Abigail Klauer

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design (Fashion)
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Fall 2023

Overall Experience

Studying abroad in Florence was the best experience of my life. I immersed myself in the local culture while taking AMD classes at a local school. My courses ran from Monday through Thursday, and once the weekend hit, my roommates and I traveled around Florence, Italy, and even Europe.

Learning experience

The most valuable learning experience I encountered was understanding the slow lifestyle of Italy. I am a very type-A person, and when I arrived in Italy and things were not laid out to the minute, I started to freak out. I learned that sometimes, having no plan is better than having one, and things will always be worked out.

Memorable experience

My most memorable experience was planning a sporadic trip to a mountain town in Italy with my roommate. We did little to no planning, but it was my all-time favorite weekend. I have never felt so free and powerful, especially after learning to independently navigate the European travel system.

What did you not expect?

Something I did not expect was no one would offer to help unless help was asked for. This was sort of a relief because there was no pressure to act a certain way in public or have everything together. After all, people were constantly minding their own business. I learned that if I wanted help or needed to speak to someone, I had to make the first move and couldn't wait for them to come to me. This applied to many areas in my career because being proactive is one of my best traits.

What advice would you give?

My advice to any student studying abroad is to try everything. I was so stressed the night before I left for Italy that I wanted to back out and stay in Iowa. Thank gosh, I didn't because other than that first day, there was not one moment I wanted to go home. Learn to be curious and not judgemental.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience has impacted my life and goals by getting to experience a whole new culture and applying that to my designs. I have broadened my mindset and learned to enjoy life day by day. During my studies, I had the opportunity to learn about handbag design from one of the top leather production countries in the world. I will forever cherish these lessons and hold with the education I have gained.

How did you learn about this experience?

I learned about this opportunity through past friends who studied abroad, but I got more information by meeting with the study abroad office.

International Connections