Dynamic Duo – Julianna Astarita and Tom Gierok

Julianna Astarita (BCSP Fall 2015, Northwestern University) and Tom Gierok (BCSP 2015-2016, University of Wisconsin) are an example of the lasting friendships that develop between BCSP students. They took the picture above this past Christmas at Julianna’s home in New Jersey where they both used their Italian while cooking together!

Reminiscing about study abroad in Bologna, they wrote to BCSP:
“Our time in Bologna was an essential part of our college experiences and is something we will look back on with pride for the rest of our lives. The skills and experiences that BCSP provides its students with are important, but we both agree that meeting other hardworking students who want to expand their learning was most beneficial.” Tom added: “I believe that so many people from BCSP do outstanding things because our program is built for students who are willing to work hard and dedicate themselves to the difficulty.”

Here’s how this dynamic duo will be accomplishing oustanding things post-graduation:

Julianna graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 2017 with honors in history and a major in political science. After graduation she traveled around Southeast Asia for the summer before moving to England to begin a master’s degree in criminology at the University of Cambridge. While studying in Bologna in the fall of 2015, she interned at the Scuola Media Gandino teaching English language and American culture. She credits the BCSP program for giving her confidence in both traveling and living in a foreign country by herself, as well as for the public speaking, problem-solving, and self-motivation skills that the program helped her to further develop. She maintains contact with both the Italian and American friends she made. She returned to Bologna last September for her roommate’s graduation, and met up with another of her roommates in London in December. Next year she will be attending Harvard Law School.

Tom recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dual degree in political science and human rights with an emphasis in global security. After graduation he accepted a position with City Year, which is under the U.S. government’s Americorps program. During his time in Bologna, he also interned at the Scuola Media Gandino and pursued employment as a private English instructor through the language school TWYO- The World Is Your Oyster. In his current position he supports high school Math and English/Language Arts classrooms in Boston, Massachusetts. His experience tutoring in Bologna was helpful to taking on this new job. While working for Americorps, he studied and completed the law school entrance exam and will be attending law school in the fall of 2018 to pursue a career in international human rights. Tom’s courses on international diplomacy and human rights in Europe were his first opportunities to study in this field, and he is grateful that University of Bologna helped him find his career path.