Aviation Major Makes Dreams a Reality in Florence, Italy

As a little girl, Madeline Goussios dreamed of studying abroad in Europe. Teenage Madeline, however, decided becoming a pilot was her future. Somehow, fulfilling those two wishes didn’t seem possible to her… until she picked Kent State. “When I found out about Florence and the aviation classes, my childhood dreams came flooding back,” she explains. “It was always important to me to see how other people live their lives and explore the history that has shaped our present time to gain a greater perspective of the world.”

Her time in Italy brought everything together again, but with a new outlook: “It is a required part of a pilot career to be traveling potentially around the world, and to interact with many different people, which this study abroad experience has provided my first look.” Now that Madeline knows she enjoys the lifestyle, traveling internationally as a pilot is something she is considering for her future. 

During the Florence Summer Institute, Madeline was able to keep learning about aviation in a new environment and be immersed in Italian culture. While being away from the airport and missing hours of flying for a month was stressful at first, she says it was all worth it for a life-changing experience that has made her a better and more knowledgeable pilot. “There were many times that both classes took field trips to bring what was mentioned in the lecture to reality. I felt that we all learned so much valuable aviation information about safety and security in a way that I will be able to carry for the rest of my career and schooling,” Madeline explains.

“My favorite aspect about Safety Theory was having a class project where my peers and I walked around the streets of Florence and identified possible safety issues. It combined assessing safety and the culture experience together to learn something completely new,” she shares, going into more detail about her classes. “My favorite aspect about Aviation Security and Policy was taking a trip to the Florence Airport to assess the security that was taking place. I saw the airport I arrived at in a completely different light and will continue to take what I learned there into our local airports.”

From eating panini at All’Antico Vinaio to walking around the Boboli Gardens to meeting people from all around the world, Madeline describes her time in Florence as the best decision she’s ever made for her career. It also led her to develop a new view of life and work. “It helped me see that there is more than one way to live and enjoy life and what we do professionally,” she explains, advising future study abroad students to take the leap.

Interested in having an experience like Madeline's? Learn more about the Florence Summer Institute!

Madeline with the Ponte Vecchio behind her.
POSTED: Monday, October 9, 2023 02:19 PM
Updated: Friday, December 8, 2023 03:07 PM