Undergraduate institution: Villanova University
Undergraduate major and minor: Double major in Italian languages and literature and criminology double major
What have you been up to since attending Umbra?
Since 2012, I have returned to the USA to finish my undergraduate studies at Villanova, earning my BA in 2013. Upon graduation, I immediately returned to Italy to work as a security intern for the US Department of State at the US Consulate General in Naples, Italy, working to ensure the security of Italians and Americans alike, while promoting common interests and supporting the US overall mission to Italy. Since then, I returned to the US and pursued a career with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida where I worked for three years, as I had a passion to pursue a long-term career with a well-known Fortune 500 company, such as Disney. While now, in 2018, my path has shifted, and I have relocated back to my true home in New York City. I still feel connected with my friends, colleagues, and mentors with the Walt Disney Company – a place I know I can look to and return for a future opportunity. As far as what I am up to most recently, I have purchased my first home in Westchester County, NY and am pursuing a career within the diplomatic arena, working for the United Kingdom’s Mission to the United States at the British Consulate General, supporting Trade and Investment Promotion between UK and US business. I have been working in this field for about two years and am eager to see what is next in store for me!
Has studying abroad impacted your life (both personally and professionally)? If so, how?
It is impossible to fully express the value and overall significance of studying abroad, let alone the insurmountable experiences in Perugia, Italy, both through their support at Umbra directly, as well as via my studies at the Università per Stranieri, and the challenging immersive program directly at the Università degli Studi di Perugia.
Personally, I have grown and stepped out of my comfort zone in a variety of arenas directly as a result of studying abroad, especially remembering the Aperitivo chats that Umbra coordinated to connect American and Italian students alike. This was an incredibly rewarding and memorable piece of my life that has positively impacted my personal and professional endeavors, as it encourages us to communicate across cultural, language, educational, and a variety of other differences to foster lasting friendships.
Without a doubt the experience of having studied abroad has broadened my horizons beyond that of my typical day-to-day, opening my eyes up to a wider global community and increasing my curiosity about the world and our communities. I am proud to say that Umbra has significantly contributed to my growth as a person who is deeply connected with his Italian roots, as well as constantly hungry to learn more about any aspect of the Italian culture.
Looking professionally, I would say that my abilities to communicate in a professional environment both in fluent English and Italian has been challenged throughout my experiences at Umbra, UNIPG, and extracurricular activities while in Perugia, and Italy overall. I am pleased with the confidence I now have knowing that my immersive language and cultural experience from the direct enrollment program has pushed me to my limits as a young professional.
Have your courses at Umbra helped you prepare for your future? If so, how?
I would certainly say so, yes. See comments above and in addition, I would like to highlight the opportunity given to me to assist in tutoring Italian to other American students in my program, due to my expertise in the language. I was able to use the Umbra community to expand my abilities as a tutor myself, as well as preparing me for a post-graduate life in the professional world.
Are you still in touch with the friends you made in Perugia?
I regrettably have lost touch with most, if not all, of my connections I made in Perugia six years ago. Fortunately enough, I had the privilege of fostering a close-knit group of Italian and American friends alike while in Perugia in 2012.
In today’s day and age, we are all connected digitally I suppose, so it is easier than ever to rekindle friendships, but naturally, we all go our own routes and take individual paths that may not necessarily allow consistent communication and maintaining as strong as a relationship as we would like.
What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective students thinking of studying abroad?
Do it. Pack up and go. No excuses! Connect with alumni and do not be afraid to ask questions, even if you do not study at Umbra, in Perugia, or even in Italy- spend a semester or more outside the USA.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students studying abroad (during or after their experience)?
Do not let it pass you by. Enjoy every waking minute, every sip of wine, every midnight “bombolone” after a night out, and truly take advantage of everything that is at your fingertips- travel, speak the native language, force yourself to be challenged, and remember that everyone else is in the same boat as you!