by Laura Barnum
With the seats in the room almost filled, the Student FORum: Under TwentyFOUR: Erasmus Generation vs. Junior Year Abroad, sponsored by Fairfield University, the City of Florence Project Link, the University of Florence, the Centre Jean Monnet, and the Toscana-USA Association, was another success. Held on April 2, the event took place at Palazzo Giovane, and was only the second yearly event held by the Living and Learning Community program at Fairfield University. Proving to be an extremely thought-provoking, the audience come from different backgrounds and the aim of the event was to discuss the logistics of both Erasmus-the 25-year-old European program that allows university students to study abroad-and the American study abroad system.
Leonardo Pierini, Lorenzo Sarti, Marta Meniconi, and Claudia Liberatore are students at University of Florence who live with American students in the Living and Learning program at Fairfield University. They led a discussion on the study abroad experience through Erasmus, from their perspective as Europeans. Marta and Claudia, who have previously studied abroad in Dublin and Sweden, talked about the challenges and successes they faced when going to and returning from abroad. Amelia Curotto, the Program Assistant at Fairfield University, is a former U.S. student who studied abroad in Florence her junior year and has seen both sides of being an American foreigner when studying abroad and living as a local in Florence.
After the students' presentation, time was left for the audience's participation in the discussion. From debating about the cultural differences as a European student studying abroad within Europe versus an American studying abroad in another continent to discussing the guidelines and expectations coming from a European or American student, the forum left students, professors, and others with many coinciding as well as diverse opinions of the benefits each program offers.