This fall marked the return of the university’s study abroad program, with students traveling to a variety of locations to complete their studies. The majority of students who studied abroad attended Florence University of the Arts in Italy, and recently returned home for the spring semester.
Senior journalism major Alexis Grant attended Florence University of the Arts & International School of Hospitality (SAI) through Lasell. Maria Adkins, Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad, as well as the SAI program were helpful during the pre-study abroad process. “They did a really great job of giving us all of the pre-departure information we needed,” said Grant. “They set us up to work on our student visas and we got our class schedules pretty early so I felt like it went very smoothly.”
Grant says there were many differences between her classes at Lasell and the classes she took studying abroad. “At Lasell, I feel like I get more day-to-day homework whereas at Florence University of the Arts, I didn't get as much day-to-day homework, but the midterm and the final there were a lot of weight,” said Grant.
Senior fashion merchandising major Faith Costa always knew she wanted to study abroad. “It was something that I always dreamt about as a little girl. When I thought of college, I always thought of studying abroad,” said Costa. “I mean, my family is from Europe, and I had never been, so it was just a cool way to get to experience the culture there while also studying as well.”
Costa took a retail and sales strategies course while in Italy and had the opportunity to learn about local businesses through the eyes of an Italian. “The professor was super knowledgeable in the field, and she was a local Italian… She would take us to a lot of local businesses,” said Costa. “It was just cool to learn the things that I would have learned here, but from an Italian perspective, especially learning from a local and someone who has been immersed in the industry. It was really eye opening to have her as a professor.”
Costa went abroad with her friends, senior fashion retail merchandising major Jacqueline Minasian and senior fashion merchandising major Reagan Cola. Cola says being with her friends pushed her to travel throughout Europe during her time abroad. “It just made it easier to explore and travel because we were all on the same page,” says Cola. “We all wanted to go to the same cities and try the same foods, and so we're able to branch out and test the waters that way.”
Students who went abroad say it has been difficult to readjust to their lives at Lasell. Minasian says she enjoys her on-campus activities but misses the Italian lifestyle she had grown accustomed to. “It’s definitely been a hard adjustment,” says Minasian. “I love Lasell and all the clubs that I’m a part of and how involved I am with the fashion school, but I truly miss being in Europe. Being surrounded by all the happiness and carefree lifestyle, as well as living in the city.”
Though Minasian misses Italy, she feels as though she accomplished what she set out to achieve when she decided to study abroad. “I feel like we really did check everything off, we made such great friends there with the locals,” said Minasian. “I would obviously love to go back and experience it in a different light. If I go with a significant other or with my family, it's going to be a completely different experience. I feel like I'm going to be teaching people, so I feel like I definitely gained a really good sense of confidence there.”
Cola says studying abroad gave her a new outlook on her life at Lasell. “It definitely taught me to slow down and as they say, stop and smell the roses,” says Cola. “I think it taught me that it's okay to take a break because breaks are needed.”