Florence Global Ambassadors

Name: Jessica Schneider ’18

Hometown: Amesbury, MA

Major: Economics

Visiting school: Gettysburg College

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? While studying abroad, especially if you are living with a host family, you become part of the city rather than just a tourist in someone else’s city. Over the course of three and a half months, you will learn the customs and traditions of your abroad family and city and come to understand what differentiates and connects American culture with that of countries all over the world. During my time abroad, I got a second family and realized how innately similar family dynamics are regardless of race and culture. As my host mother, Olivia, would say, “There are guests, and there are daughters,” and by the time December quickly approached, I felt like another daughter in my Italian family.

Contact: schnje02@gettysburg.edu

emilywashburnName: Emily Washburn ’18

Hometown: Syracuse, NY

Major: Advertising

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The most valuable part of my abroad experience, aside from my host family, was my volunteer work. The most impactful part of my volunteer work was the time I spent with Stephen. Stephen is a Ghanaian refugee that I would tutor every Wednesday for 2 hours after class. He had come to Italy 10 months prior and was accepted as an official refugee of Italy this past November. He taught me about his home in Ghana as I helped him find the words to do so in English. Working with Stephen encompassed everything I hoped for in my abroad experience: sharing my own culture and learning about that of others.

Contact: ewashbur@syr.edu

alexvivianoName: Alex Viviano ’18

Hometown: Towaco, NJ

Majors: History and economics

Visiting school: Franklin & Marshall College

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience abroad was living with an Italian host family. In that environment, I learned about the distinct qualities that make up the Italian culture, and other aspects of their way of life.

Contact: alexanderviviano@aol.com

jabcoblichtblauName: Jacob Lichtblau ’18

Hometown: Princeton, NJ

Major: History

Visiting school: Franklin & Marshall College

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? Study abroad was my best semester of college and it is impossible not to grow into a more confident and mature person. By the end of one semester, I was comfortable interacting with strangers in a foreign language, going on trips on a whim, and trying new and strange foods without a second thought. Along with all of the possibilities for self discovery, the best part is that there is a great program in place with experienced professors and a local staff who are a resource in every circumstance.

Contact: jlichtbl@fandm.edu

annakuhnName: Anna Kuhn ’18

Hometown: Reistertown, MD

Major: Public relations

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? I would say GO! You will not regret it. You are able to meet new people that you may never have met or become close with on campus. You get to study classes relative to where you are and that makes the classes so much more fun. You will get to know yourself and become confident.

Contact: askuhn@syr.edu

sonyafowlerName: Sonya Fowler ’18

Hometown: Irvington, NY

Major: Policy studies

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? Before I went abroad I wish someone told me that it is impossible to fully prepare for everything. Before I left, I over-packed and was stressed about the unknown. I learned that going abroad is such an individual experience it is not possible to land in a new country and feel 100% comfortable all the time. Some of the best times I had while abroad was when I was doing something completely new and foreign to me.

Contact: sofowler@syr.edu

bayleecarrollName: Baylee Carroll ’18

Hometown: Massena, NY

Major: Dietetics

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What would you say to a student who’s undecided about studying abroad? I would tell them how much I benefited from the experience. During the time I spent abroad in Europe I was able to learn how to budget my money, and how to plan as well as travel independently. During my time specifically in Italy with my host family I learned all about Italian culture and history in a way that was meaningful and it stuck with me. During my time in my classes I was able to grow as a person and create my own opinions based on world views I had never been exposed to previously, I was also able to increase my food knowledge and culinary skills.

Contact: bacarrol@syr.edu

tarynvarricchioName: Taryn Varricchio ’17

Hometown: Mahwah, NJ

Major: Broadcast & digital journalism

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What would you say to a student who’s undecided about studying abroad? I would say – as cliche as it sounds – this will be one of the best decisions of your life. It’s scary. It’s challenging. There’s a million reasons to convince yourself why it’d be easier to stay home. I only knew one friend before I went, and I wasn’t close with my roommate. And those two reasons were enough to worry me for months in advance. I was scared to be alone, to be an outsider in a foreign country. Before I left, there wasn’t one person I talked to that regretted his or her decision to study abroad. That’s what stuck out for me. I thought to myself, if this many people (and trust me, I talked to a lot of people during my most anxious days) say they would do it all over again, then it must be worth it. Now, as a student who studied abroad myself, I can fully and undoubtedly support their reviews. This is the time in your life to take a chance, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and to open your mind to the rest of the world.

