Brianna Rafidi

ASU alumna goes from classroom to language career


Gabriel Sandler

Travel, language and culture can be rewarding as a tourist, but Arizona State University School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC) alumna Brianna Rafidi shows that international experience translates into international career opportunities.

“I am currently an English teacher at a primary school in San Severino, Marche, Italy,” Rafidi said. “I was approached about this position after I spent the month of June 2016 studying Italian in San Severino at an international language school called Edulingua.”

Rafidi went to Italy through an ASU SILC summer abroad program. She explained that SILC programs generally emphasize practicality and authenticity and partnerships with native speakers. In addition to Italian, she also studied some German.

Edulingua pairs native English speakers with Italian public schools. So while taking Italian classes on her time, Rafidi provides grade students with English instruction. Rafidi believes that for her and the students, language skills are problem solving skills, transferable across countries and careers.

“Studying another language/culture exponentially increases your ability to interact with people, art and the world,” Rafidi explained. “The SILC programs … establishing relationships with international schools like Edulingua is a perfect way for students to get connected with international contacts for their future.”

Rafidi distilled as much from SILC as she could, earning a spot on the Dean’s List consistently, receiving the presidential scholarship and a German student award. She wrote an award winning essay for the Hayden Library Book Collection. At the end of her time at SILC, she was recognized as a 2017 CLAS Outstanding Graduate.

Through all this work, however, Rafidi emphasized that the relationships she made through SILC and traveling are what she consistently pulls the most value from.

“Some of my best friends live in Mexico, Germany, and all around the world now. I have a relationship with them because I studied abroad and because I studied Italian … You go through a lot of intercultural and linguistic experiences together that are hard to not bond over,” Rafidi said.

“Culture is a big pattern of actions and meanings and understanding these different actions and their meanings dramatically increases your ability to think on your feet and operate efficiently,” Rafidi explained. “I really cannot think of one thing that I do that a better understanding of language and culture does not help.”