Gene – history right at your doorstep

Gene Efron is a Bachelor of Arts student with a double major in Psychology, and Communications and Media studies. In his second year Gene took two intensive units in Prato in between his 1st and 2nd semester study: War, media and memory: Resistance and massacre in Second World War Italy‘ and ‘Introductory Italian‘.


Where is Prato?

Prato is not far from Florence, and although Prato is a charming mid-size Italian town, it’s not on the tourist trail, so Monash students can really immerse themselves in Italian life.

Prato is also well connected to the rest of Italy by train, so it’s easy to get out and explore.

“If we didn’t have a class in the afternoon, we went to Florence, and came back [to Prato for dinner]. That is amazing, you’re at Monash studying and you say, do you want to go to Florence?”

Where do you stay?

The Faculty of Arts Prato team helps students with planning and organising accommodation.

Gene chose to stay in an apartment with another student.

“It was amazing! I had this terrace … and I can still say, that terrace would be one of my favourite places in the world!”

What units can you do there?

DSCN1012-CopyThere are lots of units to choose from that count towards your degree, they change semester to semester. You can fit them in-between semesters, or choose to do a semester long program.

Gene took two units in his second year, in between first and second semesters: ‘War, media and memory: Resistance and massacre in Second World War Italy‘ and ‘Introductory Italian‘.

Although it was an intense four weeks, Gene got a lot out of the experience, and it has also given him more time for his third year units, by having two less to do in his final year.

What’s different about learning in Prato?

In Prato you get the chance to learn history ‘where it happened’.

“The idea that we were learning something in the right place, because the History associated with the ‘War, Media and Memory’ subject was right at our doorstep, a place where a massacre took place – we could go there,” said Gene.

Gene also liked being able to build a relationship with his teachers and students on the excursions, and the feeling of ‘an intimate classroom’.

“Quite simply: It’s a great opportunity to study away from your university while still being completely connected to your university, it’s very secure, and it’s very authentic!”