Cape students hear about Dickinson College study abroad programs

December 1, 2017

Dickinson College Admissions Director Alan Paynter met with a small group of Cape Henlopen High School juniors and seniors Nov. 3 in the classroom of Italian language teacher Cristina Christy. Paynter's visit coincided with the high school's 4th Annual College Application Week event.

The statewide Getting to Zero initiative goal is for every student to graduate, college and career ready, with the freedom to choose his or her life's course. Each fall, Cape Henlopen High School works collaboratively with over 60 college and university admissions representatives who are invited to meet in person with Cape students to let them know what their universities offer.

For Christy, Paynter's visit was special for many reasons. She graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and both of her parents were professors there. Her father, the late K. Robert Nilsson, was the first director of a Dickinson overseas program. He was also the first to take a group of political science students to Bologna, Italy, in 1965. In 2000, Dickinson renamed its center in Bologna after Christy's father.

Following in her parents' footsteps, Christy took her first group of high school students to Italy in 2014. In April 2017, she and a student group traveled to Bologna to see the K. Robert Nilsson Center for European Studies and meet Dickinson students studying there during their junior year. Dickinson also has programs in Toulouse, France; Málaga, Spain, and approximately 25 other countries for virtually every major. At Christy's request, Paynter spoke about several of these programs.

"Every year, students write to me, expressing how much the exposure to another country, its language and culture impacted them in a positive way,” said Christy. She considers herself very fortunate to be able to teach Italian in a public school. Prior to coming to Cape, she had always found employment teaching the more popular Spanish and French, but her passion was always Italian.

For more information about ways to help send a student to Italy or in any way contribute toward Cape's Italian program, email