The plaza in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, is constantly changing, from hosting an interactive art exhibit to the Christmas markets in November and December. In early October, the plaza is transformed into an international market. There are stands from all over the world with products traditional products from each country. (Photo provided by Cassandra Mueller)
Meet Kristen Durkin, a junior global communication and criminology and justice studies major, who spent her semester studying in Florence.
â€œI automatically thought this was a fantastic opportunity,â€ Durkin said. â€œBeing abroad and being able to really engage yourself in the culture is one of the best environments you can possibly put yourself in. Being in Florence was amazing in itself, but traveling all of over the continent to different areas of Italy, France, England, Germany, Poland and Ireland was by far the most exciting adventure I have ever partaken.â€
Durkin is one of 239 students who has enrolled with Kent Stateâ€™s Florence program this year. She is well-aware of the importance of studying abroad and recommends other students to study abroad in order to broaden their horizons.
â€œWhen studying abroad you learn a lot about yourself,â€ Durkin said. â€œTake advantage of the opportunity that is laid out in front of you.â€
So when a student takes a step even further to find a job or internship while abroad, that demonstrates a new level of ambition.
â€œIf an internship is available to you as a student, why not take the opportunity?â€ Durkin said. â€œBeing able to tell a future employer you were able to adapt, communicate and successfully complete an internship in a different country is a rare opportunity. You are able to complete a goal on a global scale.â€
She interned at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, a public, Italian higher education institution. Durkin applied after hearing about the opportunity from Elena Baracani, one of her Kent State professors.
View of the Duomo from the bedroom window of the student apartments in Florence, Italy.
â€œThere are over 15 American universities spread across the city, making it difficult to jump right in the Italian culture,â€ Durkin said. â€œThrough this internship, I was able to interact with young Italian people in conversation.â€
One of her duties included helping to publish articles composed from scholarly actors with a political science background through the Kent State University Press.
â€œYou give yourself the chance to grow as an individual and enhance your cultural awareness,â€ Durkin concluded. â€œStepping outside of the United States changes your perspective, opinions and stereotypes. It causes you to step outside of your comfort zone, becoming a more independent and mature adult.â€
Four short-term study abroad programs are available this summer in Florence. They are Art Education, Art History and Italian Culture, Sketch Book Analysis, and Museum Origins. The Design and Delivery of Study Abroad program is available in Italy and Ireland.
For more information about study abroad programs in Florence, visit www.kent.edu/educationabroad/florence. For more information about Kent Stateâ€™s study abroad programs, visit www.kent.edu/studyabroad.