The American University of Rome (AUR) is a private liberal arts school located in Rome, Italy near the city center. The campus is multicultural and diverse with a student body made up of over 500 students from 40 different countries. The university offers Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate Degrees in a wide range of interesting and innovative fields.

SchoolApply interviewed Jeff Avedisian, a mature international student from the United States entering his second year at AUR, to find out how he adjusted to the change in environment.

AUR is a tight-knit community with students from all over the world that are learning not only from their professors but also from their peers. Our programs are all complemented with opportunities for internships, fieldtrips, and on-site courses that allow you to learn about the wonderful city of Rome.

- Yesenia Serna, Undergraduate Admissions Counselor, The American University of Rome

American University of Rome

Location: Rome, Italy

Student Name: Jeff Avedisian

Age: 28

From: California, USA

Graduation: December 2021

Quick-fire Questions

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Favorite class: Business Psychology, hands down. I took this class over a summer session and loved it. The professors at AUR have amazing backgrounds and the professor for this class not only shared these business experiences with us, but also had us simulate them by constant class interaction and involvement. Besides the psychology and business knowledge, I gained the real-world work experience of a management position just by sitting in the classroom.  

Favorite school event: My personal favorite is the Business Club Fashion Show. It is a day where the club showcases the new university apparel and provides FREE food and drinks.

Three words to describe American University of Rome: Diverse, Opportunity, Supportive

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm 28 years old and am entering my sophomore year of university. I am originally from Fresno, California and have lived in San Diego, California and Naples, Italy. I spent nine years in the US Navy and now I'm using the G.I. Bill to go to school in a country that I fell in love with.  

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What were your school experiences like before university?

I went to a high school with about 500 kids in California and received a year of technical training in the Navy. I was always in a "small school" environment and loved it. It's also one of my favorite things about AUR because it gives you the opportunity to develop better relationships with students and professors.

How did you hear about the American University of Rome and what made you decide to study in Italy?

Through the Navy, I was stationed in Naples, Italy and fell in love with the city, culture and a girl. When my Navy contract was finished, I really wanted to find a way to stay in Italy and discovered AUR. I found the university just by searching on Google and decided to make the trip from Naples to check it out.  

Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university?

No, not really. Having already lived in Italy made the transition easy for me. Being almost 10 years older than some of my fellow classmates can be awkward sometimes, but it doesn't bother me… not sure if it bothers them though!

American University of Rome

What were your first few days at AUR like?

The campus was beautiful and the staff and current students were warm and supportive. I thought the campus was a little small, but it sure beats walking a mile or so to get to my next class. I was a little nervous before my first class – being outside of an academic environment for so long, I almost forgot what it was like!  

What degree are you pursuing and why?

I am studying Business Administration. I want to gain knowledge about business and management practices.  

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Have you had a job while studying?  

I work as a student assistant in the admissions department of AUR, processing applications and giving tours of the campus to prospective students. As an international student, I have a student visa/permit that allows me to work 20 hours per week. At first, it seemed overwhelming to work and have five classes per semester, but it's not so bad and after a week or so I became used to the schedule.

What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at AUR?

My experience has been great so far. The academics have exceeded my standards and expectations. I love that AUR has professors with prestigious backgrounds because it brings a different level of respect and admiration to the classroom. The Student Life department at AUR is amazing with helping students – they are always available to students on any occasion.

The location of the university is great and it is easily accessible by buses. Rome is also an awesome travel hub. You can travel to places in Europe for less than $50 ROUND TRIP!  But it is important to remember that you are in one of the most, if not THE most historical city on earth and you should also explore the city itself. There are also endless things to do in Rome – the city offers so much, it is absolutely amazing. Italy is wonderful; the food, the people, the culture, the history - it is all incredible! I wouldn't change my decision to come to AUR at all!

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How has The American University of Rome prepared you for life after college?

Besides academically, I would say the ability to be independent and live on my own. For most students, they experience these "life" events after university. Here, students learn to deal with these events at the age of 18 and I think that is an incredible opportunity.

What would you say to international students who are considering studying at AUR?

Absolutely do it! If you enjoy a small campus atmosphere and forming lifelong friendships, this is the university for you! I'm 28 and have traveled the world, and I am still impressed on a daily basis by the level of diversity we have on campus. Don't let being in a foreign country scare you from following your dreams. There are always people around to help and support you.

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 About the Author: Muneeza Kizilbash grew up in the United States and Pakistan and was active in her university’s International Student Council. Now settled in Dubai, she loves to inform, educate and entertain her readers through her writing.