Here is the admin bio.

Alexandra Meyers

Having never travelled to Europe, I knew this trip was going to be an unimaginable experience, but my expectations were most definitely exceeded just after one day of living in Urbino. Although Urbino is such a small town, it has taught me bigger things that I am going to remember and carry with me for the rest of my life. This once in a lifetime opportunity has not only helped me grow my skills with regards to media, but it has also helped me discover who I am and showed me what I want to contribute to this world. I learned that friends come from the most unexpected opportunities like this one. I learned that if you are passionate enough about something, it doesn’t feel like work. And most importantly, I learned that a trip to the gelato shop is the best way to procrastinate getting work done. I cannot thank Urbino enough for what its given, showed, and taught me; as well as the strangers that turned into lifelong friends. Until next time, Urbino!

Alisa McCaleb

Urbino is a remarkable place I honestly never thought that I would get the opportunity to experience but am so thankful that I did. Though it is such a small town, the exploration here is endless. There is always something to do whether that’s shop around at the Saturday market or grab a cappuccino at Cafe Basili. After only being here for a week, Urbino already felt like home to me. I am so grateful for the amazing mentors and translators that I got to work so closely with, and for my fellow classmates who quickly became my great friends. I made connections with so many people with such ease here, and it made this a truly unforgettable experience. I do wish I could stay longer than a month; there is so much more to learn. This experience really challenged me academically but also brought me so much tranquility. I am confident that the knowledge and skills that I acquired from this program will widely help me with my future efforts. Immersing myself into this tasteful culture taught me a lot about patience and understanding, as well as broadened my horizons tremendously.

Anelise Johnson

Urbino was everything and more than I could have imagined when I pictured the Italian study abroad “experience”. Its charming cobblestone paths and lively piazza welcomed me, and my excitement about studying here grew even stronger as I got to know other students at the University of Urbino. Urbino is one of those places that, when you’re here, you can’t get enough of it, and when you’re gone, you long to go back “home”. I am grateful to have improved my media skills, from Adobe Illustrator to photojournalism, in such a picturesque and dynamic city. Thank you to my professors, mentors, and the city of Urbino for challenging and inspiring me this summer.

Anna Thornton

Anna is a student at James Madison University.

Audrey Valentine

I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but I never imagined it to be an experience like this. I remember finding out about the program and thinking that Italy would be the most amazing place to live for an extended period of time and I knew I had to do it. Being in Urbino, I’ve learned so much about not only the content of the course but about culture, independence, and myself. I could have never imagined the people I would meet and the relationships I would make. I am very grateful for this experience and to be able to share my experience with others back at JMU.

Bob Reeder

Camille Duong

Studying abroad was never something I thought would be a part of my college experience. Seeing friends of mine take the leap and study abroad in Europe is what truly inspired me. When my best friends from home dropped me off at the airport one friend asks, “How are you feeling?”. All I responded with was “I am really nervous”. The second I arrived in the town of Urbino all the anxiousness went away. I was in a completely new environment with old friends and new. Immersing myself in a completely new culture from my own, while also doing what I love. It has been the experience of a lifetime. I have learned more about my craft, other cultures, and myself during this adventure. I can’t wait to see what other experiences and travels there are for me in the future.

Caroline Shelly

I remember getting an email in 2020 for the SMAD trip to Urbino, Italy. I had just gotten into the major and knew I always wanted to study abroad. I was so thrilled about the opportunity I didn’t even glance at the name “Urbino,” I saw the word “Italy” and knew I wanted to go. Throughout the next two years, patiently waiting for the program to start up again after a long hiatus from COVID-19, we were approved to go. When I explained to friends and family I was going to Urbino, Italy, they did the same thing I had done – disregarded the city name and focused on the country, Italy. Now that I have been here and experienced the town of Urbino, the people, and the culture of this area it will never be forgotten. Urbino will forever be at the forefront of my mind when I think of Italy. It is unlike any place I have ever been. It has become my home. I am so fortunate to have been able to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. Participating in a class that has never been taught before, creating with media professionals and outstanding professors, and making new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Right before I left for this trip, I was very nervous. The nerves had been building for two long years of waiting and now that it was here, I just couldn’t believe it. My mom said something to me that I try and repeat to myself every day since I’ve been in Urbino, “You get to say that you lived in Italy.” It is so true. We didn’t just visit here, take a tour, or walk around a heavily populated area where most English-speaking Americans are. We truly immersed ourselves into the culture and lifestyle of Urbino, and that is something I will forever be grateful for and think of when I hear the word “Italy.”

