Finding her famiglia with TU study abroad program

By Megan Bradshaw on October 12, 2018

Senior Lauren Dell’Arciprete returns to her roots and finds a family she wasn’t expecting

Lauren Dell'Arciprete
Lauren Dell’Arciprete, pictured at TU’s International Walkway in front of the Italian flag, holding a memento the children at MFFU created for her.

“Determined” is a perfect description of Towson University senior Lauren Dell’Arciprete.

She is graduating in four and a half years as a triple major, including one course of study she created for herself—less than a year ago.

Learn about the exercise science, psychology and interdisciplinary studies majors

When she decided to study abroad, she remembered the stories her nonna and papa told her of family in Abruzzi, Italy, so she set her sights on Rome.

Working with TU’s Study Abroad office and partner organization CEA, Dell’Arciprete initially planned to intern with the Red Cross.

When that didn’t work out, she took a two-month position with Mia Fratello é Figlio Unico (MFFU), working one-on-one with special needs children.

Lauren Dell'Arciprete
Lauren Dell'Arciprete with two of her clients at MFFU.

She treated children—ages 2 to 12, with a mix of disabilities—to develop their gross motor skills with sports and to stimulate their sensory motor skills with crafts and trips to the beach. She also worked with them on skills they needed to become independent.

“Italian internships are more concerned with relationship building than completing tasks. I connected with the families right away and loved every minute of my time in Italy,” Dell’Arciprete said. “My Italian wasn’t great, but love doesn’t have a language barrier. The families knew I wanted to help their children regardless of whether we understood each other.”

Her language skills improved enough over the course of eight weeks that she was able to give her goodbye speech in Italian. She made such an impression on MFFU, the organization offered her a job after graduation—that she has conditionally accepted.

Dell’Arciprete is focused on earning her registered behavioral technologist certification and plans to return to Italy in 2019.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Diverse and Inclusive Campus.