Olivia Stark

Q. Give us a brief introduction about yourself, your name, the program you’re attending and how long you have been in Prato.

A. I’m Olivia and I’m undertaking an Internship at the local primary school here in Prato, as well as a unit called Crime and Popular Fiction in Italy at Monash Uni and I've been in Prato for two weeks and I have another two weeks to go.

Q. So what do you like about your experience here? What have you found interesting or unexpected about it?

A. I’m loving the Internship. I'm teaching grade twos and they’re all so friendly and welcoming. I love helping with their work and teaching them English and teaching them on Australia and the differences between Italy and Australia and what we do at Christmas time compared to what they do at Christmas time. I’m enjoying just playing games with them, getting to know the teachers and building relationships with the kids.

Q. What have you found interesting or unexpected about the experience?

A. A challenge that I’ve found here at the Internship, in particular, was the language barrier. Not many people speak any English, but I’ve also enjoyed this because it’s challenged me to speak Italian and really push myself to practise my Italian with the teachers because it’s the only way of communicating here at the school.

Q. What’s life like in Prato? What extracurricular activities have you enjoyed participating in? 

A. I love life here in Prato. I love the town, it’s a lot quieter than other Tuscan towns which is really nice to live in. I love going to the local restaurants and cafes, every morning getting a croissant and cappuccino and getting pizza for lunch and pasta for dinner. The extracurricular activities I’ve participated in have been the Conversation Exchange. I’ve really enjoyed this; getting to know the locals in Prato and practising my Italian with them and them practising their English with me; talking about our differences and lifestyles and just the different hobbies that we have and different ways of life.

Q. How do you think this experience will promote your career?

A. I think because this Internship is such an unique experience, I think it will help set me apart from others who may be applying for the same job as me. I think it's developed my leadership skills, my organisational skills and time management skills, especially with balancing Uni commitments and Internship commitments. It’s also helped develop my social and people skills, especially in building professional relationships with the teachers and the students. And it’s also helped develop my cross-cultural communication skills and adapting to a new culture, which I think is really important because in Australia it’s so multicultural, so any workforce will have heaps of different cultures, so I think that this is a really beneficial experience for me to have done.

Q. So the last question is would you recommend coming to Prato to other students and why?

A. I would definitely recommend coming to Prato. I think it's a great way to push yourself and to step out of your comfort zone, to try new experiences and to take on new opportunities. The staff are so welcoming and friendly at the Uni and yeah I would definitely recommend this experience.

Units studied in Prato: Arts International Internship; Crime in Italian Popular Culture | Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts