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Study Abroad Profile: Valerie Smosna '13

Why did you choose Rome?
As a History of Art major, I had always planned on studying in Rome. Because of the longstanding artistic tradition in Italy, I was able to see so many wonderful works that I had only previously seen projected in classrooms. And Rome is known for its beauty. I wanted to experience a city that so many people fall in love with.

What did you learn outside of the classroom?
I learned how to adapt to a new culture, which is valuable skill in any new setting. The pace of the city was so different from what I have experienced in America, so it took a lot of adjustments. Whether it was learning to relax while the buses never came or accepting that I would never be able to find a cup of to-go coffee, I learned how to put aside my own standards and accept another pace for life. Once I was able to do that, I found life in Rome to be incredibly enjoyable.

What is the most surprising thing that happened to you there?
I feel like I encountered surprises every single day. However, the most notable one was a project that I got involved with through an internship at a contemporary art gallery. What I thought would just be a typical gallery internship turned into a fundraising project to help conserve the Sanctuary of the Scala Santa, a 16th-century site known for its religious and historical significance. I got to meet great people, work on an incredibly worthwhile project and practice tons of Italian. And after that experience, I've begun to consider a career in art conservation.

What did you bring back?
I've come back with a new path of study, the drive to improve my Italian, a bunch of great friends and a whole network in place for when I want to return (which will hopefully be soon).

Students cross in front of Founders Hall.

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