Isabel in Italy 2.0

Isabel Kaplan decides on university in Italy


Kaplan sits in front of the Colosseum in her John Cabot University

by Jade Doerksen, Editor in Chief

June 9, 2021 the article ‘Isabel in Italy, covid, stereo types, and realizations’ was published. This time, we revisit Isabel Kaplan’s education in Italy, not for a semester, but rather the next four years. After graduating from Shorewood, Kaplan, senior, will be attending university in Italy. 

Though many students move out to attend university, living over 5,000 miles away from home is fairly different. She will be quite far from her friends and family, and away from the culture she has grown up with. However, she loves living outside the U.S. “I love living in a foreign country, speaking another language. When you’re in that environment you’re learning new things every day and meeting people from all over the world,” Kaplan said.

Because of all her meaningful experiences as an exchange student in Italy, she decided to look into universities there. “I knew I wanted to go back, but I didn’t know what to do because the Italian schooling system is so different,” she said. So, she found an American school based in Italy. John Cabot University is a private American-style institution based in Rome, Italy. “Originally, the way I found out about the school was through TikTok. There was a student there who posted a video about it. At first I was like, ‘why would I go all the way to Italy just to go to an American school? That doesn’t make sense.’ Then I started thinking about it and it does make sense because I want to continue my American education, that way my degree works if I ever want to come back,” Kaplan said.

Now she had to convince her parents. Initially, they didn’t want her to move abroad for college. “At first they were like ‘no you have to go to college in America’ because they were originally thinking that in Italy it would be in an Italian school system that would be different than the American one. They thought an Italian degree wouldn’t be able to get me as much as an American degree,” she said. After learning about John Cabot, they ended up changing their minds, and Kaplan applied.

Photos Courtesy of Isabel Kaplan

After she submitted her application and completed the necessary interview, she was granted acceptance in December 2021 for education beginning in Fall 2022. 

Her intended major is language and linguistics where she will continue her language studies of French and Italian as well as learning Spanish. With all these languages, Kaplan will likely be able to explore a lot of places. “The college has programs with other American universities in Paris and Madrid, so maybe I would do a semester in another country,” she said. But, her ultimate goal is to become quite fluent in Italian for her future career. “I really want to be an English teacher in an Italian high school because they don’t have a lot of native speakers, or something within tourism, translating English and Italian,” Kaplan said.

Ironically, she already has been teaching some Italians. During her exchange, she began posting on her TikTok account about being an American exchange student in Italy, and numerous Italians began watching her videos. Due to this, when she visited John Cabot over spring break, she was recognized. “When I went back during spring break I was recognized on the street a few times…it once happened in Rome. It was near the Colosseum and these girls came up to me. At first they were staring at me and I was kind of confused, but then they came up to me and were like ‘you’re the American that came to Italy for exchange. You’re the one on TikTok. Izzy,’” Kaplan explained.

Though it can be stressful, the community her TikTok has built has overall been a very positive experience. Kaplan said, “they’re really nice and they’ll correct my Italian and help me learn more. They’re so nice. When I posted I was going back to Italy they were saying ‘we’re waiting with open arms’ and ‘you deserve it.’ They’re just so nice.”