Students leave states to study abroad
Updated: Apr 28
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Study Abroad office is once again allowing students to conduct part of their undergraduate degree overseas. This semester, there are currently 21 students abroad in a variety of countries, including Italy and England.
Students may decide where to go based on a variety of specific preferences such as their sense of adventure, whether they prefer a certain city, and more. Regardless, studying abroad is an opportunity to grow as an individual and allows you to expand your knowledge beyond your own culture. Maria Adkins, Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad, and avid traveler, agrees.
“I think studying abroad is extremely important to learn about new cultures, gain different perspectives, appreciate art and architecture, the history, learning a new language. It's invaluable. And I think most of our students would say it builds confidence, independence, and they learn a lot about other cultures and perspectives,” Adkins said.
For some students, studying abroad was always a dream. “I was very thankful that this was the first semester back that Lasell was allowing study abroad students,” junior journalism major Alexis Grant said. Grant is studying in Italy at the Florence University of the Arts.
“This was always something I knew I wanted to do coming into college and even all throughout high school…so it was pretty scary because I thought that I may not have this opportunity that was really important to me.”
Senior fashion merchandising major Faith Costa is also spending her semester abroad in Florence, her top choice. In addition to her Italian roots, she wanted to study in Florence because of its great history and culture and because it is a fashion hot spot.
“Italy is also one of the main fashion capitals in the world so I knew that studying abroad here would benefit me and my education of fashion,” Costa said.
Costa also talked about making friends and adjusting to living in a new country, saying “something that I love about Florence is that there are many schools which means there are many study abroad students. This makes it easy to make friends and share thoughts with others since we are all trying to navigate a new city.”
In addition to Grant and Costa, junior fashion design major Mekenzie Barbosa is also in Florence, enjoying her first time out of the country. “The food, culture, and overall experience is just breathtaking,” Barbosa said. “My favorite part of Florence would have to be dinner time! I have so much fun just enjoying the food and drinks with new friends.”
North of Grant, Costa, and Barbosa, Julia McNicol and Sydney Veilleux are at the London College of Fashion.
McNicol, a junior fashion media and marketing major, always dreamed of studying in London, hoping to widen her knowledge and skills.
“I am looking to have a better understanding of European culture to broaden what I can bring to the table in the industry once back in Boston,” McNicol said. “I am taking a full course load and putting everything into studying fashion while I am here so I can walk away a better student, and a better candidate for a future job in the industry.”
Students studying at London College of Fashion get to spend a semester in London, they also have the opportunity to study in Paris, a trip that both McNicol and Veilleux are looking forward to.
Despite the joys and excitement of being abroad, there is a lot to adjust to, including differences in classes. “At Lasell we do not do lecture based teaching so that took some time to get used to because no matter what class you step inside here, you will have a lecture. The most notable is our required classes…which are full lectures with 50 other students,” Veilleux said.
An additional difference is the length of classes, as both Costa and Barbosa noted classes run anywhere from two to three hours, compared to the 75-minute standard period at Lasell. They also noted the amount of class work is different, as Barbosa said a lot of her classes consist of a few quizzes and an exam.
When choosing classes, Grant decided to take electives outside her academic path. Most notably, Grant enrolled in a one-week intensive course when she arrived in Italy, traveling from Rome, and visiting small towns before arriving in Florence. She says this experience is less about boosting her resume and more about taking in the culture.
Studying abroad can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to engulf yourself in another country and its cultures over an extended period of time. Everyone shares different experiences, and initially, it can be scary to take that first step. However to help ease the stress, Adkins passed along her advice.
“When you’re in college, this is your opportunity to do something completely different, to maybe get out of your comfort zone, but also just have an incredible experience abroad. Maybe later in life you won’t get that opportunity, so now is your chance.”