Italian professionals tour Natchez as part of exchange program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

NATCHEZ — Five special guests came a long way to speak to the Natchez Rotary Club.

Through the Rotary Group Study Exchange program, five young Italian professionals have spent the past three weeks visiting and touring central Mississippi.

On Wednesday, the group talked to local Rotarians about their professions and lifestyles in northern Italy.

Franco Docchio, team leader, said one of the purposes of the Group Study Exchange program is to allow the young professionals a chance to experience new places and people.

The group included Simone Stancari, Serena Giuliano, Alessandro Copeta and Simona Gentilini.

In May, five young professionals between 25 and 40 from central Mississippi will visit Italy.

Stancari, who is an architectural engineer and works with energy conservation efforts in Italy, said in addition to touring professional and business sites, the group enjoyed seeing local cultural sites. In Natchez, Stancari said he was pleasantly surprised at the difference in landscape.

“Here, there are more houses on hills and elevated,” he said. “The architecture of the houses is diverse and unique which is interesting.”

The group arrived in Mississippi on April 3 and will conclude their trip on May 1. They have been in Natchez since Monday and will leave today.

The group will be a part of the district Rotary conference, which begins this weekend on a cruise in the Gulf of Mexico.

Stancari said the trip provides an opportunity for young professionals to see how their career field is used in other places.

“I saw how the hospital facilities in a different city designed the facility to reduce energy usage,” he said. “This trip has been a good professional experience.”

Copeta, a mechanical engineer, echoed Stancari and said the trip has allowed him the opportunity to make professional contacts with individuals he would not have met otherwise.

He said while touring the Mississippi State University campus in Starkville he was interested in the research of mechanical engineers at the school.

“Being an engineer, it was interesting to see the work of other engineers,” he said.

“I made contacts with people that I may be able to work with in the future.”

Giuliano, a biologist, said the month-long trip was a chance to broaden her horizons professional, but also culturally.

“This is an time to reach out and experience and learn about different cultures,” she said.