Hi, my name is Emma and I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce, majoring in Human Resources and Marketing.
I recently returned from three weeks in Italy, where I studied two units as part of the winter semester in Prato. For me, this opportunity ticked a number of boxes. I recently obtained a full-time job after a successful internship, so as a student studying part time, the ability to complete two units in three weeks was a major bonus, as it essentially took six months off my degree. Plus, I always liked the idea of studying abroad, so this opportunity was another one to tick off the bucket list.
Donuts for breakfast and train rides to Rome
Studying in Prato was wonderful! The Monash Centre is a stunning building filled with so much history, and I found the classes to be some of the best I’ve taken while at uni, due to their focus on current world issues. As part of the units, I could also complete the assessments while still in Prato, or wait until I returned home to Australia. This was great, as I had the option to soak up the Italian summer and travel a bit while I had the chance, leaving the assessments for later.
Whilst in Italy, I based myself in Prato which allowed me to live the Italian lifestyle. This lovely lifestyle included pastries and a cappuccino for breakfast (I really never thought it would be 'acceptable’ to have donuts for breakfast, but apparently it is!), pizza or pasta for lunch, a rest in the afternoon when everything closes, and a late dinner of more pizza or pasta and gelato.
Prato is also within a short train ride to some amazing locations. After class I explored Florence and Pisa, and on weekends I was able to journey further and see Cinque Terre, Sienna, San Gimignano and Rome!
Doing a winter unit (or units) in Prato is a fantastic way to travel during the mid-year break, while still working towards your degree. There are also a number of units that can be selected, so if you choose to do just one unit, you then have four or five days in a row to travel around Europe in-between classes.
A different kind of learning
The winter semester in Prato allowed me to grow and become a more well-rounded student and young professional. Unlike any other units I have undertaken, the classes provided me with the opportunity to meet and work with students from different disciplines and faculties, which was really interesting.
The diversity within each classroom meant I learnt to look at things from different perspectives and was able to participate in rich discussion and group work. The skills I learnt though this are so valuable and I know I will use them in the workplace and carry them throughout my career. I have also returned with a greater appreciation for cultural differences and a greater awareness of global issues and the ethical impacts these can have.
Once in a lifetime opportunity
The support provided by Monash University staff – those who travelled from Melbourne and those who were based in Prato – was impeccable! There wasn’t a moment when I didn’t feel safe and well.
I consider this opportunity to be a once in a lifetime, and feel so privileged to have been able to study at the Monash University Prato Centre.
Amazing views of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Cinque Terre in between classes.
Afternoon trips following class are so quick and easy from Prato. Here's a photo from when we visited the spectacular Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Ps. I was a guestgrammer for Monash School of Business while in Italy, so feel free to check out the @monashbusiness Instagram page for more photos!