Apply for Summer 2015 Study Abroad before February 15!

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DSCN3582Applications for summer 2015 are being accepted on a rolling basis until the program fills or until February 15, 2015. Lisbeth Arias (pictured) studied in Florence, Italy last spring where she continued her education as a Fashion and Textile Design major. We recently caught up with Lisbeth to see what she’s been up too and hear about her experiences while studying in Europe!

 

 

What kind of study abroad experience did you have and how did it connect to your studies?
I never left the classroom. All of Europe was a learning space for me. I learned interpersonal skills through my encounters with people from all around the world. I experienced personal development when I would get lost and couldn’t find my way back home. Studying abroad was hectic and unpredictable, but looking back, I can’t believe it all happened. I feel privilege to tell others where I was, who I met, and what it all meant to me.
Did you gain any unique experiences that might help to benefit your career?
I never thought I would’ve been interning for a local boutique while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Because of my Italian minor and my Fashion & Textile Design major, I was able to work with an Italian seamstress, a French pattern maker, and a Korean designer. That’s what I call an international experience. Through the internship I learned the Italian work ethic and how it’s okay to close the shop if you need a coffee break. I also learned what true customer service means. In the United States, customers go to shops and buy what they find on the racks. In Italy, the customer came in and found the silhouette she was looking for; however, she was taken in for measurements, she chose her fabrics, and a couple of weeks later, she received the dress that was fitted to her body. Even though the Italian approach on fashion was a longer process, it allowed customers to understand that they don’t need to alter their bodies to find the perfect dress. It’s the clothes that need to be refined and that’s the designer’s job.
What kind of advice would you give to other students who are thinking about studying abroad? OR what is something you wish someone would have advised you?
I wish someone would have told me how quickly a semester goes by when you’re abroad. I went abroad with the impression that I was going to travel to all the places I intended to go. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough weekends. I would advise other students to really value each day you have. Go to a new restaurant for dinner, try a new hobby, travel to the small towns, and go for a walk when you’re bored…. If I could do it again, I would try something new each day. Just remember, your time is short and eventually, it all comes to an end.
What would you tell students who are on the fence about studying abroad or are hesitant to go for it?
For everyone who is thinking about studying abroad, go for it. It truly is a one of a kind experience. I’ve traveled to several countries on my own, but I wasn’t able to really immerse myself in the culture like I did in Italy. Being a student in another country allows you to embrace problems that you would never face if you were just visiting. For example, grocery shopping and doing laundry are simple chores in the US, but in Italy they were a struggle. I could only buy what I could carry, and drying my clothes only worked when the sun was out. It’s silly, but studying abroad introduces you to a different you. You discover new ways to improvise when exchanging words isn’t possible, you discover new foods you can’t live without, and you learn how to take amazing pictures. But more importantly, you learn to be patient with yourself and others. Plans don’t always work out and the language barrier isn’t an easy obstacle, but at the end of the day, it’s all part of the new discovery you embrace when you study abroad.