Alex Stolfe ’22, L’25 left spreadsheets and numbers behind for a few months while she studied abroad at Syracuse University’s Florence Center this past semester.
Traveling to Madrid on a high school trip solidified Stolfe’s desire to go abroad while in college. She has always loved adventure, so choosing to go to Florence was an easy decision.
As an accounting and finance double major at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Stolfe was able to take classes in subjects she always was interested in but never had time to take on-campus.
“With my accounting and finance requirements the last three years, I have been surrounded by Microsoft Excel and math, but when I was in Florence, I was able to take a few art and history classes that fulfilled my arts and sciences electives,” she says. “I used abroad as a change of pace from what I am used to when on campus at Syracuse.”
However, Stolfe noticed that her diligence, thanks to Whitman courses, prepared her for the semester in Florence.
“Even beyond the content I learned in the classes, I think that my work ethic translated well abroad. I was able to balance traveling, adjusting to life in another country and my schoolwork,” she says.
Living with a host family allowed Stolfe to immerse herself into the culture. She was able to learn Italian very quickly, as that was all they spoke in the house. Stolfe felt that staying with a host family for the semester made the experience more authentic and was amazed by the connections she was able to form with the family even with the language barrier.
In addition, she was fascinated by the numerous cultures she found in this international city. Interacting with people, cultures and customs not only from Italy but from around the world was very important to her development as a global citizen.
During her time abroad, Stolfe was able to visit other places around Europe, including Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands and other major cities in Italy. However, she also made sure to spend plenty of time taking advantage of visiting the sites in Florence, too.
Today, she’s happy to be back to business at Whitman with her spreadsheets and numbers – as well as fantastic memories from her time abroad. Stolfe is certain that her experiences learning and living in Florence will help her become a more well-rounded person and business professional.
Martin J. Whitman School of Management offers many global opportunities for students to go abroad. Learn more about Whitman students and their experiences.
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