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Italian student gains international experience, M.I.T. degree

April 20, 2017
KOKOMO, Ind. — After growing up in Rome, then living in Sydney, Australia, and New York City, moving to Kokomo was a bit of a culture shock for Flavio Zampilli.

“I’m still looking for skyscrapers,” he said, laughing, but said that he found the right place to enhance his professional skills, earning a bachelor’s degree in Medical Imaging Technology from Indiana University Kokomo.

The campus provided the lifestyle he needed to focus on his studies, as well as caring professors in the Division of Allied Health Sciences and staff in the Office of International Student Services who helped him succeed. He previously earned a degree in radiological technology in his native Italy, and said the professors there are not readily accessible to students.

“Here, they welcome you to their offices and help you solve any problems you have,” he said. “In the beginning, sometimes I had questions and wasn’t sure how things worked. They took care of me, and helped me understand.”

Flavio, 26, thrived in the program, graduating as the Outstanding Student award winner in his major, and also earning dean’s list honors. He appreciates having his academic accomplishments noticed.

“I’m not just another student here. Someone is looking at my GPA, someone is looking at my record to see how I am doing,” he said. “I like this.”

He came to Kokomo as part of his plan to enhance his résumé with international experience.

“I wanted to get something different,” said Flavio. “I’ll have two degrees in two languages, I’ve experienced new culture, learned how people study and how they behave, and what it’s like to work in another country.”

Along with learning professional skills to perform MRIs, he learned more about himself.

“I grew up a lot, even though it was hard being alone, far from my family,” he said. “You have to be strong at the beginning because it’s difficult adjusting. You don’t realize how much your mom does for you until you have to do it all for yourself.”

He learned to speak English from a year living in Australia.

“That was a big deal,” he said. “I left Italy and I didn’t speak a word of English. I had to find a job, and learn to communicate.”

After a year of immersing himself in the language, he enrolled at the EF International Language Center, for more formal English education, to prepare to enroll in an American university. In Australia, he learned a more British form of the language, and had to adjust to the American dialect once he arrived.

Flavio looks forward to seeing his parents, sister, aunt, and uncle again when they attend Commencement on May 9.

After graduation, he plans to look for a job performing MRIs in the United States, and would like to live in a larger city. At some point he may return home to Italy, but for now, he wants to continue using his English language skills.

“I’ve invested myself here, and I’d like to have practical use for it now,” he said. “If you don’t use language skills, you lose them, and I’ve worked too hard for that to happen.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana

Last updated: 04/20/2017