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Students Reflect on Studying at Satellite Campus in Italy

Study Abroad
Prato Italy - Study Abroad

For Jenna Henning '15, one of the most rewarding experiences she has had while studying last spring at UNH's satellite campus in Prato actually came when she had to purchase cold medicine at a local pharmacy.

"It is easy to walk into a pharmacy in the U.S., search for what you're looking for and find it with no problem or even ask for help from someone who speaks the same language," said Henning, a double major in criminal justice and psychology.

"In Prato, the woman in the local pharmacy didn’t speak English, but with the Italian that I know, I was able to communicate with her. I walked out of the pharmacy proud of myself for being able to get what I needed."

An encounter such as this was exactly why Henning wanted to study in Prato.

"Prato is not a touristy town, which I think is perfect," she said. "I left the U.S. for a reason, which was to live in a completely different country that has a completely different way of life. I feel like I'm getting everything out of what I should be experiencing – the way real Italians live."

Classmate Emily Deane '14 said the past couple months have been a whirlwind of new experiences. "The idea of living in a new and foreign country was extremely exciting to me," she said. "Stepping outside of my comfort zone forced me to grow as a person."

Deane, a graphic design and marketing double major, concedes that some anxiety set in during the plane ride. Those nerves subsided soon after arriving. "With the help of the great staff and my new friends, my uneasiness quickly disappeared," she said.

To fully immerse themselves in the culture, Victor Markiw, a lecturer who is teaching music classes at the Prato campus this semester, requires students to attend concerts and operas, dine at the local eateries, visit nearby cities and towns and even play soccer with local students.

"The true impact of the students’ experiences in Prato will be sustained and manifested in the years to come by the students who seize the opportunity." - Victor Markiw

"The students have impressed me with their thirst for adventure and their openness to a new environment," added Rachel Torello, a lecturer who is teaching psychology classes. "Each day I hear about new things they have done and place they have visited."

Carmine Delli Gatti '14, a marketing major, had visited Italy twice before. But this was his first opportunity to spend extended time living in the country where his father was born. "I feel like I have grown so much from this experience," he said. "I also think it will give me an advantage when it comes to my career because I have learned how people in another country market their products."

Prato Italy - Study Abroad

Rachel Aylward '14, a double major in music industry and marketing, said she always wanted to study abroad but didn't think she would be able to fit it into her schedule. When she learned that the focus this spring would be on music and psychology courses, she jumped at the opportunity.

"The experience has helped me become much more independent," she said. "I am more comfortable being on my own than I ever thought I would be, which is an extremely empowering feeling. I've learned to be less afraid of putting myself out there, and I am more likely to take risks and work endlessly to get where I want."

This story was originally posted in Summer 2013. Click Here To Learn More About the University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus

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