Taking Advantage of Study Abroad Opportunities

Kent State University provides its students with numerous study abroad opportunities to further their college careers and gain multicultural experience. The university’s program in Florence, Italy, is one of the most popular programs, offering inspiring personal, school and work experiences.

Meet Kristen Durkin, a junior global communication and criminology and justice studies major, who spent her semester studying in Florence.

“I automatically thought this was a fantastic opportunity,” Durkin said. “Being 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.”

Durkin is one of 239 students who has enrolled with Kent State’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. 

“When studying abroad you learn a lot about yourself,” Durkin said. “Take advantage of the opportunity that is laid out in front of you.”

So when a student takes a step even further to find a job or internship while abroad, that demonstrates a new level of ambition.

“If an internship is available to you as a student, why not take the opportunity?” Durkin said. “Being 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.”

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.

“There are over 15 American universities spread across the city, making it difficult to jump right in the Italian culture,” Durkin said. “Through this internship, I was able to interact with young Italian people in conversation.”

One of her duties included helping to publish articles composed from scholarly actors with a political science background through the Kent State University Press.

“You give yourself the chance to grow as an individual and enhance your cultural awareness,” Durkin concluded. “Stepping 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.”

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 State’s study abroad programs, visit www.kent.edu/studyabroad.

POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, April 27, 2015 - 3:52pm
Ryan Collins and Taylor Titus