Contact: tlvarric@syr.edu

haleytoleName: Haley Tole ’17

Hometown: Verona, NJ

Major: Public relations

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The most valuable part of my experience was getting to live with my host family. I was a little hesitant at first about studying in Florence because of the homestay requirement, but I have to say getting to become a part of someone’s family for the four months that I was away was the most beneficial experience. While you can learn so much from classes and the city itself, having my host parents sit down at dinner with me every night and encourage me to speak in Italian, no matter how poorly it was spoken, helped me immensely when it came to my Italian class as well as just living my day to day life in Florence. I also feel like I was able to learn so much more about the culture and different customs from my host family.

Contact: haleyt08@yahoo.com

emiliaomerbergName: Emilia Omerberg ’18

Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Home College: Oberlin College

Major: Biology

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Living with a host family was one of the best experiences I had while I was studying abroad. I really felt like part of the family and they really taught me a lot about Italian ways. I also really enjoyed playing in the 5-on-5 soccer team in Florence. Through the team, I made friends with whom I went to Fiorentina games with. At the Fiorentina games, I really felt like part of the city because we were all cheering for the same cause and the unity in the Fiorentina side of the stands is incredible and unforgettable.

Contact: eomerber@oberlin.edu

leamillerName: Lea Miller ’18

Hometown: Pearl River, NY

Major: Aerospace engineering

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? The opportunity for someone our age to travel, explore, and learn about the world is unrivaled by any other form of teaching. There is no better way to teach responsibility, patience, and inspire a hunger for knowledge than to get a passport and go run with it. You will develop a distaste for the ordinary and the mundane. You will acknowledge that absolutes are naive thoughts. The boundary of your comfort zone will be stretched so far that you will only find its limit when it is time to go home and realize that you don’t want to. How much of life is spent believing that we can’t do something or that we should do something and not believing in what we want to do? This opportunity is a precious gift, do not waste it.

Contact: lemiller@syr.edu

jessicaboyerName: Jessica Boyer ’17

Hometown: Pine Brook, NJ

Major: Marketing management

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? What if I can’t understand the language? What if I get lost? What if I pick the wrong classes? What if I don’t have any friends to go with? And the list of “What if’s” goes on. There is always going to be some sort of a solution to all of your what if’s, but if you don’t give yourself the chance to experience these uncertainties you are closing the door on the opportunity of a lifetime. There is no other time in your life that you are going to be able to travel the world with the only responsibilities being to learn, grow, and have fun.

Contact: jlboyer@syr.edu

""Name: Jaclyn Feitel ’17

Hometown: East Northport, NY

Major: Psychology

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What was the most valuable part of your abroad experience? Having the opportunity to live with a host family. My host family would designate times to do fun activities weekly, even though they were not obligated to do so, which made me comfortable in a new and unfamiliar foreign environment. My parents have been divorced since I was young, and I have never experienced what it is like to live with both a mother and a father in the same household. They taught me how to make pizza from scratch, gelato, homemade pasta, and most importantly, the cherished weight of a tight knit family. I could not have been luckier to live with a family that showed me the true value and importance of what the word family truly means.

Contact: jsfeitel@syr.edu

""Name: Cynthia Poirier ’17

Hometown: Franklin, MA

Major: Accounting

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What did you wish you would have known before going abroad? It is normal to be nervous about going abroad, but being abroad makes you learn how to have an open mind for when things are unexpected or not known. In the end, everything always works out and it works out for a reason. For instance, my friends and I accidentally missed the last bus ride at night. At that moment we were so flustered and did not know what to our next move should have been, but in the end we were able to walk back through the beautiful streets of Florence and see how incredible our city was at night. Not worrying about uncontrollable things or events in the future makes you enjoy living in the moment and living in the moment is the best part of being abroad.

Contact: chpoirie@syr.edu

""Name: Jessie Santillan ’18

Hometown: Lacey, WA

Major: Earth science

Semester abroad: Discovery Florence Fall 2014

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? I think going abroad builds self-reliance and independence. You’re thrown into a situation where you don’t know anybody, where you don’t know where anything is, or even how to talk to anybody, and yes that can be daunting, but I think its the safest way to get “thrown into the deep end.” You always have classmates and staff to back you up if you need anything, they give you resources to find things to do, they have people to show you the ropes, and they have people that you can lean on if all else fails.

If you think you’ll miss out on too much at home campus: you won’t. You’ll create memories that could never be replicated on home soil, you’ll go places you would’ve never had the chance to go to, and you’ll (most likely) have time to make similar experiences on the home campus.

