Center for International Programs - Study Abroad

Student Profile: Gillian Murphy, Fairfield University in Florence, Italy

Gillian Murphy

Name: Gillian Murphy

Major: Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketing, Communications Studies

Minor: Journalism

Abroad Program: Fairfield University in Florence

Where: Florence, Italy

When: Spring 2013

Favorite Course: Wine Communications and Marketing

Highlight: Personally contributing to the research and development of a legitimate wine that will be released in the U.S.

Favorite Dish: Eggplant Parmesan, and anything gnocchi

Least Favorite Dish: Anything with pesto- ate way too much!

Next Destination: Back to Italy! And all around Asia/Thailand


How was the experience of studying the language in the classroom (in high school or in college) prior to studying abroad different from the experience of studying the language in and outside of the classroom once you were abroad?

Learning the Italian Language while studying abroad in Italy was a vastly different learning experience than any other academic experience I’ve had thus far. In this situation, the world truly was a classroom, because the language was being spoken through the streets, in cafes, in shops and all over the buzzing city. I had class three times a week, which I preferred rather than having Italian twice a week for longer, because the repetitive schedule of the class allowed for extra and immediate practice after learning a concept. I loved finally being able to converse with the locals, albeit on an elementary level with the locals we met, with the waiter taking orders, and with Pino, my favorite Panini man. It was gratifying that all my studying instantly paid off when I stepped out onto the Italian streets. Learning the language where it was native was a very rewarding experience, and even though it didn’t count for credit for me, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.