Alumni Spotlight: Rebecca Lomuto


Rebecca is a recent graduate from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Photography. From 2011-2012 she spent her junior year of college studying abroad in Florence, Italy at Studio Art Centers International. She is 21 years old and currently working as a personal assistant at Silverstone Photographs, located in Greenwich, CT and awaiting her next international adventure!

Why did you decide to study abroad with SACI?

One of the most important factors in choosing a school for me, was finding one that would allow me the freedom to really assimilate to the culture, while continuing my artistic body of work. I found SACI's course descriptions to be very open, while the descriptions given by the professors seemed earnest and passionate about the students' experience with art-making in Florence. This was the exact reason I was studying abroad! Among the spectrum of study abroad programs, I found that SACI had the most assurance offered in their site. It also didn't hurt that a teacher from home had recommended the school.

How has this experience impacted your future?

For one thing, I cannot get Florence out of my head! I am currently fine-tuning my Italian here in the States. Initially, in class at my home university, and now independently through music, film and connections I've made overseas. A much more significant impact that studying abroad has made in my life is the amount of friendships I made and retain even a year after my program has ended! I am still quite close with the friends that I have met both in and out of school. I also could not have asked for better professors and am grateful that a select few still advise me thousands of miles away! The experience within the Italian culture better informed my artist research through Florence's history and Italy's value of aesthetics.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

There is no independence like that of being in a foreign country. Being at a new school, away from my family and friends, in a completely new place, I found myself thriving as a young, independent adult. You learn how to take responsibility of your own life; whether it is grocery shopping, studies or making sure you balance work + play-- it is completely up to you. With that independence, I found myself more confident in using my learned Italian and reaching out to make friends with plenty of locals. I really enjoyed meeting people of different cultures (Italian and otherwise)-- I feel as if in America, those cultures become watered down and dissolved, whereas in Europe there is much more pride and curiosity in each others' nationality.

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

I don't know if I will ever have enough of Italian coffee! I am a fan of the macchiato (an espresso "marked" by the slighted amount of milk) and fondly remember enjoying plenty of pizza (try the napoletana or the spicy diavola!)-- however, for the more adventurous eaters, I highly recommend traveling to one of the food vans (one among the San Lorenzo market and the other in the Sant'Ambrogio market) and trying some Trippa alla fiorentina (tripe) or a lampredotto panino.

The tripe is made of animal stomach, fried with tomato and other vegetables and served hot. The lampredotto is also made from stomach, although specifically the fourth stomach of a cow. It's cooked with tomato, onion and parsley and served on a delicious roll with salt and pepper, a green sauce, and the option to make it piccante (spicy). Both have a very strange and enjoyable texture and are flavored richly by the vegetables they've been cooked with.