Alumni Spotlight: Lacey Prestipino


Lacey Prestipino is a fourth year Religious Studies and Italian Studies major at UVA. She is a 21 year old female from Chesapeake, Virginia and works part time as a waitress at a local Charlottesville country club.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Lacey: My study abroad experience was made unique and special because of the city I lived in. Siena was amazing. There was never a dull moment. The shopping and night life were great. Our group would go to the same spots every weekend. We especially loved the Cuban Rum Bar: Bella Vista. Siena is also a major thoroughfare so traveling to other cities was easy as well. I fell in love with Siena and always wanted to return once I had left. Walking to class every day I saw the same faces, and the city truly felt like home.

How has this experience impacted you?

Lacey: My study abroad experience rejuvenated and intensified my interest in Italian. I took a course entitled Italian Love Poetry, which was taught exclusively in Italian. It greatly increased my ability to read, write and speak in Italian. My time abroad really changed me personally. I feel like a world citizen now, and would really like to have similar experiences in the future. This trip also inspired me to look in to foreign diplomacy as a future career.

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

Lacey: My experience traveling to Naples and Amalfi with my roommate is one that I could not have had at home. We left Siena on a 12am bus to Naples. We arrived there at 6am and went straight to Pompeii on the Metro system. Later we took the Metro to a small southern town and found a Hotel. The next day we took a series of buses to Positano, the most beautiful town in Amalfi. The buses were cramped and traversing the most frightening cliff-side roads I have ever seen. We encountered some of the most endearing people I will ever meet on the bus, and the rides were exciting because I could converse with all kinds of people in Italian. This was my favorite weekend excursion and the most memorable by far!

What did CET do for you and what did you need to do on your own?

Lacey: CET is an amazing program and basically does everything for you. They supplied me with a travel service, intensive directions for travel from Florence to Siena, housing, books, tours, maps, group trips, and an amazing experience. I really only had to plan my independent trips, make friends, and do my homework on my own! CET in Siena really provides a catered experience and I felt like everything was planned out for me. At the same time, I maintained a very high level of freedom. I am so glad I chose this program!

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

Lacey: Studying abroad in Siena was a very unique experience because the city is one of a kind. Sienese culture is so incredible and one really has to experience it to understand all the nuances. Italian culture as a whole is amazing. The people like to enjoy everything and aim to have the most pleasurable experiences possible. They are adventurous and fun. I really enjoyed getting to know the locals and consider it a wonderful privilege to have so many friends in another country. Italy is the friendliest place I have ever been, and honestly feels like home.