AIFS Study Abroad Blog

Meet the team: Sophie Monkman, Florence Program Coordinator

We’re continuing the series introducing the team behind AIFS Customized, who create faculty-led study abroad programs for hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the US.

This week, we spend a few minutes getting to know Sophie Monkman, Florence Program Coordinator, who is based in our Florence Study Center, Italy.

Sophie with her daughter, Amelie

Hi Sophie, what is your role at AIFS?  

I’m involved in program planning and I also oversee the coordination of academic courses which includes looking after faculty needs.

How long have you worked for AIFS? 

Almost 17 years!

Sophie and her dog Bodhi, who is a regular visitor to the Study Center

What do you love most about your job? 

The people I meet, the places it takes you.  Every day is different so it’s never boring! I also love the memorable, sometimes life changing experiences that we are creating for young people. It’s nice to know that you are making a difference.

What do you love most about working for AIFS? 

The people I work with and the things I get to do.  I work with and meet inspiring people every day and get to see and do some amazing things and go to wonderful places.

What do you like most about working with faculty and students? 

Collaborating with faculty in the development of their programs. Reading or speaking to students in their reflections of what they learned, loved and gained on their study abroad program.

Sophie and the AIFS Florence team, Spring 2020

Where and when did you study or work abroad? 

Spain and Italy in 2001.

Any advice for faculty thinking of leading a CFL program abroad? 

Don’t think about it too much, just do it, you won’t regret it!  We are right there with you every step of the way…

Any advice for students thinking of studying abroad? 

Do some research on the country/city you are going to study in before you arrive there.  Then once you get there be open minded.  Be receptive to and respectful of new cultures.  Try everything, even if it’s not really your thing.  If you study hard you can play hard but be responsible! Try to learn the language basics, even before you arrive.

Tell us something about yourself: 

I love doing and watching sport.  In the winter, I snowboard, and play tennis in the summer, but my favourite thing is to walk the dog in the hills behind my house with my husband and eight-year-old daughter.  We love travel in general and exploring new places.

Where do you plan to travel to next? 

England! To see much loved, very missed family because I live in Italy.

Sophie in the mountains with her family
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