Alumni Spotlight: MacKenzie Klarsfeld


MacKenzie is from upstate New York, right around Albany. She's a marketing major at Bentley University just outside of Boston, but is also passionate about global sustainability and the fashion. She's a health nut, obsessed with elephants, and her celebrity idol is Mindy Kaling.

Why did you pick this program?

Mackenzie: I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Italy, that I wanted to experience a big city, and have the opportunity to intern when I was abroad. The IES Abroad - Milan Business Studies program had all of these features and while reading through blogs of former IES students who all seemed to have had the time of their life abroad; it showed me how much people love this program.

What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?

Mackenzie: I wish someone had told me to not worry about planning out all of your weekend trips before you leave. It's good to have an idea of where you want to go and research different places, but I had so much anxiety about not having trips planned when some of my friends were figuring it all out in the summer before we left. Some of my favorite trips were planned two days before I left, and it was still affordable.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

Mackenzie: The most important thing I learned was to not sweat the small stuff. Expect that things will probably not go as according to plan and to see that as an adventure rather than a struggle. WiFi won’t always work when you need it to, there may be a transportation strike interfering with your trip to the airport, you may not know how to order lunch or if to tip, and you may have to hang your clothes to dry because not a single person in Italy owns a dryer. If you see all of these things as horrible struggles you are going to be miserable abroad. On the contrary, if you can see that all of this adversity makes you more creative and stronger you’re not even going to sweat it when one of these things happens to you, and from experience, one definitely will.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Mackenzie: I tell them that people will tell you its the best four months of your life and from my experience, that couldn't be more true. It's hard and sad to be away from your home university for a whole semester looking at pictures from Homecoming and other events I missed. But I tell my friends that going abroad is such an invaluable opportunity and has really made my college experience so much more well rounded.