Cooper Crowell

I came to Urbino with the intention of immersing myself in a different culture while also furthering my design skills; what I experienced was that and so much more. Having the privilege to live in a different country and experience its culture through both the lens of a student and as just a traveler has been one of the most fulfilling experiences. Creating a magazine as an homage to this beautiful city has been my favorite way to truly understand the rich history of Urbino. After almost a month of living here, I feel less like a tourist and more like a resident. I am so appreciative of all of the professors, interpreters, and mentors who have helped me feel like I am at home here. We couldn't have made this magazine without the amazing direction of Elisabeth Kvernen; her patience and creativity created such an amazing environment that allowed us all to thrive as designers. Ciao, Urbino!

Daniel Diaz

Like many students who came to Urbino, my main reason for signing up was simply because I had never been to Europe before and I was looking for a cool experience to start off my summer. I knew I would be making a documentary for my film class while in Urbino, but what I didn’t expect was being able to document something so rare that Urbino is one of the only places on Earth where it can be found. Making a documentary on Bruno Cerboni Bajardi and his engraving academy has been one of the biggest privileges of this trip. It introduced me to an art with centuries of history and culture, and all of this was a 5 minute walk from my dorm. It has been one of the most unique filming experiences of my life, and I’m truly grateful to have been a part of it. Spending this time in Urbino has been one of the most fruitful times of my life. I’ve been able to immerse myself in the rich culture of this ancient city. The food, art, and traditions within the walls of Urbino make it like no other place on Earth. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had will stay with me forever, and I hope to be able to return here someday soon.

Deni Chamberlin

Eliana Pritchett

This program was the perfect way to conclude my college education. In past classes, I had learned about journalism and communication techniques but I had never had the opportunity to practice them outside of a college campus. This program allowed me to practice what I had learned, pick up new skills, and experience individualized mentorship. It also pushed me to immerse myself in the culture and seek out interesting stories. Studying journalism while abroad encouraged me to view my experiences from a different perspective and appreciate the minutiae that make up the world around me. I am so grateful for my experience here and the connections I made.

Emily Kozel

Coming to Urbino was one of the best decisions I have made regarding my college experience. The class was very immersive and gave me the opportunity to put my skills to the test in real time. I learned a lot about Italian culture and was given the chance to work with translators. This program pushed me outside my comfort zone and helped me grow as a journalist by interviewing a large variety of people, most of which did not speak English. During my time in Urbino, I drank a lot of crema cafe, ate a lot of pasta, and learned a lot about wine. I will always treasure the memories and the friends that I made in Urbino.

Fabiola Garcia

I have always wanted to study abroad, but I never thought I’d get to the point of doing it. I would let fear and doubt of being in a country without family by my side scare me from the idea. After the pandemic, my viewpoint took more of a carpe-diem-route, and I’m so glad it did. Studying abroad in Urbino has been so fruitful. It is hard to describe everything I have managed to experience in our time here. I’ve gotten to learn and gain more experience in documentary filming in a hands-on manner rather than just in a classroom learning mode. I made close relationships with other students, faculty, and with the locals who were extremely kind. I reveled in learning Italian culture and the Italian way of life with my peers. In our free weekends, we got to explore on our own the different sites of Italy. Traveling to Venice was a bonding experience. Porto Recanati was a happy accident when we booked there but it quickly became one of my favorite places I’ve visited. Urbino, of course, was the home away from home. I was always so relieved to come back from our free weekends and know I was back in the streets that were so familiar to me. I plan on returning because of how much I have enjoyed my time here.

