Stephanie Kentepozidis is a La Trobe Bachelor of Media and Communications student with a passion for fashion.
Earlier this year, Stephanie went to Italy on a life-changing study abroad program. She explains how she overcame niggling doubts to adapt to this exciting international experience.
In January I went to Italy for a program called Media and Communications for the Fashion Industry. It runs as a short, summer intensive over three and a half weeks. It counted towards 15 credit points of my university degree and was taught in English.
I took on the course with the aim of building my practical communications skills in fashion. The program covered topics like trend forecasting, photography, fashion writing and fashion blogging. Our major assignments were a fashion blog and a styled photoshoot.
The content and teachers were amazing, and the location really influenced every aspect of the experience. The teachers were zealous about sharing the history behind the city and linking it to the course material. I walked past historic monuments every day. You get the chance to get in tune with a culture unlike your own.
A highlight was attending Pitti Uomo, a menswear fashion trade fair. There was a massive area where models, photographers and journalists from around the world were doing candid photoshoots. I found myself talking with everyone and walking away with professional candid photos of my own and a pocket full of business cards.
If it wasn’t for all the interviews I’d done as part of my journalism course, I would have been too shy to approach strangers who may or may not speak English.
As a newbie to travelling alone, I was nervous about venturing overseas. But once I was there, the gelato-pizza-pasta-study-repeat lifestyle really grew on me. When I began to settle into my new, wondrous surrounding in Florence, I was so happy to be using the skills learned in my degree in a foreign setting. Living in ‘Italian time’ influenced many of my ideas.
Applying for the program at first felt a bit daunting. However, La Trobe partners with AIM Overseas – the company running the program – and that made the process a lot easier. AIM could answer La Trobe-specific questions and they even had a form that showed you how to apply for the program as a La Trobe student.
You’ve got to be in it to win it. If I’m honest, I never expected to be accepted into the course. I just worked hard on my application and was lucky enough to be put through. If I hadn’t put my hand up, it might not have been me going.
The skills I learnt were practical, complement my course and make me stand out from the rest. What I get to take away from this experience is a better understanding of how a foreign market operates in my area of study, and some memories with people from across Australia who I can call lifelong friends.
I think back on this program as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don’t hesitate to get out of your comfort zone and try a new time zone, because the skills you learn at La Trobe will only grow with a study abroad experience.
Explore opportunities that could take you around the world. Courses like La Trobe’s Bachelor of Media and Communications let you gain overseas experience and earn credit for your degree.