Vanessa Vargas

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design (Fashion)
Class: Sophomore
Timeframe: Spring 2024
Type of Experience: Study abroad

Overall Experience

I loved my experience. Living in Florence was a dream, and every corner was filled with history. Accademia Italiana was a pretty small school but I loved that it was an international school that taught not only Italians but people from all over and everyone had so much talent and that pushed me to challenge myself and show off. My favorite part about the whole experience was all the traveling that I did I went to many cities in Italy and also Spain, France, and Portugal.

Learning experience

The most valuable thing I learned is how to spend time alone and travel alone. It's hard to make friends and I didn't make too many to travel with, so I did a lot of traveling alone and I made way more friends while traveling alone than I did living in Italy.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience was traveling solo to two countries, Portugal and Spain, for 11 days. I was feeling very alone and lost planning for this spring break trip, but it became a lot easier because I was going on my own and I could spend my time in these beautiful countries doing what I wanted. I met the most amazing people at the hostels that I stayed at who were also solo traveler from all over the world who I still keep in touch with.

What did you not expect?

Something surprised me was how different the United State fashion industry is from other countries and that you have to keep in open mind.

What advice would you give?

Take advantage of your location and access to public transportation that you don't get in Iowa to travel around the country you're staying in and other counties too. Money comes and goes but this experience will be in your memory forever.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience made me more comfortable with travel which is something I want to do a lot in my career and personal life. I learned a lot while studying in Florence, not necessarily by the teachers but because I really challenged myself and made tons of mistakes that I learned from.

How did you learn about this experience?

I always knew I wanted to study abroad so I asked my advisor and she led me to the Iowa state study abroad website.

International Connections