Grace Clukey

I have always wanted to study abroad during college, but I had no idea how much the experience would impact me. Urbino is the first place I have visited outside of the United States, and it now feels like home to me. I have found comfort in this city, in the breathtaking views, and in the people that I have met here. Having no previous journalism experience, I was forced to step outside my comfort zone during this program. Thanks to my professors, mentors, and translator, I discovered a passion for journalism through the story I covered. I couldn't have asked for a better study abroad experience; the memories I've made here from the places I've visited and the people I've met will last a lifetime, and Urbino will always hold a special place in my heart.

Ivy Secrest

I feel incredibly lucky to have experienced this program. Even when my initial story took a turn and I had to start over there was no point where I felt like I had failed to gain meaningful experiences (and I mean is anything really stressful if you end your day with aperitivo?). I’ve been able to connect with local farmers, students, business owners, and public officials in the process of developing my story. Following an economic and then an environmental pitch I was able to learn so much about this community, the struggles they face the strengths they possess. I’ve seen things my little art-loving heart has only dreamed of and learned a lot about how to report abroad. I’ve made good friends who have been kind enough to welcome me into their lives and show me Urbino from their perspective. I was also able to improve upon my reporting skills in a way that is simply inaccessible to most college students. Urbino is an outstanding city filled with wonderfully kind, and welcoming people who have made this trip stand out from any other. I simply could not be more grateful that I was able to experience this wonderful place and will certainly be returning should I ever be so lucky again.

James Crowley

The time I’ve spent in Urbino has been one that I will always remember as the start of a new chapter in my life. This has been my first trip to Europe and the first time I truly felt like I was living a different life than the one I have been living for the past twenty years. It was a deep breath of fresh air and a truly enriching experience that I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of. This trip has taught me a lot about being out of my comfort zone and investing myself in a different culture and new way of life. I chose to come on this trip hoping it would kickstart my journey of traveling to different places all over the world, documenting new experiences and events along my way. Now departing from Urbino, it feels like that’s exactly what this trip has done for me.

Jennifer Yeager

Studying in Urbino has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Before the trip, I was most excited about our free weekends, to explore bigger cities in Italy, such as Florence, and Venice. The weekends away were amazing, making sure to see all the big tourist attractions. However, by the end of the weekend, I always was ready to return back to Urbino. Urbino will forever feel like home, even though I have only lived here for a month. This place has shaped me into a better student, and better journalist, and opened my eyes to a whole new cultural perspective. I will forever be grateful for my family, professors, and this city for giving me this wonderful opportunity. I cannot wait to return to the city later in life for aperitivo in the piazza.

Jolie Smith

After visiting Rome a few years ago with my family, I knew I wanted to return to Italy one day. The Urbino SMAD trip seemed like a unique opportunity, though I remember feeling skeptical about the small town it was located in—would there be enough to do there? The short answer: Yes! Urbino is a beautiful, charming, and exciting small town. From the friendly shopkeepers and the breathtaking scenery to the dance recital in the square and the university students gathered at the piazza at night—this town is special. I not only got to witness the Urbino way of life, but be truly immersed in it for a month. I have grown to feel like a part of the town, rather than a constant tourist. I learned a good deal about documentary filmmaking through my classes here, but the most valuable lessons I learned came directly from talking to my subjects and interpreters. I learned to communicate across language and cultural barriers and create lasting friendships through this communication. I will miss the weekend trips, the daily gelato, my Italian friends, and finding new places to explore every day. However, I am looking forward to having a big American bowl of Chipotle when I return to the US!

Jordan Anderson

Here we studied journalism, photography, and videography. As a student aspiring to go into the artistic field, coming to Urbino was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Before the program, I had never heard of this town. Little did I know, it would be life-changing. I made lifelong friends, connections, and was given opportunities only one can find abroad. This town is filled with wonderful people, and breathtaking scenery. Living here for only 4 weeks felt like a dream, and I could not wait to share my experience with my family and friends. I want to thank the amazing people who helped me along the way, and those who ran the program. Truly grateful for this opportunity. Grazié mille!

