Accessible Study Abroad: Verto Education’s Winning Model, Part 1 Featuring Cristiana Gallai, Florence Center Director, Verto Education

“With Verto, students have the opportunity, regardless of their financial background, to study abroad, to study somewhere which is not their home country and learn about different cultures. And that becomes the path for them to access a college education and allows us to host a very diverse student population.” Cristiana Gallai Join me and my special guest, Cristiana Gallai, for the first half of our two-part conversation about her personal and professional path to becoming Florence Center Director at Verto Education, founded in 2017 with the goal of increasing equity, access, inclusion, and diversity in study abroad and higher education. The episode also looks at how students have changed and, why, in such a globalized world, Florence and Italy are still so appealing to young US students choosing to spend time abroad. Finally, we reflect upon what Verto students spending their freshman semester in Florence take away from this highly rewarding, alternative entrance into college life, a truly innovative approach to and vision of higher education that bestows upon first years transformative, inclusive, and empowering experiences abroad. Cristiana Gallai’s Biography Born in the picturesque town of Bergamo in the north of Italy, I was raised in my paternal city of Florence, the place that I call home, the place where I would grow, learn, and discover my passion for international education. From an early age, I was fascinated with foreign languages and cultures that ignited my wanderlust. I embarked on numerous journeys, exploring the diverse tapestry of our global community. During my master’s degree in foreign languages and literature at the University of Florence I joined the Erasmus program for a semester in Paris, France, for a study abroad experience that tested my resilience and resourcefulness. This experience, though far from what I had expected, instilled in me a profound understanding of my own strengths and the importance of support systems in education. I decided to dedicate myself to improving the lives of international students. After a successful tenure at the Florence University of the Arts, where I fulfilled various roles in student affairs and institutional relations, I embarked on a new journey in the fall of 2021. I assumed the role of Florence Center Director for Verto Education, a transformative first-year academic program. I am driven by a deep conviction that education is not only a means of personal and professional growth but also a powerful tool for fostering social inclusion and equity. I envision education as a path to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in a fair and inclusive society. I feel privileged to be able to participate and contribute to this field with my daily work and to mentor future generations of professionals with enthusiasm and commitment.

Links Cristiana Gallai, Linkedin Profile

Verto Education

Verto Florence…



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