• Frances with one of the other Duke students on her program: two Japanese students, one Italian student and a student from Boston University on an island off Venice called Burano, which is famous for its colorful houses.
Frances and group on an island off Venice called Burano, which is famous for its colorful houses.

Frances Beroset is a junior graduating in May 2019 with a Literature and Psychology double major. She spent the fall of her junior year studying abroad with Duke in Venice. Here, she reminisces about the experience.  

 

On how some of her ideas and perceptions changed as a result of doing the program… 

“I was surprised to see how different models of education are in other countries. The globalization program at Venice International University draws American, Belgian, Japanese, German, Israeli, Italian and French students, and I think many of us were really interested to learn how, for example, in many European countries, a master's degree is expected for most types of white-collar work, or that Germans and Belgians receive almost complete funding from the government for their education. The professors are also from many different countries, and they have very different styles of teaching, depending on where they're from."  

 

On why she selected Duke in Venice… 

 “I picked Duke in Venice because I wanted to continue my study of Italian while also taking classes with the academic rigor that drew me to Duke in the first place.” 

 

On how her skills and knowledge have changed, thanks to the program… 

“I learned a lot about the politics of food from Charlie Thompson, who's actually a professor at Duke. It's something I've always thought is important, and though I don't plan to continue with that work academically, I am definitely continuing to think more critically about my relationship with food and how my choices impact both the environment and the people who share the world with me. In fact, my New Year's resolution was to waste less food and start growing more of my own food in my Central Campus apartment!” 

Frances and group at a Venetian mask-making workshop. These famous masks used to be worn every day in Venice.
Frances and group at a Venetian mask-making workshop. These famous masks used to be worn every day in Venice.

On something that surprised her about the program…

“I was surprised to find out how unusual Venice is compared to almost every other city in the world. In some ways, it's incredibly beautiful and romantic, but it also has a lot of problems with its politics and infrastructure, and a lot of dark spots in its history! It can be a really inconvenient place to live just because of the way that it's built, but I think I learned a lot from that experience, too.” 

 

On her greatest takeaway from the program… 

“My biggest learning experience was getting to learn with – and be friends with – the students from other countries. That wasn't why I originally selected the program, but it was what I came to appreciate the most.” 

 

On how the program will play into the rest of her undergraduate experience… 

“Studying more of the humanities and stepping away from my usual psychology coursework for a semester really helped me refocus what I'm interested in. I loved the classes on public policy, theater and philosophy that I took in Venice, so I plan to continue to read about those issues and take more classes based on what interests me, rather than just the department designation.” 

View from the Bridge of Sighs, which was named by the poet Lord Byron because it was supposedly the last view that people convicted of crimes would get of Venice before being locked into the prison. 
View from the Bridge of Sighs, which was named by the poet Lord Byron because it was supposedly the last view that people convicted of crimes would get of Venice before being locked into the prison.

On how the program will affect her post-graduation plans… 

“I actually plan to go into education and teach in rural North Carolina, where I've always lived. Before Venice, Durham was by far the biggest city I'd ever lived in, and now I feel like I'm able to bring a little bit more worldliness to the work that I do with children. I've become more adventurous with my choices now that I know I can survive outside the state!” 

 

On advice she has for other students considering this program… 

“I would encourage people thinking about Duke in Venice to check out the course listings for the upcoming semesters, since the classes I took really did have a big impact on my experience in Venice and my undergraduate experience overall.”
 

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Duke in Venice

 

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