When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

eyes on the U.S.

The Amanda Knox Factor: U.S. Students Shy Away From Study Abroad In Italy After Perugia Murder Case

A new survey asks U.S. students about the high-profile case of the American convicted of murder in Perugia. A surprisingly high number say they consider Amanda Knox's fate when weighing whether to study abroad in Italy.

(Amanda Defense Fund)
(Amanda Defense Fund)
Francesco Semprini

Study in Italy? No grazie. Young Americans seem to have grown less attracted by the opportunity to spend a semester or two at an Italian university. And according to a new survey the Amanda Knox case is partly to blame.

Conducted by the Rome campus of Loyola University and the Italy-USA Foundation, the study "American Students' Thoughts on Italy" looked into overall attitudes of potential young visitors to Italy. But the poll also specifically tried to gauge the effect on prospective exchange students of the high-profile case of the Seattle native convicted for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher, while the two were part of a study abroad program in the Italian city of Perugia.

A sampling of 800 American students were asked if the Knox case would affect their decision of whether to study in Italy. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said that it wouldn't affect their choice at all, 13% thought it would, and 47% said that it would have some impact, but would not be a determining factor.

The case has been a blow to the image of foreign study in Italy, historically one of the preferred destinations for American university students, drawn by the country's lifestyle and cultural heritage. But ill will has apparently been spread by the December 2009 conviction of Knox for the murder committed two years earlier, for which her Italian boyfriend and fellow student Raffaele Sollecito and a Perugia resident, Rudy Guede, were also found guilty.

In the United States a so-called "Party of Amanda," has formed around the convicted co-ed, including family, friends, judges, politicians and businessmen who see her as a "victim" of the Italian judicial system and of a media lynching. Supporters have asked for the intervention of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and even Donald Trump has proposed a boycott of Italy until Knox is freed from jail.

The new study finds that attitudes about Italy have suffered because of the comments by Trump, who has recently indicated a desire to run for president in 2012. The billionaire's call for a boycott feeds negative attitudes about the U.S., as a place where "innocent Americans are persecuted," with 24% of respondents saying their view on Italy has been affected by the comments.

More generally, the study shows a recent overall decline in Italy's share of the US travel dollars. In 2007, Italy had a market share of 19.3% of all American tourism abroad; in 2009, it fell to 17.5%. The main reasons cited are neither Knox nor Trump, but the weak U.S. economy and strong euro. For those who have decided not to come to Italy for vacation or study abroad, the strength of the euro is given as the main reason (16%), with others citing the threat of terrorism in Europe (6%), and political instability (5%).

Read the original article in Italian

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