My name is Kristin Carosotto and I am a rising senior on the Babson women's volleyball team from East Greenwich, Rhode Island. This past spring I traveled to Florence, Italy to study abroad for what was a very quick four months. Before traveling to Italy, I had a three personal goals that I wanted to achieve during my time there. One, fully immerse myself into a new culture, two, gain knowledge that I may not be able to find at Babson, and three, take advantage of where I was by traveling as much as possible.
Immersing myself into the Florentine culture was my most difficult task, but with the circumstances I was in and the resources that the Syracuse program provided me with, I believe I achieved this goal. The program that I was in required students to live in a "Home Stay" during the whole duration of the semester. Meaning I lived with a real Italian family, in a real Italian home, and ate real Italian homemade food, and probably too much of it. Living with a host family, although it was daunting at first since I barely spoke any Italian, was one of the best parts of my experience. My host mom, dad, brother, and sister where so gracious, helpful, and supportive while I adjusted into my new life in Florence. I was also able to connect with the Florentine community through the classes that I took and the site visits we went on. Through Florentine artisans, farmers, and business owners who were all extremely open to talking to American students, I was able to connect on a deeper level with the Florentine community. I loved listening to the fascinating and inspiring ways in which they talked about their city and passions in life.
As I previously mentioned, the program I studied with was Syracuse Florence, which was located just outside the city center. The school building was a beautiful historic villa called the Villa Rossa. Syracuse Florence offered so many different classes that incorporated American teaching styles with Italian teaching styles, while always including cross-cultural comparisons. One of the greatest things about studying abroad is being able to take classes that Babson would not have the ability to offer. For example, I was able to take classes like Mediterranean Food and Culture, Cross-Cultural Psychology, Italian, and a business class focused on the Italian business model and the value of craftsmanship. Through the Syracuse Program, I was able to meet people from different school across the US. Although around 50% of the student were from Syracuse University, the other 50% were students from a plethora of different schools throughout the US, and I will say, the friends that I made during those four months will be friends for a lifetime.
Lastly, I was lucky to fulfill my goal of traveling as much as possible, but there is a something very important to remember when traveling during your study abroad experience. I was lucky enough to travel to 9 different countries being, Italy (of course), Switzerland, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. But what I learned after the first few weeks of international travel is that some of the best trips, experiences, and memories happen right in the city that you are studying in. Definitely travel as much as you can, but do not forget to appreciate the city that you are going to call home for four months.
Overall, with the help of the Glavin Office and my advisors at Babson, my experience abroad was one that I will never forget, and will be grateful for years to come. I also want to thank my coaches, Eric Neely and Pat Helmas for always encouraging the team to study abroad and explore any opportunities that we are interested in. As a D3 school, we, as athletes, have the privilege to experience study abroad, so why not take advantage of it. This experience allows you to grow as a person, become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and although it may be surprising to some, allows you to grow your professional career. Recruiters look for candidates with experience abroad, and I truly believe that my time abroad helped me land my internship this summer with the Global Brand and Franchising team at Marvel Entertainment. Although I will miss walking through historical Florence every day, I am looking forward to getting back on campus in August for preseason and to begin my senior year. If anyone has any questions regarding study abroad I am more than happy to be a resource.