Contact: jasantil@syr.edu

""Name: Nicolle Glover ’17

Hometown: Wyckoff, NJ

Major: Art photography

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What was the most valuable part about your semester abroad? My most valuable experience was definitely the relationships I gained while abroad. I met so many amazing students from all over the world, and made friendships I know will last a lifetime. The relationship I made with my host family was the strongest bond. I truly felt at home with them, as they were so open and understanding with me when I needed help, was sick, and was feeling upset.

Contact: nicolleglover308@gmail.com

""Name: Marcella Labellarte ’17

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Major: Sociology

Visiting school: Franklin & Marshall College

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most valuable experience abroad was living with a homestay. Although I was nervous at first, I immediately fell in love with my family. I became close with my two host sisters and my host mom will forever hold a special place in my heart. They took great care of me. I went to Florence not knowing any Italian, but my previous Spanish background and the encouragement of my host family allowed me to push myself to learn quickly.

Contact: malabellarte@gmail.com

""Name: Benjamin Lee ’17

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Majors: International relations and Geography

Semesters abroad: Discovery Florence Fall 2013, Fall 2015

What would you say to a student undecided about studying abroad? The life experiences and stories one can gain through traveling are incomparable. By having professors who are experts in their fields of work, who have specialized skills and attributes for the specific classes that they are teaching, students are provided with an environment that supports the most efficient form of learning. Studying abroad is not a chance for vacationing in a foreign country, but instead that it offers the chance for immersion. Determined and driven students would be doing themselves a favor if they found ways to travel abroad for a semester.

Contact: balee03@syr.edu

""Name: Anne Tutrone ’17

Hometown: New York, NY

Major: Art

Visiting school: Colorado College

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What was your most unforgettable experience abroad? My Art History/ Archeology class was in Naples touring Pompeii and Herculaneum. After touring Pompeii, my teacher realized that it was “free day” at Herculaneum and that it would be very crowded; very spontaneously my professor asked the students in my class if we wanted to climb to the top of Mt. Vesuvius instead. Climbing Mt. Vesuvius, an active volcano that had a huge impact on Italy’s history, was an experience I never thought I would have. I loved the spontaneity and being able to watch the steam rise from the top and look out over the entire bay of Naples.

Contact: anne.tutrone@coloradocollege.edu

""Name: Luiza Pianetti Antunes de Carvalho ’17

Hometown: Belo Horionte, Brazil

Major: Advertising

Semester abroad: Fall 2015

What do you wish you would have known before you went abroad? I went to Florence without knowing anyone, and I was nervous I wouldn’t make any friends while there. One of the things I wish I knew is that people with similar interests, values, and energies find each other, no matter where. While abroad I’ve met some of them most amazing people I know, people who I am sure I will keep in touch with and proudly call my friends.

Contact: lpcarval@syr.edu

MadeleineName: Madeleine Fournier ’17

Hometown: Riverside, RI

Major: Magazine journalism

Semester abroad: Spring 2015

What did you wish you knew before going abroad? I wish I knew that everyone was as nervous as I was – everyone was worried about making good impressions and what classes they were going to take and who their roommate was going to be. I was so worried my peers would judge me, but, as it turned out, everyone was so preoccupied with the new experience that they were all just looking for friends.

Contact: mcfourni@syr.edu

Kayla GoldsteinName: Kayla Goldstein ’18

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Majors: International relations and Linguistics

Semester abroad: Discovery Florence Fall 2014

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The most valuable experience that I gained from studying abroad would have to be the moment I realized that it was becoming easier to communicate with native Italian speakers. I had no prior experience with Italian, and once I realized that the communication between my host mother and I, employees in cafes, students outside of my home university, etc. was becoming increasingly easy, the happier I became. I could understand dinners at my host home, I could talk with Italians that I had just met and build a relationship, I could be proud of the time I spent learning and growing there.

Contact: kbgoldst@syr.edu

Alison RiveraName: Alison Rivera ’17

Hometown: Bronx, NY

Major: Anthropology

Semester abroad: Discovery Florence Fall 2013

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The time I fell in love with Italy. I would say the experience as a whole was unforgettable. Speaking Italian, eating gelato after dinner every night, getting the chance to visit historical sites, traveling to Greece for break, and learning each and every day were aspects I found truly important to my experience abroad. There were more than highlights; there were those small things I will always remember.

Contact: ariver02@syr.edu