Sophia Restiffe Favoretto came to the University of Iowa almost four years ago from Brazil, and she has taken advantage of all that Iowa has to offer
Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Sophia Restiffe Favoretto, a fourth-year journalism and mass communication student originally from Sao Jose do Rio Pardo, Brazil, recently sat down with International Programs to discuss her time at the University of Iowa as well as her experience completing a global internship in Italy.


Why did you choose to come to Iowa to study journalism and mass communication?

When I was applying to universities in the United States, the University of Iowa had a massive, positive impact compared to the other universities I applied to because of how well they embraced and provided support for their international students. Here they have a large support network for international students, and they connected me to other Brazilians here, so I felt immediately at home. I wasn't very sure what I wanted to study when I started university here, so I started with communication studies, but when I realized how the School of Journalism and Mass Communication had a variety of different areas of study, I switched my major and never regretted that at all.

You spent this past summer interning abroad in Italy. What made you decide to do this?

I've always wanted to study abroad. However, I was already in my junior year when I discovered at the Study Abroad Fair that I could do an internship abroad during the summer. So immediately after the Fair I started to plan for that and prepared myself to apply for scholarships.

I already knew I wanted to go to Italy since I spoke the language and I had just gotten my Italian passport (I have Italian roots and was the first person in my family to learn Italian). Eventually, everything happened as smoothly as it was supposed to happen. I got a scholarship from the French and Italian department - the Richard Tyner award - which by itself covered the entire cost of the program, and with the International Student Study Abroad Scholarship that I found out about during the Study Abroad Fair, plus unpaid internship scholarships from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I was able to cover all my expenses during my time in Italy. I was able to get real-life work experience through my internship, complete the semester hours and gen eds I needed, and earn credits towards my Italian double major.


Tell us more about your Italian roots.

My dad's great-grandfather Angelo Favoretto went to Brazil when he was only 14 years old; he came from the town of Mirano in the Venice region of Italy. Over the years, the Italian language was lost, and I was the first one to re-learn the language. My dad went to Italy before me and he had visited Mirano, and this summer we went there together; however, he doesn't speak Italian. Because we were able to track my great-great-grandfather's information in Mirano, we were able to claim Italian citizenship. Now my family has dual Brazilian-Italian citizenship.


Can you tell us more about your internship?

During my time in Italy, I did a study abroad plus internship program. For the internship, I worked for a company in Florence called 3Dsign run by Giovanni De Stefano. Giovanni is a former architect passionate about visual multimedia and now he has this studio and creates multimedia content for his clients. I provided assistance for work trips by taking pictures and videos of his clients' work. I also participated in the post-production process of the multimedia pieces collected and the publication of the final pieces. I worked with cameras and software like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.

What are your plans for the future?

My goal for the near future is to complete a master’s degree in mass communications at the University of Iowa, which I will start this fall.  But I will never stop applying for job positions and networking so I can secure a job right after I graduate in two years.


Do you have any advice for international students thinking about coming to study at Iowa?

My advice would be simply to come to the University of Iowa. Here it is so easy to find help; friends; get connected to people, groups, and student organizations; and feel belonging to the community. You will find your place here, take advantage of all the opportunities here, get to know people, get out of your comfort zone, and explore; here is the right place for it.

Do you have advice for Hawkeyes who are thinking about studying or interning abroad?

Just go! This is such an enriching opportunity for you to have an idea of what the world is really like outside the United States, and I'm going to tell you, it is much different from what you think. You are always going to be at least one step ahead of others if you have had that experience in your life. Experiencing other cultures in other places not only gets you out of your comfort zone, but it is a transformative experience as you will question so many things about yourself as well. It is a learning experience beyond what anything else can give you. 


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.