Milford senior to study abroad in Italy


Danielle Borst outside of Michigan State University.

Jessica Henning, Features Editor

Many students are familiar with the famous sights of Rome, including The Colosseum, St. Peter’s Square/and Basilica, or the Pantheon.

Senior Danielle Borst will be able to see these historic landmarks, and more. She will be traveling to Italy from July 18 to Aug. 3 as a part of an international immersion program through Michigan State University. The trip will include spending time in Florence and other major cities in Italy.

Originally, Borst had been booked on a trip with about 30 other students to spend time in France. The trip fell through due to logistical errors, with issues arising over flights available for the number of students. “It was kind of disappointing since I had wanted to go to France since I was a kid, but I’m still glad with the opportunity to go to Europe,” Borst said.

Borst came across the program trying to look for something else on MSU’s website and found the study abroad program for graduating high school seniors.

There were also other opportunities available for different countries and programs. It is a part of the First-year Seminars Abroad (FSA) program, with the goal to provide students with an “introductory college experience that combines the academic engagement characteristic of first-year seminars with the cultural and experiential learning characteristics of education abroad” (FSA website).  MSU’s first year seminars have an emphasis placed on the culture, “from art to music to fashion to food.”

Many students who study abroad do not know the language. According to, over 15% of UK adults feel discouraged to travel abroad due to their lack of native language knowledge.

Borst, who studied German for three years at Milford said, “I don’t know any Italian, only ‘grazie’ (thank you). I’ve been watching Italian children’s television shows in hopes to learn the language. By the time I go, I’ll learn some simple phrases, but not much conversational Italian.”

Approximately 11% of undergraduate college students study abroad — and since 2015 over 50% of those students have gone to Europe.

Of the 312 Seniors in Milford High School, statistically about 187 will attend a university, and in turn 20 will travel abroad. Additionally, according to NAFSA, 50% of American students that study abroad do go to Europe.

Studying abroad has shown significant benefits for college students. According to Marissa Lombardi, assistant teaching professor and director for the Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations program at Northeastern University, in an interview with Penn State, studying abroad is beneficial “to work on cultural competencies, like being sensitive to other cultures, learning how to adapt to new situations, and tolerating ambiguity.”

Composed of 44 nations, Europe is racially and ethnically diverse.

“It will be interesting to see how different the people are and to see the difference in cultures, especially compared to America,” said Borst. Although the trip only involves staying in and traveling throughout Italy, it will be an immersive experience. “The plane’s going to be insane — it’s over an eight and a half hour long flight.”

When asked what she’s looking forward to most she immediately replied: “The food. Western Europeans statistically have more people with Celiac, so they have more gluten free options.” Borst was diagnosed with Celiac when she was in elementary school. In the United States it is often difficult to find gluten-free alternatives. Restaurants have menus with meals that don’t contain gluten, but are sometimes made on the same surface/with the same utensils as food containing gluten. So, in going to Europe, Borst will get to experience cuisine that is regularly cooked, instead of something prepared purely as an accommodation.

Borst’s advice to students going to college and wanting to study abroad? “Keep looking — there are opportunities out there at almost every school. Ask counselors if there are opportunities and seek them out yourself.”