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IMAGE: Kent State students Margaret Suren (left) and Kristen Durkin (right) pose for a picture on the Ponte Santa Trinita looking upon Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Durkin said her study abroad experience gave her the chance to grow as an individual and enhance her cultural awareness. (Photo provided by Kristen Durkin)
Kent State students Margaret Suren (left) and Kristen Durkin (right) pose for a picture on the Ponte Santa Trinita looking upon Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Durkin said her study abroad experience gave her the chance to grow as an individual and enhance her cultural awareness. (Photo provided by Kristen Durkin)
IMAGE: On a day trip to Rome, a group of Kent State students has fun with some “Roman Soldiers” outside of the Coliseum. (Photo provided by Kari Carnes)
On a day trip to Rome, a group of Kent State students has fun with some “Roman Soldiers” outside of the Coliseum. (Photo provided by Kari Carnes)
IMAGE: Kent State student Lauren Caraotta said, “This is my favorite picture from my trip! The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is such a dear spot to sit and visit.” (Photo provided by Lauren Caraotta.)
Kent State student Lauren Caraotta said, “This is my favorite picture from my trip! The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is such a dear spot to sit and visit.” (Photo provided by Lauren Caraotta.)
  • IMAGE: Kent State students Margaret Suren (left) and Kristen Durkin (right) pose for a picture on the Ponte Santa Trinita looking upon Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Durkin said her study abroad experience gave her the chance to grow as an individual and enhance her cultural awareness. (Photo provided by Kristen Durkin)
  • IMAGE: On a day trip to Rome, a group of Kent State students has fun with some “Roman Soldiers” outside of the Coliseum. (Photo provided by Kari Carnes)
  • IMAGE: Kent State student Lauren Caraotta said, “This is my favorite picture from my trip! The Ponte Vecchio in Florence is such a dear spot to sit and visit.” (Photo provided by Lauren Caraotta.)

Taking Advantage of Study Abroad Opportunities

Ryan Collins and Taylor Titus | 03/05/2013
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.

IMAGE: The plaza in front of the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, is constantly changing, from hosting an interactive art exhibit to the Christmas markets in November and December. In early October, the plaza is transformed into an international market. There are stands from all over the world with products traditional products from each country. (Photo provided by Cassandra Mueller)

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. 

IMAGE: View of the Duomo from the bedroom window of the student apartments in Florence, Italy.

“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.

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