Paolo Rovetta and Susanna Vercesi are University of Bergamo students studying at FDU’s College at Florham. Photo courtesy of Susanna Vercesi.
Every semester, students from Fairleigh Dickinson University take the trip of a lifetime with their classmates to study abroad in England at Wroxton College. The students live in an unfamiliar setting with people they know from school.
This fall, FDU has welcomed two students who are studying abroad from Bergamo, Italy.
Paolo Rovetta and Susanna Vercesi are studying in America and are ready for a semester to remember. But, unlike the Wroxton experience, they did not know anyone upon arriving at FDU. In fact, Rovetta and Vercesi, who seem to have been best friends for a long time, just met once before departing for America.
Both students go to college in their home city at the University of Bergamo, which has a partnership with FDU. Currently, four FDU students are living in Bergamo through that partnership.
Originally, there were supposed to be four students from the University of Bergamo spending a semester at the College at Florham, but only Rovetta and Vercesi decided to take the trip. The Metropolitan Campus, on the other hand, has four students from the University of Bergamo studying there for the semester. In order to study at FDU, each student had to take an oral test that was about five hours long.
Both students are fitting in nicely as they find out they have similar hobbies as other students on campus.
Rovetta, who is 24 years old, is in his fifth and final year of school in Italy. (In Italy, students go to college for five years, as opposed to four years in America). He is a criminology major at FDU. He enjoys sports, especially soccer, and bass guitar.
Vercesi, a communication studies major, is also 24 but only in her third year of school. She enjoys singing, theater and playing piano, which she has been doing for 14 years.
When asked about the differences between America and Italy, Vercesi quickly yelled, “We have better food!” Then she added, “people are more friendly when you don’t know them; we were invited to a home and they were so welcoming.”
The two also said that the universities are different. Parts of their university are all around the city of Bergamo. It is not a small, connected campus like the College at Florham.
Classes are also bigger at the University of Bergamo. Their classes usually range from 120 to 125 students. Also, there are no midterms, just finals, which usually count as a big part of their grade.
Vercesi jokingly explained another difference. “Everyone always asked how are you, and I thought they wanted a big conversation, but I found out that’s how you say hi.”
Both students had a choice of which semester they wanted to come to FDU and both preferred the fall. “I chose fall because it’s the better season in New York and New Jersey,” Rovetta said.
Since coming to America, Rovetta and Vercesi have accomplished a lot on their list of things to do. During Labor Day weekend they both experienced Atlantic City and did some gambling. They also took a trip to New York City to see “Mary Poppins” on Broadway and to go shopping. Vercesi also attended the U.S. Open to watch Andy Murray win over Novak Djokovic.
On Sept. 24, they will see the Yankees play, and they hope to visit Orlando, Fla., for fall break. “Trying to take on every opportunity possible,” Rovetta said.
They have also been active on campus. The two attended their first football game, but got soaked because of the rain. Rovetta met some students who play soccer and had a pick-up game with them. Vercesi enjoys theater and hopes to join cinema and radio-related groups.
They have yet to miss Italy because FDU has been so much fun.
“I Skype my parents and family when I want so it is easier to be here. I don’t miss Italy yet. The next few weeks I will probably miss Italy and my family for sure,” Rovetta said.
Though they have done a lot since they came to America, it will not be all fun and games once they have to concentrate on school-related work. As the semester progresses, they both hope to meet the goals they have set for themselves.
“We hope to improve our English and speak it more fluently,” Rovetta explained.
“We would like to pass all our classes too,” added Vercesi.