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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Desiree in Italy

Desiree Velazquez ’18 is a Business major with a minor in English Literature studying in Florence, Italy.


Being in Florence, Italy has been such an exciting adventure! Before coming to Italy I had never been outside of the country. Since I can remember I have always had the urge to leave the country just never really had the opportunity to, and that it is why I decided to come to Florence. Leading up to my departure to Florence I was very anxious and a little nervous to venture off on my own for the first time. It was not until I boarded the plane to and said my farewells to my family that I realized I was actually leaving the states. I first arrived in Florence from Rome very much jet-lagged and stressed from traveling alone, however for some reason when I set foot onto the busy and noisy streets I knew that I was home, a home-away from home.

I have been here now for a little more than a month, and I can honestly say I have not been happier. Although I miss my family and friends, I have grown accustomed to life here. I not only have the opportunity to study here but intern here as well. This has taught me some very valuable lessons throughout my time here. My internship is working with two luxury hotels or palaces, as the Italians like to call it. The palaces are called Palazzo San Niccolò and Palazzo Belfiore. My daily duties involve taking care of their social media networks such as Instagram and Facebook. Working among Italians has helped me learn more about the culture, and has helped me adapt as well. In return I have created some great relationships with my colleagues, all of which are locals. My colleagues are so eager to help me in any way they can and help me learn as much as possible. Thankfully, because I am working here, I have the opportunity to learn the language a little better compared to most students. Luckily, I am attending a university very similar to ours at Lake Forest, so it was an easy transition.

I am so happy I get to experience a culture so rich and beautiful. It is not everyday that you get to walk past the Ponte Vecchio, one of the most famous bridges in Florence. I want to thank the Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship foundation for making this opportunity of a lifetime possible, I am beyond grateful!