Dean - Semester in Prato
Studying at the Prato Monash Centre in Italy was one of the highlights of my university experience. The Prato Centre is located within the 18th century historic city centre which felt like little Florence. There are cafes, restaurants and shops all within walking distance which allow for familiarity within the community. Immersing ourselves in another culture was made easier as Prato is just a train journey away from other vibrant Italian cities including Florence, Pisa and Bologna. Adapting to the Italian way of life in our day to day activities was interesting as we ate later than usual and had ample opportunity to explore our surroundings. There are world-renowned museums and incredible bars to visit within close proximity.
The local residents of Prato are accustomed to the presence of Monash students and do their best to support us. Furthermore, Monash run programs to assist students with adapting to Italian life through Parliamo, an introductory Italian course and Buon Appetito, an opportunity to be hosted by a local family for a home-cooked dinner. These are invaluable programs that gave us the opportunity to learn simple phrases and adapt to Italian life.
I studied in the 3rd block of the Arts Semester in Prato program, to allow me the opportunity to complete my second semester in Melbourne. This was useful for me as the overseas study did not disrupt my course progression. I studied the European Union whilst overseas in Prato and found this an invaluable experience. Studying the European Union from a European perspective availed us the opportunity to immerse our theoretical knowledge with our new practical experiences of the EU in Europe. Due to the close proximity of the Prato Centre to Florence, we were given the opportunity to visit the European University Institute in Florence. This allowed us to hear from some of the world’s leading experts in the field of the European Union. The institute is an international post-doctoral research institute which was established by the European Union member states themselves and its close proximity to the Prato Centre was fantastic.
My career goals have been further solidified due to having this opportunity to study in Prato and hearing from leading academics as well as the Australian Consul-General and Senior Trade Commissioner in Italy. Having heard first hand of the careers that these diplomats and academics lived has helped me understand the expectations required in practicing in the field of international politics and the vast array of jobs available in the area.
Prato helped solidify friendships with fellow BGS students and expand my academic outlook. I look forward to my next study abroad experience and hope to build on the memories initially availed to me through the Global Scholars Program.