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Syracuse Abroad Student Recognized at City of Florence Welcome Event
Syracuse Florence students were given a warm reception to their new home city as part of the Student Welcome Day event in the famed historic Salone dei Cinquecento (Hall of the 500) at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence last month. The event was sponsored by the Comune di Firenze (town hall), the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI), and the U.S. Consulate.
Cristina Giachi, vice mayor of Florence, presided over the Feb. 5 event with additional remarks by Benjamin Wohlauer, consul general of the United States in Florence, and Portia Prebys, president of AACUPI. Syracuse Florence alumni and current student Alessandro Pugliese ’19 was one of a few selected alumni from study abroad programs in Florence to speak about his study abroad experiences and the impact studying abroad had on his professional pursuits.
Pugliese, a student double majoring in international relations and Italian language, literature and culture in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, is spending his third time in Florence with Syracuse Abroad. He is working on a project using calcio (soccer) as a tool to help with migrants’ integration into the fabric of Italy.
His first experience in Florence was in 2015 as a first-year student in the Discovery Florence Program through Syracuse Abroad. He then returned as a first-year mentor in 2017. Among other courses he took during that semester, he worked closely with La Fiorentina (the Florence soccer team) as an intern and helped with their marketing strategy geared toward study abroad students. This semester, he is taking courses at the University of Florence in Italian.
“[Speaking in the Salone dei Cinquecento] has happened only because Florence is a city that has captivated me with its history, art, culture and people,” Pugliese said at the event. “The city and its people have given me experiences and opportunities that have made me a different person. They will do the same for you.”
Pugliese received a prize at the event in recognition of his work in the city.
“Alessandro has taken full advantage of all that Syracuse Abroad in Florence has to offer. He has combined his academic goals and personal interests seamlessly to be able to graduate on time and with an amazing set of experiences that will bolster his professional aspirations,” says Sasha Perugini, director of Syracuse Abroad Florence. “His experience is something that can be shared with other students who may wonder how they can fit a Syracuse Abroad component into their own academic careers at Syracuse.”
After the alumni presentations at the welcome event, students enjoyed an orchestra concert and spoke with various volunteer organizations, including Angeli del Bello and Caritas; sports organizations, such as I Guelfi, an American football team based in Florence; and The Florentine, a local English language monthly newspaper.
Story by Melanie Honour, student life advisor with Syracuse Florence