MacKenzie Klarsfeld - 2014 Program Participant

Vernazza, Italy on the way to Cinque Terre

During MacKenzie;s first weekend abroad about ten students from the program traveled to the fabulous Cinque Terre about three hours West of Milan. This is the town Vernazza (photo taken from the side of the mountain where she hiked from town to town).

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I chose to study abroad because I think it is an invaluable opportunity we have as college students. I wanted to really immerse myself in a new culture, travel all through Europe, and spend a semester of my college career doing something unique.

Why did you choose to study in Milan in particular? 

I choose to study abroad in Milan because it is such a cosmopolitan city in Italy and some would say the fashion capital of Europe. Since I had never lived in a big city before, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see if I liked living in an urban environment. 

Why did you select IES Abroad over other study abroad organizations? 

When I was researching abroad programs before I applied to go abroad I read a lot of the interviews and stories of past IES Abroad students who all seemed like they had the times of their lives and really enjoyed going abroad with IES. Furthermore, I felt that IES Abroad really cared and had a passion for what they do which was very important to me. Also, the internship opportunity component that IES offers was very appealing to me as well. 

What were your housing arrangements like in Italy?

My housing arrangements were fantastic! I lived with four awesome girls, one being our Italian CA (Community Assistant) who was so warm and welcoming and really helped our immersion into the Italian culture. Our apartment was spacious, clean, safe, and located in the fabulous Brera District of Milan.

Duomo in Milan, Italy at Christmas time

Milan’s Duomo is a breathtaking site anytime of the year, but during Christmastime it’s extra special!

Would you recommend your IES Abroad Business program in Milan to others?

Yes! IES Abroad Milan Business Studies is a wonderful opportunity for business students to make their business education well rounded. I was able to take a Fashion Management course, a Social Innovation and Global Sustainability course, and participate in an internship with a wonderful e-commerce company. Not to mention the IES Abroad staff were so warm and welcoming, and having an Italian roommate was so helpful and really had a wonderful impact on my experience. 

What important tips can you give to future participants of the IES Abroad Milan Business program?

 Expect that things will probably not go according to plan, and to see that as an adventure rather than a struggle. Wi-Fi won’t always work when you need it to, there may be a transportation strike interfering with your trip to the airport, you may not know how to order lunch or if to tip, and you may have to hang your clothes to dry because not a single person in Italy owns a dryer. If you see all of these things as horrible struggles you are going to be miserable abroad. On the contrary, if you can see that all of this adversity makes you more creative and stronger, you’re not even going to sweat it when one of these things happens to you, and from experience, one definitely will.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

If I could do it all again I would study abroad in Australia. I went to Sydney, Australia for a two-week program during high school and fell in love with the culture, the people, and the wonderful environment.  I would love to go back and really immerse myself in that culture if I could study abroad again.