you need, and a modern building where they can do this all together everyday! This is what I got to experience at the Rooney Family Center as one of two UNISI students, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Francesca also studied in Norman for one semester! 

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Chiara Tavernese

Pizza Cook-Off Fall 2019

Being part of the jury during the “Pizza Cook Off” event, was one of the best experiences of my internship and my entire college career so far. 


The chance OUA gave me, made me feel responsible and appreciated: My opinion mattered, even if it concerned some kind of strange combinations of pizzas tastes. My opinion could make a team happy and victorious. I loved watching students from different parts of the world laughing together, stepping outside of their comfort zones, and cooperating to achieve victory. Little did they know, that kind of teamwork was the real prize. And I’m so glad and proud to have witnessed it.