April 18, 2024

Each year, UMass Amherst offers a study abroad exchange program with the University of Bologna-Forlì in Forlì, Italy. In spring 2024, UMass Amherst had the pleasure of hosting two students as part of this educational exchange. Professor Melina Masterson and fourth year Italian Studies major Ashley Rooney had the chance to sit down with one of those students, Sofiya, and ask her some questions about her experience through the UMass Amherst-Forlì Exchange. Sofiya is from Sicily, Italy, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Interpreting in both Russian and English. When asked why she decided to embark on an international exchange, Sofiya replied, “I felt that I really needed an international experience before the end of my studies, and this was a great fit for me because there was a very nice Translation Studies department here [at UMass Amherst].”

This exchange program is hosted by the University of Bologna-Forlì’s Department of Interpretation and Translation. Through the UMass Amherst-Forlì Exchange, students have access to renowned professors and researchers, gaining an unforgettable and unbeatable educational experience at two world-class institutions. Sofiya said that the expertise of the faculty at both institutions truly “gives you something extra.” Students who participate in the UMass Amherst-Forlì exchange program are encouraged to enroll in courses that are taught outside of their native language, allowing them to practice their language skills in the most immersive environment possible. However, both institutions offer a large portion of their courses in English to make the program more accessible to non-advanced Italian speakers. Similarly, students have the freedom to take classes in any discipline that they choose.

For example, Sofiya mentioned her excitement in taking classes at UMass Amherst that diverge from her classical education background, such as a course on Gender Studies. Although she was initially worried about moving to the United States and taking courses with which she was unfamiliar, Sofiya mentioned that the welcoming atmosphere and stimulating discussions between teachers and students have made for an entirely positive experience. She stressed that opening oneself up to new cultures and ideas allows you to learn “things you don’t even know exist,” even if the process may seem daunting. When asked what advice she would give to students considering an international exchange, she replied enthusiastically, “Do it!” Whether it’s the new food you try or the friendships you create, partaking in an international exchange, Sofiya said, is an experience that you will cherish forever and never forget.

For more information about the UMass Amherst-Forlì Exchange Program, please reach out to Professor Roberto Ludovico or click here for details.