Julia Yeager

This experience has been a trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to participate. Initially, I was a little bit nervous, never having been out of the country, but Urbino has felt nothing but home. This experience took me out of my comfort zone personally and academically and I am so thankful for all my mentors, professors, translators, and students I got to build relationships with. I will never forget this month I spent here, and this trip has made me want to see the world even more! While I am sad to leave Urbino, I know I will cherish these memories forever. Grazie Urbino, ciao!

Katherine Rouskas

Even though I had been excited to study abroad since I started at JMU, I found myself feeling extremely nervous when I arrived at the airport in Italy. I had no idea what to expect, if I would meet people, or if I would be able to document a great story. When we arrived in Urbino I was instantly captivated by the unique beauty of the city, and I realized that even though I was uncertain about what my time here would look like, I was about to have a great adventure. I quickly fell in love with the city of Urbino, the old cobblestone streets, the food (especially crescia and gelato), the stunning views of the Italian country, and the overall lifestyle and culture here. Sitting in the piazza and just enjoying the people and always lively atmosphere became one of my favorite activities. I have been lucky enough to make some amazing Italian friends and friends within the program, travel to Venice and Sirolo, and even got to learn how to make authentic Italian gelato for my documentary! Besides getting to learn so much about a new culture, new people, and many useful photography and filmmaking skills, I also learned so much about myself. I learned that I could step out of my comfort zone and that I can create stories and connections that matter. I am forever grateful for the people I have met here and learned from, everyone who helped me get here, and the absolutely unforgettable experience I had here in Urbino. I hope to be back someday!

Laura Bessellieu

When I first came across this program, little did I know that it would be an experience of a lifetime. I had no idea what was in store for me when I first arrived in Urbino. Coming to Urbino has forced me to go out of my comfort zone—and I could not be more grateful. Urbino has quickly become one of my favorite places and it was the perfect place for me to have my study abroad experience. I have multiple places that I am lucky enough to call home: Virginia, James Madison University, and now Urbino, Italy. This quiet but lively small town has been so good to me; Urbino forced me to immerse myself in the Italian culture and learn so many new things. I am leaving this place with a newfound love for Italy, amazing new friends, lots of funny stories, and an experience I would recommend time and time again. Lastly, I want to give a huge thank you to my parents for letting me come to Italy and be involved with this amazing program! I can’t wait to come back to Italy someday!

Lauren Nordseth

I’ve always heard people say, “studying abroad changed my life,” but it wasn’t until I actually embarked on this experience that I fully understood what that meant. Before coming to Urbino, I informed my family and friends that I would be in Italy but didn't know how to explain what Urbino was like because I'd never heard of it prior to this program. After a few Google searches I gained a better understanding of what the landscape might look like, but it wasn't until I stepped out of the bus that it fully hit me. The beautiful stone architecture, cobblestone walkways, and friendly faces instantly made me feel at home. No amount of jet lag could interfere with the excitement that came over our entire group as we all stood in awe of the quaint but lively city. Urbino’s culture, traditions, mountain views and way of life have truly made an impact on me that I will cherish forever. Urbino allowed me to be a student in Italy for a month while learning the language and collaborating with students and faculty from various backgrounds. I’m so grateful for the experiences and hands-on opportunities this program has given me and Urbino will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to my parents for supporting this journey, Elisabeth Kvernen and all of the other faculty for the amazing teaching direction, and Urbino for becoming my second home.

Lida Haut

Lida is a student at Rider University.

Lyuben Kraev

Nothing I’ve experienced and no place I’ve been to so far touched me quite like the time I spent in Urbino. These few weeks of exploration coupled with mentorship from industry professionals helped me gain remarkable insight into the work and life of a foreign reporter. I honed my skills as a writer, photographer and videographer, and I got to hear fascinating stories from locals with the help of our incredible translators. Out here amidst the paved streets, where the fragrance of delicious regional cuisine mixes in the air with lively chatter from all directions, storytelling comes to you naturally. Urbino offers something novel for any aspiring journalist with a curiosity for the historical, cultural or culinary – all it takes are a few words of Italian and an adventurous spirit. I will treasure the experience I gained and the memories I made with my sources and colleagues, and heartfully recommend this program. Ci vediamo, Urbino!

