Generous contributions from key members of the Italian community also play an important role in the initiative, with the number of student prizes awarded in any one year depending on the donations received and the quantity and quality of the applications received.
Candidates submit a written application in English and Italian.
These are assessed by the StuditaliA Commitee, which consists of representatives from the Department of Education, the Italian Consulate, Dante Alighieri Brisbane, CO.AS.IT., ILC , Griffith University, and Com.It.Es. QLD & NT.
Shortlisted applicants undertake a telephone interview in English and Italian and are judged on their Italian language capabilities and suitability to represent Queensland as young ambassadors.
The top students are notified of their successful selection and preparations commence for their once in a lifetime opportunity.
Now in its 25th year, the prize provides winning students the opportunity to undertake a four-week immersion experience in Italy, which now includes a period of work experience to enhance their future career opportunities.
President of Com.It.Es. QLD & NT, Mariangela Stagnitti, said that last year, seven students were awarded prizes from 31 entrants.
“It was massive,” Stagnitti enthused.
She also said that students are being encouraged to “keep in touch” with the Italian network after their prize period is over, to ensure that career and networking opportunities are maintained in the long term.
Theodor Delaney, a StuditaliA Prize recipient said that he was “forever grateful for having been granted the StuditaliA Prize in 2016”.
“From the experience, my Italian language improved immensely and I gained valuable insight into day to day life in Italy,” Delaney added.
“I also met people whom I now consider some of my closest friends.
“StuditaliA was crucial in my decision to begin an Italian major at University, for which I am currently undertaking a semester exchange in Milan.
“The experience of StuditaliA has had a lasting effect on me, and I will think back to it fondly for the rest of my life.”
Carmela Iannarella-Ricci, 1995 StuditaliA Prize recipient, highlighted how the experience has had a lasting and intergenerational effect within her family.
“While it was a great honour to be awarded the StuditaliA prize, I also felt a great responsibility to continue to be an advocate of the Italian language and culture, a responsibility I still take very seriously,” Iannarella-Ricci said.
“I have influenced and instilled a love of the Italian language and culture in my son and it gives me a great sense of pride and joy to be able to share this with him.
“StuditaliA doesn’t really end; it lives on in the lives of the many people who have been fortunate to be part of that journey.”
The Queensland Department of Education and the Consulate of Italy in Brisbane have announced that the recipients of the 2019-20 StuditaliA Prize are:
Kaitlin Brownhill, All Hallows’ College
Niccolino Ciranni, Cairns School of Distance Education
Kelsey Frith, Brisbane State High School
George Griswold, Brisbane State High School
Sebastien Masel, Brisbane State High School
Claire McCormick, Stanthorpe State High School