By Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89

Moving against a skyline of Gothic spires and modern highrises, these Terriers are taking classes, navigating public transportation, marveling over fashion and design weeks, discovering new foods and diverse people, exploring opera, traveling to other countries, building an awareness of international business and unlocking another clue as to who they are and what they want out of life. And they’re doing it both independently and with some familiar faces.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Abigail Fuentes ’26, a history major with a business minor from Winston-Salem, N.C. “Seeing Wofford people and having some friends to share this with has made a great experience even better. In a way, we’re stepping out of our comfort zones together.”

IES Milan shares its new headquarters with a dozen other organizations and some 4,000 professionals. This semester, 500 students from around the globe are taking classes in the building and participating in internships across the city.

“We value experiential learning, and Milan has so much to offer,” says Dr. Roberto Andreoni, IES Abroad Milan center director, referring to Teatro alla Scala, the Duomo, the ADI Design Museum, the Armani/Silos, the Ferrari Museum, significant art and architecture around every corner, the headquarters of giants in the world of technology, history within every cobble and the proximity to raw materials for manufacturing. “We want to offer students something they cannot get back home.”

According to Andreoni, most students enrolled with IES Milan focus on business studies, but Wofford students also are taking courses in the humanities, fashion design and merchandising, music, econometrics and science and technology. Intensive Italian and community-based learning are also part of the experience.

“In Milan, the old is revered, but students must also see and experience modern business,” says Andreoni.

Elaina Valente ’26, a finance major from Winston-Salem, N.C., chose Wofford because of the college’s reputation for study abroad. She’s taking business classes in Milan and loves that the city is conveniently located to other areas of Europe. She’s already traveled to Rome, Switzerland and France.

“Even as a first-year student, I had study abroad FOMO,” says Valente. She and her mom saw the opportunity on Wofford social media and picked up the phone at the same time. “We both knew spending the semester abroad in Milan was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Gavin Taylor ’25, a finance and history double major from West Columbia, S.C., spent the past summer interning with Broad River Electric Cooperative in Spartanburg and digging deeper into the field of economic development. He says that, plus his medical retirement from football, gave him the push to choose Milan.

“I wanted to experience more cultures and another language,” says Taylor. “I want to become a more well-rounded person, which will help as I pursue a future that involves bringing international companies to South Carolina.”

Kyia Karvelas ’27 and Mike Witt ’27 are two of the four first-year students who are in Milan this spring. The program doesn’t usually allow first-year students to apply, but IES Milan agreed because of their history and partnership with Wofford.

“The Wofford students have adapted fast and well,” says Andreoni.

Karvelas came to Wofford from Gloucester, Mass., with four years of high school Italian. She didn’t think she would qualify to study abroad as a first-year student and was pleased to discover that wasn’t the case.

“It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when I saw it advertised on a table in Burwell (dining hall),” says Karvelas. “Once Milan was in my head, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.”

Karvelas continues to love the experience. She says the biggest challenge has been the lack of sleep. She and her roommate — Isabel de la Peña ’27 — stay up late into the evening talking about their classes, the city and their adventures.

“I’ve loved everything,” says Karvelas. “Isabel and I keep reminding ourselves that we’re in Milan! It’s still sort of unbelievable.”

Karvelas is planning to major in English with a concentration in creative writing. Inspired by her semester in Milan, she’s started a new novel.

Witt, a biology major on the pre-med track from Charlotte, N.C., is taking classes in psychology, photography, economics and storytelling as well as Italian. He has family in Genoa, Italy, and was attracted to the experience to learn more about them and his history.

“It’s been an adjustment — being in a different country and learning how they do things — but I know the experience is helping me learn how other people see the world. It will help me with my medical practice later in life. Plus, the food is incredible,” says Witt.

As part of the college’s first semester- long cohort program, the Wofford in Milan students live in the same housing complex and have an Italian student companion who acts as a resource and leads some of their shared orientation activities. The Wofford students are in the same Italian class, and Wofford faculty and staff visitors have joined them throughout the semester for experiences in Milan, meals, gelato, orientation and conversations to learn how to make these cohort experiences even better.

“It’s helped me to have a group of Wofford friends here for the semester,” says Carolyne Shealy ’25, a biology major from Columbia, S.C. “This is an experience we’re sharing ... that we’ll cherish forever.”

Valente, Fuentes and Sarah Ratcliffe ’26 are among the friends to whom Shealy refers. While learning about wine and food pairings, an optional orientation activity, the friends discussed the possibility of a reunion trip in five or 10 years.

“I had a birthday during Fashion Week, and my parents came to visit,” says Ratcliffe, a psychology major from Nassau in the Bahamas. “This experience hit at the perfect time for me, and I’ll always be grateful.”

Olivia Pechin ’25 will begin her senior year when she returns to Wofford in the fall. The art history and sociology and anthropology double major from Greenville, S.C., has been able to take classes in both of her majors. She’s particularly excited about her course on Leonardo da Vinci.

“I’ve loved being here,” she says. “The food, public transportation, the art, being able to walk — it’s nice how accessible everything is. I knew being a part of Wofford in Milan would mean I had tremendous support, and I’ve come to understand that even with the support, I ultimately have to trust myself to make this experience what I want it to be.”

Wofford in Milan

Opening Doors

Partners fuel Wofford’s study abroad programs

By Robert W. Dalton

From Argentina to Vietnam, Wofford students are studying abroad in record numbers.

According to the Institute of International Education’s 2023 Open Doors Report, Wofford ranks among the top baccalaureate institutions:

  • No. 8 in the percentage of students studying abroad for academic credit.
  • No. 6 for short-term study abroad.
  • No. 9 for the total number of students studying abroad.

Part of that is simple mathematics — more students equals more students studying abroad, says Amy Lancaster ’01, dean of international programs. But relationships with a variety of partners, some stretching back for more than 30 years, multiply opportunities for students to have study abroad options.

“We work with organizations comprising top-tier colleges and universities in an effort to provide a diverse portfolio of programs for our students,” Lancaster says. “We recognize that one size does not fit all, and we want students to be able to take advantage of a variety of curricula in different locations.”

Wofford works with 16 partners that offer hundreds of programs around the world. The list of locales is constantly changing and expanding. “Student needs change, and we evolve with the students,” Lancaster says. “For example, the Interim program is different every year. That’s always evolving.”

In addition to the programs they offer, our partners supplement advising and pre-departure support. They also work to ensure the health and safety of students while they are traveling.

“When responding with anything from a global pandemic to a natural disaster to civil unrest, it’s not just Wofford monitoring the situation,” Lancaster says. “It’s Wofford and our study abroad partners. They’re working with their own logistics and security personnel, and their network is our network.”

Lancaster acknowledges that the Open Doors rankings are important for the college in terms of national visibility, but the quality of the experience and the academic programming are much more important than the numbers.

“We emphasize that it’s not just travel; it’s study abroad,” she says. “We want to ensure the academic programming is as good as Wofford's.”

Lancaster’s office is focusing on access. They want students who never thought studying abroad possible to realize the opportunities available — including summer programs.

“We’re awarding lots of additional funding for students to take advantage of summer study abroad,” Lancaster says. “That’s important for student-athletes who may be competing all year or students who have leadership positions on campus. We don’t want it to be limited to certain students. We’re trying to make sure we have different models to fit different needs.”



Total travelers 346
Top destinations
  1. Italy
  2. Spain
  3. Denmark
  4. Ecuador
  5. Czech Republic
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Ireland
  8. Belize
  9. United Arab Emirates
  10. Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba; France


Total travelers 491
Top destinations
  1. United Kingdom
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. France
  5. Denmark
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Ecuador
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Ireland
  10. South Africa


Total travelers 550+*
Top destinations
  1. Italy
  2. Spain
  3. Denmark
  4. United Kingdom
  5. New Zealand
  6. Nicaragua
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Tanzania
  9. Morocco
  10. Belize
* Projection based on current enrollment for Summer and Fall 2024.