Born and raised in Florence, I have had the chance to live, study, and work abroad – first, by getting a master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting in Seville, Spain, then by working for 3 years in London. Seville has captured my heart with its colors, narrow streets that remind me of Florence, and the cheerfulness of its inhabitants. London has taught me how to survive in such a hectic environment while enriching me with its vibrant and multicultural vibe.
Having the opportunity to be in contact with different cultures during my education and work experience, has really opened my mind and allowed me to understand how much you can learn just by looking at things from a different perspective. I am passionate about learning new languages and always looking to find the next interesting challenge: lately, I have been trying with Romanian and it’s been super interesting!
Giorgia is a Florence native and proud dog mom to Bacco. She graduated from the University of Florence with a degree in Interpretation and Translation. During the pandemic, she took the opportunity to expand her knowledge and is now pursuing a degree in Linguistics. When she’s not studying, she loves playing volleyball, a sport she’s been passionate about since she was 8 years old.
Before working at ISI Florence, Giorgia worked at a 4-star hotel in Florence. Her love for meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about new cultures made her switch to the education field. She’s fluent in English, French, and Spanish, and loves exploring Spain – Cordoba is her absolute favorite city! She enjoys eating delicious gelato and going to concerts.
Anna Luisa Schirru
Moving to Tuscany has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made and, after 13 years, I can finally call it home! It all started in 2010 when I left my hometown in the south of Sardinia to study at the University of Siena. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy but now I’m glad I have three different locations I can call ‘my places’.
After my bachelor’s degree in Italian Literature, I got a master’s in Italian Linguistics and Cognitive studies. During my university years, I had the opportunity to study abroad – first for six months in the UK and then for one year in Indiana, where I worked as an Italian teaching Assistant at DePauw University.
These experiences abroad taught me that cultural differences are what make real connections between people, and I like to consider them resources more than barriers. Starting in an international environment and experiencing cultural differences, students have the biggest chance to grow as they face new challenges every day. From my own personal experience, I can say that the most I’ve learned as a student was during my time spent miles away from my hometown, family and friends, being fully immersed in a completely different country and lifestyle.
Once back from the United States, I decided that international education was the right environment in which I wanted to work and I’ve been working for the past 5 years in the housing field of international institutes in Florence. I consider being a consistent part of students’ abroad experience as a privilege knowing that, for them, it’s going to be a life-changing experience.
Working with international students is a continuous exchange and a great possibility to meet people and make friends from all over the world.
Born and raised in Florence, Viola got her Bachelor’s Degree and then completed a Master’s Degree in Linguistics, Literary and Intercultural Studies with two theses focusing on the Harry Potter Saga.
After her studies, she worked for two years in the field of Marketing and Social Media, before finding her way to ISI Florence.
Lover of all things artsy and creative, during her free time you might find her kneading some bread or pizza dough or exploring one of her many hobbies.
She often calls herself a “crazy cat lady” and wishes she could live multiple lives just to have more cats.
Friendly reminder: never ask for a well-done steak in her presence! Like any Florentine, she might be offended.
US Office Staff - Enrollment Management & Institutional Relations Assistant
Amanda Fontana is a member of the ISI Abroad team, serving as an Enrollment Management and Institutional Relations Assistant. She previously interned with ISI Abroad in Perugia working in Student Services team and Community Engagement. She is passionate about the future of Americans studying abroad in Italy and becoming global citizens. Despite being a native of the Boston area, her favorite football team is the Ohio State Buckeyes (her alma mater). One of her favorite things about traveling and studying abroad, especially in Italy, is trying new foods and discovering the history behind each dish!
Emiliano was born and raised in Florence, where he now lives with his three dogs. After getting his Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Event Planning in Florence, he decided to get a Master’s in Cinema & Television because of his passion for the entertainment industry. Emiliano loves traveling and his favorite city in the world is London, where he goes every time he can. “I fell in love with London since the moment I landed. London allows you to be you, and there’s nothing more important and beautiful than that”.
Before working at ISI Florence, Emiliano worked for a coworking space in Florence as the Host and Event Manager, and he discovered his interest in working with people of different backgrounds who have different stories to share. This has led him to be more interested in the study abroad experience.
“I think meeting people from all over the world allows you to be more empathic and open-minded. People have different stories to share and you can always treasure it”.
Karen, originally from Venezuela, completed her law degree before embarking on an exciting adventure to Sydney, Australia. During her five-year stay, she made a significant career shift by studying marketing and gaining experience in customer service.
This new path led Karen to a fulfilling role in the student services field, where she found great joy in helping international students from Spanish-speaking countries. Connecting with students from diverse backgrounds enriched her life in many ways.
Throughout her journey, Karen developed a deep love for Italian culture, with Florence capturing her heart. She longed to experience the city’s rich artistic heritage and multicultural atmosphere. Luckily, for the past six years, Florence has become her home, allowing her to immerse herself in the community and embrace the local culture.
Joining ISI Florence gives Karen the perfect opportunity to bring together her skills and knowledge acquired along her journey.
Associate Director for Student Life
I was born and raised in California, but having lived here for the better part of the past 20 years, Italy feels just as much my home as the US.
After spending my junior year studying in Trento, Italy as part of the University of California Education Abroad Program, I couldn’t wait to make my way back!
I earned my BA in Sociology and Italian Language & Literature from UCSB, and my MA in Postsecondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. I feel very lucky to have worked at both US and Italian higher education institutions which have allowed me insight into both systems as well as what students may experience at every step of their international experience.
My biggest piece of advice to those of you who are embarking on your time in Italy: understand it’s not all “bella vita” all the time. Living abroad can be very rewarding, but it’s no joke. Just know those times that feel most difficult at the moment will turn into some of your favorite memories of how you made it through the challenges. You can do it! And we’re here to help.