Alicia Villafana

Alicia Villafana 960x640

Study Abroad a Perfect Fit for St. John's Student

Ever since she arrived at St. John’s, Alicia Villafana, a native of Deer Park, NY, wanted to break out of her comfort zone. Living on campus and experiencing the University’s metropolitan character prepared the Management major to truly expand her horizons by studying abroad.

Last semester, Alicia participated in the Discover the World: Europe program and lived in three countries for five weeks at a time, including Rome, Italy; Limerick, Ireland; and Paris, France. “I’m always open to trying new things, meeting new people, and diving into different cultures,” Alicia stressed, noting that she visited a total of 10 countries while achieving a 3.95 GPA.

“I decided to study abroad because I wanted to take advantage of the amazing opportunities St. John’s makes available to us,” she said. “I wanted to explore the world and appreciate all it has to offer. Through this experience, I adopted a more open-minded, global perspective.”

Alicia was initially attracted to St. John’s for its diverse student body and proximity to New York City. “I didn’t want to attend a university too far from home, but one far enough away that would enable me to live on campus and have that traditional college experience. St. John’s fit my needs perfectly. It’s a 40-minute drive from my house, and only a subway ride away from the city. I love the idea of being surrounded by, and learning about, different cultures and ways of life.”

She also appreciates a key component of St. John’s mission: service. Alicia has participated in a number of Midnight Runs at St. John’s and is an active member of the Thirst Project, an organization devoted to funding projects that provide safe, clean drinking water to regions in desperate need. She has raised more than $1,000 through fundraisers and last year traveled to Swaziland, Africa, to help build a fresh water well.

“Participating in service has reinforced for me that there are so many people at home and abroad that survive on so little,” Alicia said. “I try to be more appreciative of things that we take for granted but are luxuries to so many. It has also made me more globally aware.”

She added that being so close to Manhattan offers a wide range of opportunities specific to her major. After graduation, Alicia plans to live in New York City and hopes to get a job in the fashion industry at the corporate offices of a company such as Estée Lauder.

She is currently in the five-year M.B.A. program and is considering a focus on International Business. “It would be incredible to work at the L'Oréal head office in Paris. St. John’s is a powerhouse of networking that will lead you down the right path if you are motivated.”