Madeline Edwards

Tapping my toes with much anticipation as the bus pulled up on a cobblestone road was far from my expectations of this quaint but lively town. A sense of calm swept through my body walking the streets of Urbino for the first time, I was home. Professors passed small shops and restaurants waving hello to familiar faces as we made our way through the streets of Urbino and cultivated an atmosphere where my fellow classmates and I could thrive. Since being here, I am not just another tourist, but instead a part of the community, immersing myself into new culture, relationships, and learning opportunities. Just like the professors, I walk the streets of Urbino waving hello and being recognized as part of the town. I am grateful to able to study abroad and want to thank my mentors, translators, and professors for challenging me to step out of my comfort zone and open my eyes to new walks of life. Urbino, you are one of kind, and I hope to be back!

Madison Munson

I knew I would regret it if I didn’t study abroad while I was in college. This experience isn’t just something I won’t regret; it is one I will cherish for the rest of my life. While Urbino isn’t a big-name city in Italy like Rome or Florence, it is full of magic. Each resident has a zest for life I have never experienced anywhere else, and every day offers something new. It has been so inspiring working here. Witnessing my peers discover so many beautiful stories and even more beautiful ways to tell them has been an absolute honor. While I can’t wait to regale my family and friends with all of my stories from being abroad, I will miss being woken up by pigeon coos, drinking incredible cappuccinos, and getting to see the beautiful sights Urbino has to offer every day. I am confident that there is no other place in the world like Urbino, and I will be eternally grateful for my time here.

Maggie Flournoy

When I first started college, I always knew I wanted to study abroad. It was something I had always dreamed of but thought I had no time for. Coming across the Urbino study abroad program was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I had visited Italy once before for a short time and loved it, so I knew this would be the program for me. I never would have anticipated falling in love with this walled-in city the way that I have now. Being able to create a documentary while living in such a historic and beautiful city has been such an impactful experience. I never thought that making a documentary about a local gelato shop would have led to me eating free gelato that I helped make for breakfast multiple days, but it is one of my most memorable experiences. I know that I will never forget the friends I have made and the experiences I have had here. Urbino is a city that became a second home for me faster than I would have ever expected, especially since I was so nervous to come without knowing anyone in the program previously. I know the second I step back in the United States I will be missing the bustling scene of the piazza, the seemingly endless vodka-lemons, and the delicious gelato.

Michael Gold

Milena Brown

This month I've spent in Urbino has by far been the fastest month of my life. This trip has been jam-packed with learning photography, videography, and reporting, as well as exploration and adventuring throughout the country of Italy. Every day as I'd walk around campus, pass by the Duomo, the Ducal Palace, and the artist Raphael's home, I'd think to myself, "Wow, people really get to go to school here and see this every day,", but then I'd realize, I am one of those lucky people! Each day I spent here I learned something new, inside the classroom, and especially outside the classroom. I had the opportunity to take weekend trips to Venice and Sirolo, both of which are beautiful places. But funny enough, I always found myself missing Urbino. One of the most important things I've learned here is that experience is always the best teacher. The hands-on approach to learning has helped me leave my comfort zone and gain confidence in my abilities using different types of media. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a student here in Urbino, have the help of amazing translators, and to work amongst media professionals whose advice will stick with me throughout my career. Thanks for everything Urbino, I hope to be back one day!

Milo Mora

My experience here in Urbino was nothing short of exciting. This journey and its memories will stay with me forever. Before coming, I told my mom how crazy it was, to be traveling halfway around the world, not knowing anybody. Coming to a small town I had never heard of until I read a school email. I wouldn’t have thought I’d end up here, speaking messy Italian, drinking vodka-lemons, and meeting a whirlwind of new friends from home and abroad. But here I am, writing about something so interesting, taking photos of wonderful people and places, it feels like a dream sometimes. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the helpful faculty who arranged it all, my amazing parents, and the friends I made along the way. So I’d just like to say thank you all!

