Elena Rizzo has just graduated with full marks and honors in Law at LUISS after finishing a Double Degree with Fordham University. Upon completion of her studies in the United States, Elena ranked among the most brilliant students at the School of Law, winning the Edward J. Hawk Prize for the highest grades in the International Business and Trade Law program, as well as the Robert Schuman Prize for the highest grades in European Union Law courses.
“These awards are based on progress made throughout the year,” says Elena. “I knew I had good grades, but the classes were very competitive and full of studious, native English speakers. “More than a surprise, these awards were a recognition of the all the hard work that I have put into my studies, and a confirmation that if you give it your all, you get results.”
Her time at Fordham was not her first experience abroad. Before studying in the United States, Elena won a scholarship to attend Singapore Management University. “I chose Singapore because I wanted to challenge myself in a country and culture distant from Europe. I had a great time at both the university and the atmosphere. I met so many people and made lasting friendships.”
Both of these experiences are a part of Elena’s preparation for an international career. “Living in Singapore inspired me to look for more opportunities to study abroad and to do a Double Degree. I had never been to New York before, I moved there without any idea of what it meant to live there. It’s a frenetic city, you can even see it in the way people walk. But it’s also ideal for people like me, who always want to do lots of different things, who are always on the go.”
Besides her motivation to continually improve and try new things, Elena can also boast the ability to adapt quickly to new surroundings and methodologies. “In both Singapore and New York, universities have a completely different approach to lessons and studies than the Italian system. Classes are smaller and students have to prepare for lessons, presentations and discussions week-by-week. The final exam is only worth 50% of the grade, so students must be diligent and actively participate in class.”
After defending her thesis in Rome, Elena will go back to New York as soon as possible to find a job in her area of specialization. “Studying abroad was a very personal choice; I did it not only to specialize in international law but more to be able to work far from home, at least for a few years.”
“In the last few years,” says Elena, “I have developed a passion for international arbitration and intellectual property. I would very much like to work in these fields, especially where knowledge of foreign languages and laws are required. My primary goal is to continually learn new things, work in dynamic environments and work with different clients in different environments to acquire new skills. I like the idea of being able to explore and learn before deciding on a specific career path.”