Susanna, Silvia, Andrea, and Paulo are all students at Fairleigh Dickinson University, but unlike most students at FDU, they are studying abroad at FDU!
Susanna Vercesi, Silvia Caironi, Andrea Albani, and Paulo Rovetta usually study at the Universita degli studi di Bergamo, located in northern Italy, near Milan. FDU recently signed an agreement with Universita di Bergamo to allow FDU students to study abroad at Bergamo and for Bergamo students to study at FDU.
As Vercesi says, they are the “guinea pig students,” in the arrangement. Albani and Caironi are both international business and finance graduate students at the Metropolitan Campus, while Rovetta and Vercesi are undergraduates at the College at Florham studying criminology and modern languages, respectively.
Living in the United States has had its ups and downs for the Bergamo students. Albani describes living abroad as “strange — mostly because I have never been outside of Europe, so it is my first experience across the ocean. Things are very different here, but I am getting used to the differences.”
“I don’t know if I like living in the US,” says Vercesi. “The weather is crazy (one day it’s hot and the next it’s freezing!), the food is terrible, and there are hurricanes!” However she’s had positive experiences too. Vercesi notes that, “the people here in the U.S. are really nice and I love the English language.” As for studying at FDU, she says, “FDU is a wonderful community and I made a lot of interesting friends.”
The Bergamo students are taking full advantage of the opportunities available here in the U.S. and New York City is also proving popular among them. “I had two options for studying in the United States,” says Albani. “I chose FDU because it is so close to New York City. I go there whenever I have free time since it is only a 15 minute bus ride from campus.”
While over all, the Bergamo students have been enjoying studying at FDU, they noted there are many differences between studying here and in Italy. Classes in Italy have “hundreds of people in them and attendance isn’t required,” says Rovetto. Also, in Europe, grades are based primarily on “a few big exams at the end of every semester, while here, there are a lot of quizzes, tests, and assignments each week,” says Albani. “Personally, I like this method more because there are not empty periods” during the semester and “you study constantly every week.”
Caironi was also struck by the difference in living arrangements. “The biggest difference between FDU and my school is living on campus,” she says. “Italian universities do not offer the option of living on campus, so this is my first time and I am really enjoying it! The dorm I live in is very comfortable and there are always people around on campus.”
Vercesi, Caironi, Albani, and Rovetto have all enjoyed their time at FDU and in the U.S. Vercesi isn’t even sure she wants to leave. “This experience has been amazing,” says Vercesi. “I am studying here for a semester, but now I would like to stay here next semester too.”