Molly O'Shea

My month in Urbino has provided me with experiences I could have never imagined. Between the incredible group of professors and journalism professionals guiding our work, to the historic city itself, this time has been transformative. This program has grown my understanding of what it means to be a journalist, from the challenges of interviewing, to the impacts of my visual storytelling. It has also provided me with an amazing community that embraced a group of American students with open arms, and a love for Italy. I am already counting down the days until I get to come back! Thank you so much to everyone involved with making these last four weeks so rewarding, I can’t wait to come back to Urbino soon.

Nicole Basile

One day as I was sitting in a cafe in the middle of Urbino, I came across a quote that truly resonates with my time here. It stated, “ let your smile be your logo, your personality be your business card, and how you leave others feeling after an experience with you be your trademark.” Naturally, I could go on for hours about the plethora of talents I developed while working on the Urbino NOW magazine project, including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc. Even though all of that has been helpful and will contribute to future employment, it still pales in comparison to the influence this town's atmosphere has had on me. I got wrapped up in such minor issues in America and felt like a robot going through the same thoughts and motions every day. However more than any class could ever teach me, going to Urbino has helped me to understand who I am. I've been looking for my passions and the essence of who I am as a person for almost 20 years. I can now state with certainty that I have discovered who I am as a young woman, all thanks to the people, place, and heart of Urbino. The phrase "how you leave others feeling after an experience with you be your trademark" is the element of the quote that truly resonates with me. This town has encouraged me to leave a positive imprint and lasting impression about myself to people, whether it be a mentor, a local restaurant owner, or even a random local roaming the streets. When people typically speak about studying abroad, they somehow always leave out the part where some of these people become family. I have made friends here that will always have a special place in my heart. Even though I've only been here for four weeks, I'm certain that this is an experience I'll never forget. Being a part of this program has given me the friendships, skills, memories, and happiness I have always dreamed of. Urbino, I'm grateful. I appreciate you giving me the extra push I needed to start loving life for what it is: to be genuinely happy.

Noah Beidleman

My experience in Urbino has been one unlike any before. Not only was I able to fully immerse myself within the Italian culture, but thanks to my story was able to take a glimpse into Ukrainian life as well. Getting to know the Ukrainian students will be something that I remember and cherish forever. Developing a story in another country with 2 or 3 different languages being thrown at you, was a challenging experience but one that I would never trade. I can thank my mentors as well as Urbino for pushing me out of my comfort zone and forcing me to fully admire the beauty in each aspect of a story. The experiences in Urbino have given me a deep appreciation for photography and provided me with a different view on how to capture not only a person but their culture and their story. I am confident and excited for my next endeavors in the world of Journalism and can thank Urbino and the wonderful people I’ve met for that.

Rebecca Smith

I knew I had always wanted to study abroad, and I thought Italy would be the perfect place for me. Signing up I was extremely nervous because I did not know anyone in the program, and I was stepping outside of my comfort zone. I did not know what to expect, but Urbino exceeded my expectations. I really feel like I have gotten the true Italian experience. Urbino is so beautiful, and I could not imagine studying abroad anywhere else. I have felt extremely safe here and everyone has been very welcoming. I met so many amazing people along the way, and even made lasting friendships. I truly feel like I have immersed myself into Italian culture and this experience has opened my eyes to another way of life. From exploring local shops and restaurants, traveling to Florence and Sirolo for the free weekends, enjoying the nightlife, and meeting the most amazing individuals, I would not trade this experience for the world. On top of that, being on the design team for the magazine taught me so much. Elisabeth Kvernen was the most incredible professor. She allowed me to explore my creative capabilities and taught me so much along the way. She is so patient, kind, and understanding. I would never have had this amazing opportunity without my parents, I am so fortunate to have parents that support me in all my endeavors. Urbino will always have a special place in my heart, and I will be coming back one day!

Reena Patel

When I secured this opportunity to study abroad, I knew I was in for the experience of a lifetime, one I had dreamed about for seven years. Urbino’s magic was palpable from the moment I saw its walls, and it didn’t fade for a single second I was here. But I never could have anticipated that this relatively obscure Italian city would feel like a second home to me. A part of my heart will remain in Urbino forever, but I sense that it has always been there. Though there is much to say of Urbino’s beauty and history (and gelato, night life, shops, etc.), nothing was more special than the people I met. They never stopped surprising me with their kindness, generosity, and love. Thank you to Susan West and Susan Biddle for being my biggest cheerleaders, Caffè Basili for housing me day and night, the translators for helping me survive (especially my soul sister Ilaria), everyone at Tartufi Antiche Bontà for their endless hospitality, and all the other extraordinary individuals who supported me mentally, emotionally, and physically — even if you didn’t realize it. It is the ultimate honor to call you all my friends.

