Sarah Monteleone - 2013 Program Participant

Table set for art classes

Setting up for Aperi Art at work

Why did you decide to take your education abroad?

I have always loved international travel. Having studied Culture and Communication, I felt it was important to study internationally to really immerse myself in my learning and apply some of the things I was learning in class.

Why did you choose you choose to study abroad with IES Abroad?

I first began to consider studying abroad with IES Abroad because of their partnership with my home university. When researching program options, I saw that IES had a wide variety of locations around the world and that they had sessions year round. Due to my course load, I knew the only time I could study abroad would be during the summer, and IES had a great selection of programs that fit into my academic schedule.

The internship option was what sealed the deal for me. IES Abroad had a summer internship program in the city of my dreams, Rome! To top it off, I heard great reviews online and from students who had previously studied abroad through IES, so I felt confident in what they had to offer.

What was your favorite part about living and working in Rome?

Living and working in Rome was unlike anything I had experienced prior. It was so cool to know you were walking through so much history. St. Peter's square and Vatican City were a five minute walk away, and you could see the Vatican from the roof of my apartment building. Being so surrounded by history was definitely my favorite part of the city.

Fireworks over Castel SantAngelo in Italy

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Italy

What made studying abroad with IES Abroad unique?

I think the internship aspect of the program was incredibly unique. I worked 20 hours a week at a local ceramics studio and was really able to immerse myself in the Italian work culture. We also had a lot more independence with IES. The staff was there if we needed help, or advice, but they really let us explore the city and enjoy!

In what ways did the local IES Abroad staff in Rome support you throughout your stay?

The staff in Rome were always extremely helpful and friendly. If you had questions about anything they were always more than willing to offer guidance and wisdom in any way they could. If you were looking for something to do over the weekend or a new local restaurant to try, they were right there with a recommendation!

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently? 

I wish I had traveled more throughout Italy. Due to my internship placement, I worked a lot of weekends and sometimes felt I missed out on potential travel plans.

What was a typical day like for you in Rome?

Since it was a summer internship program, I only took two classes, Italian and an Internship Seminar. Italian met every day around 9 a.m., so I would wake up and walk about 15 minutes to the IES center. After class we would head over to a local cafe for a light lunch or snack. I usually had a few hours between class and work, so I would either stay at IES and do work, or explore the city. At around one or two, I would go to work for about five hours, depending on the class and workshop hours of the studio. When I was done at work I would leave (typically around 6 or 7 p.m.) and go back to my apartment for dinner, homework, and hanging out with people in the program from my apartment or an apartment nearby.

Narrow street in Rome, Italy

Pathway on my walk back from a park in Rome

What did you love doing on your freetime?

I loved being able to walk everywhere and explore. Some of my best memories came from wondering, getting lost, and stumbling upon the most beautiful things. Having come in with some Italian background, this also gave me a way to really use and improve upon the language skills I had.

Where did you live while studying abroad in Rome? What was your favorite part about your living arrangement?

I lived in a beautiful apartment in Prati with an Italian Student Companion (ISC). Living with an ISC was definitely my favorite part. She knew all the ins and outs of the city and was a great resource to have. She taught us the bus and metro systems, told us the best places to eat, and gave us lots of insight into where to find all the good sales. We also got to spend a lot of time with some of her Italian friends, which was really cool, and again helped me to improve my language skills.

How has studying and interning abroad impacted your life?

My experience abroad definitely had an impact on me both professionally and personally. I have always been passionate about study abroad, and my experience with the IES Abroad staff before, during, and after the trip solidified my desire to work in the field. The internship program that I participated in allowed me to work with an Italian ceramics artist, where I was able to spread awareness of the studio to universities with study abroad programs in the area, challenging me both within my desired field and artistically. My time abroad gave me invaluable work experience and helped to expand my world view in ways I never could have expected.