AUF Student Spotlight

Florence Local Finds Most Suitable Schooling in American University Model

Irene della Lastra is a 22-year-old local to Florence, and currently a full-time student at The American University of Florence. She studied at a local high school in Florence, where she anchored her studies in economics. As she gained more experience in high school, della Lastra sought for a place where she could learn in a progressive, experiential setting that would help her reach her professional goals.


She is now a third-year student at AUF, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Management, with a concentration in Real Estate Management. She centers her studies around real estate, learning more about the ins and outs of the industry, with practical experiences.


Della Lastra has gotten to experience the real-life application of her chosen emphasis. She says, “Because I study a branch of hospitality, I get to experience working in the restaurant and real estate industry.”


Through AUF, della Lastra has gotten the opportunity to explore her area of expertise in a personalized, professional work setting. Daily interactions and hands-on experience in her chosen field has fostered personal and professional growth. 


The experiential learning process that AUF provides has proven to be greatly beneficial for della Lastra. As a Hospitality Management - Real Estate student, she has gotten tons of experience in both fields, providing technical skills that are not always applicable in the traditional classroom setting.


In addition to her studies, della Lastra is also a full-time employee at her family's business, Porfumeria Invicta. She works nearly every single day, with exceptions to some weekends. The experiential learning techniques used at AUF allows students to balance academic and professional commitments. This way, students need not limit themselves to one area of expertise or intellectual growth.


Studying at AUF has not only fostered personal and intellectual growth for della Lastra, but cultural growth as well. Because she is a local to Florence, she has witnessed many students come and go from all around the world, while she remains a constant. The rich diversity of students and faculty has encouraged students like della Lastra to immerse herself with the many cultures and languages. 


What sets AUF apart from other traditional Italian universities is her cultural understanding and growth. “[I meet] new people all the time. Many from America, Mexico, and France. It's wonderful, because all students can share experiences with each other… and you will understand other cultures.”


Della Lastra is enamored with the international nature of AUF, and she treasures her experience learning and working alongside people from many different cultures at AUF. 


She recalls her ability to speak English in high school, in comparison to now, which has grown an exponential amount. She has been able to learn English as a student at AUF from teachers and students alike. At AUF, della Lastra gets to interact and work with people from all over the world, integrating many cultures into everyday learning.


An environment that embraces differences and adheres to the needs of its students is one that will prepare this generation of students to achieve their personal and professional goals.

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