Sabine Soltys

Ever since I was little reading and learning about Roman and Greek mythology, I knew that I wanted to go to Italy. And in high school I was fortunate enough to be able to do just that. But when I found out that I had the opportunity to actually live there I knew I had to go. I am in love with Urbino, with its gelato, falafels, chicken and fries, the views by the Raffaello statue, the crescia- shoutout La Baciocca, underground, becoming friends with some of the translators and especially its people who make me smile every day. It is an experience that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. I have learned so much and I am forever thankful to have been given the chance to go here.

Sarah Dills

People say you grow the most when you are uncomfortable and I have definitely found that to be true throughout my time studying abroad in Italy. Spending time in a new country with people I've never met, in a different and non-English speaking culture has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I have grown in so many unimaginable ways. From struggling to get past language barriers, running after trains, searching for the best crema caffè in the country, and eating at least one cone of gelato a day, I've had so many experiences and made memories that will last a lifetime. I have fallen in love with the city of Urbino and its friendly people, amazing food, and beautiful views. I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn about myself, improve my journalism skills, and discover the culture and history of Italy.

Sophie DiFrancesco

It’s so funny reflecting on my time here in Urbino. When I first came, I didn’t expect to learn so much, AND have the experiences of a lifetime in such a small amount of time. I have and always have been a theatre person, and adding my major was off a whim. After this summer, I can confidently say, I am so happy I added my second major. I have gotten to work with the most wonderful theatre makers, watch fantastic performances, and make lifelong friends. Taking photos of such a gorgeous city with people even more beautiful was so thrilling, and every snap of my camera brought me immense amounts of joy. This program has taught me that I love meeting new people and telling their stories. I love sharing those stories through writing and photography, and with the skills I have learned here from such wonderful mentors, I think I’ll be able to implement it in all the work I do in the future. I have always considered myself a theatre artist, but I think after this program, I will also consider myself a journalist too.

Steve Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a full professor in the School of Media Arts & Design. He is interested in interactive design, front-end web development, multimedia storytelling, video journalism and study abroad, not necessarily in that order. His websites have won the top awards from both the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication - AEJMC (Best of the Web Competition) and the Broadcast Education Association - BEA (Best of Festival).

Steven Anderson

Steven Anderson is a professor in the School of Media Arts & Design at James Madison University.

Susan Biddle

Susan West

Thomas Pierce

I am not sure why I decided to come to Urbino. I saw the email and felt the call to adventure, and having followed it I can safely assess that this shall be long secured in my memory. This was my greatest exposure to people of my major and I now know beyond any doubt that this was the right path for me. I have found in others a drive and inspiration that has ingratiated itself upon me, and I should be a very happy fellow indeed to possess a fraction of any other student’s talent and dedication.

Zoe Freisner

When I signed up to study in Urbino, I honestly had no idea what it was. All I knew was that I’d be getting SMAD credits and get to be in Italy, which was enough for me. However, I can now say that Urbino is one of my favorite places on Earth. Not only did I get to try amazing food, meet incredible people, and practice my Italian, but Urbino became a place that a piece of my heart will always reside. While I’m home having Panera for the third day that week, I know I’ll miss breakfasts at Caffè Basili, pizza from Crescia e Vino, and maybe a few too many drinks from Rio’s (sorry, Mom). Though my legs will hardly miss the steep climb of Via Raffaelo, the views from around Urbino will never leave my memory. I am so grateful for the opportunity to not only explore Italy and my Italian roots, but to also do work here that I am truly proud of. I am thankful to my wonderful documentary professors, the friends who helped me out of my shell, and of course my amazing parents for making this trip possible for me. Grazie mille, e vi voglio bene!