A group of 27 hair and esthetics students from Tuscany arrived in Chicago on Sept. 23, to attend a special selection of courses at Tricoci University until Oct.4. The trip was designed to give students and educators an opportunity to experience and learn different techniques from the creativity of Mario Tricoci as well as the American culture.

As a proud Italian blogger, I could not miss the chance to meet with them and ask about the program’s details. I visited Tricoci University Campus located on 6458 North Sheridan Road, Chicago and watched the students at work in one of their classes.

Jen McGann, director of education for cosmetology at Tricoci University, explained to me the details of the program.

“Mario Tricoci has a great relationship with the Accademia i Santini in Italy and we started last year a cultural exchange,” she said. “We sent a couple of our students there and they sent two people here so they all could have a different perspective.” This year the opportunity involved 27 hair and esthetic students, plus teachers and educators. Tricoci University set up classes between the beauty school and the salon to share their philosophies on teaching. Educators demonstrated various hair cuts, updos and coloring techniques they teach their students in the U.S.

“They are getting the experience of how it is to learn here in the U.S.,” she said. “There may be a little bit of a language barrier, but when they are watching something visually, they can really see it and understand it. They are loving it!”

Chief Executive Officer at Tricoci University Brian Weed said it was a great cultural exchange and an occasion to share professionalism between the two schools.

Feedback from the students was very positive. They expressed their excitement for this great opportunity:

Student Francesco Fiorentino, 23, said he enjoyed the classes and demonstrations and said the American method is very different from the Italian one.

“Here in the U.S. the lessons are very practical and we really appreciated that the teachers translated some of the techniques,” he said. “Having classes in English was not a problem though. They gave us great hospitality!”

Mario Tricoci said this initiative was a great exchange opportunity for both the students and the educators.

“It was an opportunity to extend the knowledge that I learned through my experience and through my mentors. I wanted to give that to the next generation of hairdressers in order to be extremely professional. This industry truly deserves to be regarded as equally professional as others,” he said.

Director of Accademia i Santini Luciano Santini said this opportunity gave students an amazing range of knowledge and he felt proud to collaborate with one of the biggest icons of the hair industry Mario Tricoci.

“This project has an important role for our students’ professionalism,” he said. “We will definitely keep promoting these kind of initiatives.”

For more information, visit tricociuniversity.com and isantini.it.