By Kellie Bessette
Photo by Author
The Student Life and Development (SLD) Office at Florence University of the Arts is dedicated to providing students with resources, extracurricular activities, and overall support during the duration of their study. Margaret Hartofilis, a Stony Brook University English studies student, currently serves as a student representative for SLD. In return for interning at the SLD Office on Corso dei Tintori, Margaret received a scholarship from her home university to study abroad.
When asked why she chose to study abroad in Florence, Margaret responded, “I took Italian courses while I was in high school. During my senior year, I learned all about Italian geography, culture, and history. That was the first time I had ever learned or heard about Florence. I immediately fell in love with its uniqueness.” When Margaret is not busy helping students, she is studying and attending classes alongside her fellow peers. At the beginning of the semester she completed an intensive intermediate Italian course. She is currently taking History of the Italian Renaissance, Travel Writing, and Literature of the Grand Tour of Italy.
As a student representative, Margaret assists current students with questions or concerns regarding housing, health, or extracurricular activities. She also aids in the preparation of the arrival of incoming FUA students. Margaret stated, “I led a project for both the Stony Brook University and Endicott college students. They provided me with feedback on their experiences being abroad and I compiled their reflections into a booklet for others to view.”
When asked what she like the most about working at FUA, Margaret claimed, “Without a doubt, my favorite thing about working at FUA is my colleagues. I admire the work that everyone does. They have such compassion when it comes to helping students. There isn't anything I dislike about working at FUA except the fact that I have to sadly leave everyone in a short couple of weeks!”
Margaret reflects on her overall involvement in student life by stating, “I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity because it truly gave me a different perspective while studying abroad. I loved getting up every day to work with my colleagues and students who enhanced my study abroad experience.” Looking back at the semester, Margaret believes she has created meaningful connections as well as enhanced her time management and organizational skills. More importantly, she has enhanced her communication skills by interacting with people from all around the world.
Margaret not only developed time management and organizational skills, but she developed a passion for working in higher education. She concludes, “I aspire to have a career in higher education and that's why this experience was so beneficial to me. This opportunity gave me a glimpse at what it's like to work in a college environment and it only made me more excited for my future career goals.”