Brookdale student Lauren Hansen thought that experiencing the world renowned food, culture, and aesthetic traditions of Italy would only be a dream. Through the help of the International Center and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship that dream trip became a reality.
On January 29 2013, Hansen travelled to Italy where she studied at Lorenzo de Medici (LDM) Italian International Institute for four months. Hansen, who is also a licensed Aesthetician, eventually wants to own her own spa fashioned after the practices found in Italy, a country renowned for its ancient spas that date back to medieval times. She discovered her passion for helping people make the best of their appearance and wellbeing while working in the spa industry for several years.
Hansen never thought the opportunity to travel to Italy would be possible because of various financial obligations such as living expenses and schooling costs. After meeting with Dr. Janice Thomas, Director of the International Center, Hansen learned of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a program that awards up to $5000 to undergraduate students who receive the Pell grant. “Dr. Thomas and the International Center staff guided me through the application process step by step,” Hansen explained. “It required hard work on my part but I was awarded the scholarship which played an instrumental part in making my dream come true.”
While attending LDM, which is located in the midst of a storybook like setting in Florence, Hansen fulfilled the humanities and elective requirements towards her associate degree in business administration. Some of the courses she took included art history and global business. She also took a course titled The Science of Food, Health and Wellbeing that directly relates to her aesthetic passion. The course included a trip to local thermal and wellness centers including Terme Excelsior Centro Benessere and Terme di Montecatini. “This trip fit in with my purpose of going to Florence because I wanted to conduct my own spa research that will eventually guide the development of my business. I also met a few people that I consider to be good friends today,” Hansen stated.
Upon returning home from Italy, Hansen expressed that she never thought any of her experiences would be possible. “I’m anticipating graduating from Brookdale in Spring 2014, and I was able to accomplish my goals of going back to college, while repeatedly earning the Dean’s List, becoming a recognized member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor’s Society and studying abroad. Brookdale offers incredible programs and incentives that have helped me reach my potential and prepare for success in my future.”
Click here to see more pictures from Hansen’s trip on her blog, Adventures
in Italia. For more information on the International Education Center, click here.