Florence Global Ambassadors

amreeta vermaName: Amreeta Verma ’23

Major: Architecture

Semester Abroad: Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience in your host country? The architecture program took a weekend survey trip to Venice and visited The Architecture Biennale. It was an exhilarating experience, being fully immersed in art and architecture from around the world. I got to see research and designs from so many cross-disciplinary fields, several of which aligned with and inspired some of my own personal research. Being in a design environment surrounded by other creatives was a great experience for exchanging ideas and networking as well.

Contact: amverma@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Allergies & dietary needs, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Race & Ethnicity


mary fitzgerald

Name: Mary Fitzgerald ’23

Major: Inclusive elementary and special education

Semester Abroad: Fall 2021

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I had known more about the adjustment to a new culture and language. The social customs and expectations of Italy are very different from the US and while I knew some of them, I wish I would have had more information about specific cultural differences. I also wish I had known that while there would be hard moments where I missed my friends and family, it would still be worth it.

Contactmefitzge@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, LGBTQ+, Preparing for departure, Selecting a program option


laveena in italyName: Laveena Lee ’23

Major: Policy Studies

Semester Abroad: Fall 2022

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most valuable experience in my host country was when I participated in an event for the women artisans of Florence. Working with the school, my Italian class was able to visit a woman owned and operated leather making shop. I was able to speak one-on-one with the owner, and used my own Italian skills to communicate. Florence is famous for its leather, and I had an amazing opportunity to witness the craft of it as well as supporting local businesses as well. This trip was also a time where I was able to explore another side of the city that I did not before. Afterwards, there was an event held at the school where students got chances to speak about their experiences, meet with other artisans, and it was a very beautiful moment for me… something that I would have never imagined myself encountering if not for one field trip to the other part of town.

Contactllee23@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Race & Ethnicity, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure


jillian in florenceName: Jillian Laino ’23

Major: English & Textual Studies, English Education

Semester Abroad: Fall 2022

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? In Florence, I learned the power of the “uncomfortable”.  I had the option of taking a higher level Italian while abroad in Florence but I was really hesitant because the thought of having to learn new tenses and vocab words made me super uncomfortable. I did ultimately choose to be in the higher level class, and I am so beyond grateful that I didn’t choose to be comfortable in the lower class, and rather I pushed myself and forced myself to be uncomfortable in the higher level class. This uncomfortableness allowed me to learn more Italian than I ever thought was possible, and now I am way closer to being fluent in the language that I love so much. In the uncomfortable situations that the most incredible things happen!

Contactjslaino@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion


Name: Michael Wong ’23

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to students studying abroad? Do a little research about the country before you get there. Do not be afraid to explore and adventure out. Travelling in Europe is way different than in the Americas. You do not need a car to go to many places; walking and using public transportation is all you need. Pack lightly (very minimal if you could). Do not bring a lot of stuff with you initially because you will come back with souvenirs and other goodies. I ended up bringing a lot back from my trip.

Contactmwong08@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion