Study abroad in Florida

My name is Federica, I am originally from Florence (Italy), and I am a third-year student of International Hospitality Management at the University of Surrey. Last year, from August to December 2021, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend one semester in Orlando, Florida (United States of America) at the University of Central Florida.  

All started on the 17th of August 2021, when I took my flight from London to Philadelphia and then finally to Orlando. I am going to be honest with you, I was terrified. As an international student this was not my first experience away from home, but it was for sure my first experience “that far away” from home. New places, new people, new customs. Certainly it can be scary, but it really took me just a few days to feel completely at home in that new environment.  

During this semester I had the opportunity to make beautiful experiences in many ways. I had the chance to expand my perspective of hospitality, learning this subject and experiencing this industry from a broader point of view. I have been able to live a completely different university atmosphere (a little bit like the one you see in the movies with football games, cheerleaders, and fraternity’s houses!). I got to see the most beautiful places, like the “windy city” of Chicago or the “never asleep” Miami beach; or even to go to the most absurd trips, like a Wednesday morning flight to Puerto Rico or a last-minute cruise to Bahamas on Thanksgiving. But most importantly, I had the opportunity to meet beautiful new people and make wonderful friendships all around the world. For all these reasons, this semester gave me an endless number of life-time memories that I will surely keep with me for the rest of my life.  

Undoubtedly, the financial investments required to pursue my studies at the University of Central Florida were highly demanding. For this reason, the Santander grant has been of great help for me and my family to allow me to live this wonderful experience.   

To conclude, I would like to thank Santander for supporting me in this experience and I would like to encourage all students that are reading this to be brave and embrace this amazing opportunity of the exchange program. This experience will not only allow you to expand your perspective of your studies, but will also help you shaping your personality and your character. And believe me, you will not regret it. 

Disclaimer: The Santander grants are no longer available for students to apply for beyond 2023/24 academic year. Please see our MySurrey website for further information about funding available through the Turing Scheme and other grants and scholarships.