Bringing Italy to Cabrini

When learning a new language, who better to learn it from a native of that country? Born and raised in Abruzzo, a region of Central Italy, Tiziana Murray has been speaking Italian her entire life.  

Tiziana Murray has been teaching Italian at Cabrini since 2014. Photo by Sydney Lynch.

“Pescara, the city where I come from, is a medium size city,” Murray said. “I was born in my own house, lived there until I was 30-years old, surrounded by relatives and neighbors I had known all my life. I can say I belonged to the old-time world!” 

Murray was fascinated with the English language since childhood, dreaming of moving to Great Britain to pursue the language and begin a new life. After spending a year in cold and foggy Great Britain, she decided that is was not for her.

Murray moved to the United States in 1994, finding a new home in Minnesota. It was not until 2007 that Murray and her family moved to Philadelphia, Pa. 

“Moving to a foreign country as an adult had its positive and negative aspects,” Murray said. “The positive was that my identity was already set. I am an Italian living abroad. Being able to speak the language also allowed me to adjust quickly to the new environment and start my new life. The negative aspect was being so far away from my family.” 

After moving to the United States, Tiziana Murray began feeling homesick, missing the regularity of her Italian culture. 

“After six months living in the United States, my Italian was getting rusty and I felt disconnected from my own heritage,” Murray said. “When I was given the opportunity to teach Italian in a private language school, it was the beginning of a very exciting adventure that led me eventually to become an Italian professor.” 

Since 2014, Murray has been an Italian instructor at Cabrini University and values the opportunity of molding young minds to experience a new culture. 

“I enjoy teaching Italian so much that this has become my true hobby. I have been teaching children, adults, high school students since I came to the United States,” Murray said. “I created an Italian course for adults who want to travel to Italy, which gives them in only 10 weeks the confidence to face a foreign culture. Seeing them makes me feel like my purpose as a teacher has been fulfilled.” 

Vince Paetow, freshman business major, was inspired to learn Italian after taking a trip to Italy. 

“[Murray] is a really good professor,” Paetow said. “She’s very enthusiastic and makes you want to be in the class.”

Eric Soll, sophomore secondary education and math double major, chose to take Italian due to his family heritage. 

“My mom is Italian,” Stoll said. “Professor Murray has a lot of energy.” 

Tiziana Murray is very proud to teach a subject so close to her heart at Cabrini. 

“Cabrini allowed me to share my passion for the Italian language and culture. More importantly, the mission of Mother Cabrini resonates with my life,” said Murray. “Being an Italian immigrant myself, I understand the struggles of acclimatization, both physically and culturally, to a foreign land. Teaching to students of diverse background is an opportunity to build bridges and understanding and Cabrini offers me this great opportunity.” 

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