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Prato Campus Offers Immersion into Europe’s Multicultural Center

Study Abroad

In addition to providing an authentic Italian experience, the University’s campus in Prato, Italy, enables students to immerse themselves in one of the most multicultural centers in all of Europe.

Kevin Murphy leading a tour of Prato.

Prato, the second largest city in Tuscany, is home to nearly 120 ethnicities, creating an environment, said Kevin Murphy, director of the University’s campus in Prato, Italy, that is ideal for enabling students to develop a more international perspective.

“The multicultural experiences available in Prato make studying here a unique and rewarding experience,” said Murphy.

“As they move forward in their careers, Tuscany campus alumni can look back on their experiences in Prato when searching for the ever-important intercultural competency that is necessary for working on an international stage.”

Samantha Vaughn, student affairs coordinator for the Tuscany campus, said Prato offers a study abroad experience that is beyond what students would be exposed to in other Italian cities. “While studying abroad in Italy ensures an introduction to Italian language, life and culture, it is in Prato specifically where students are exposed to a wide array of additional cultures,” said Vaughn.

Immigration and Integration

Prato’s migrant population, said Murphy, also offers students a unique view into the struggles of mass immigration and integration, which can cause social issues. The city has become a case study for the implementation of a number of initiatives aimed at better integrating diverse races and cultures.

Recently, the leaders of the Tuscany campus, who hail from around the globe, hosted a conference titled “Migrant Prato: Proposals for Social Cohesion” that brought together academic scholars and community leaders, including the deputy mayor of Prato. Professor Laura DiPofi spoke about migrant literature and professor Piero Ianniello reflected on the meaning of “Italian-ness.”

Prato Campus Offers Immersion into Europe’s Multicultural Center

Also attending the conference was Betty Liu ’16. She spent two semesters in Prato, which is home to one to one of the largest Chinese communities in Europe, and said her experiences there sparked her interest in studying Chinese immigration. “My time in Prato brought me into contact with really interesting research topics in criminology, especially topics concerning Chinese migration,” said Liu, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge.

“As a Chinese immigrant, I am passionate about this issue,” Liu continued.“Being able to get a global perspective in my undergraduate studies enabled me to develop relevant research questions that I can explore in graduate school. Also, it is always very special to know you have a social and academic support network in Italy that you can ‘come home’ to whenever you need to.”