My name is Rachael Perez; I am a 25 year old student studying at the Istituto Europeo, as part of the internship program through SUNY Brockport. For my work here in Florence, I am conducting research on social organizations, to better understand the social need within Italy. I enjoy doing research, as there is always something new to learn and ones intellectual horizons can therefore be broadened.
Back home in Rochester, NY, I am currently working towards a Bachelors Degree in Social Work. I also work in a bakery part-time, where I decorate cakes, as well as create a variety of other desserts. I enjoy baking, but not cooking, as I have had a major sweet tooth since I was little. I love all things chocolate, but ironically prefer vanilla when it comes to cake. Aside from baking I enjoy going to the movies and spending time with my friends.
For my time abroad, I had a personal goal to learn whatever I could from this experience, which is a huge step outside of my comfort zone. During my stay in Florence, I have been able to see some of the most beautiful art in the world, eat some of the best gelato, and meet individuals from different cultures, all of whom have been nothing but welcoming. I am happy that I have had the opportunity of studying abroad and more so, getting to work with the staff at the Istituto Europeo, who were major contributors to my understanding the Italian culture.
I feel lucky to have enhanced my cultural competency and to have this experience to reference as I move forward in my professional career. My future plans, following my graduation in May, are to find a job opportunity that will allow me to strengthen my skills as a social worker. Hopefully, within the next couple of years I will be able to go to graduate school to earn a dual Masters Degree in social work and public administration. Following this, my plans are still unclear, but after my time abroad …I feel confident in my ability to do anything.