In addition to providing an authentic Italian experience, the University’s campus in Prato, Italy, enables students to immerse themselves in one of the most multicultural centers in all of Europe.
Prato’s migrant population, said Murphy, also offers students a unique view into the struggles of mass immigration and integration, which can cause social issues. The city has become a case study for the implementation of a number of initiatives aimed at better integrating diverse races and cultures.
Recently, the leaders of the Tuscany campus, who hail from around the globe, hosted a conference titled “Migrant Prato: Proposals for Social Cohesion” that brought together academic scholars and community leaders, including the deputy mayor of Prato. Professor Laura DiPofi spoke about migrant literature and professor Piero Ianniello reflected on the meaning of “Italian-ness.”
Also attending the conference was Betty Liu ’16. She spent two semesters in Prato, which is home to one to one of the largest Chinese communities in Europe, and said her experiences there sparked her interest in studying Chinese immigration. “My time in Prato brought me into contact with really interesting research topics in criminology, especially topics concerning Chinese migration,” said Liu, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.
“As a Chinese immigrant, I am passionate about this issue,” Liu continued.“Being able to get a global perspective in my undergraduate studies enabled me to develop relevant research questions that I can explore in graduate school. Also, it is always very special to know you have a social and academic support network in Italy that you can ‘come home’ to whenever you need to.”