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Krystina Franchino


Alumni Interview: Krystina Franchino
Major: Communication
University: California State University San Marcos


Why did you choose to come to Florence / FUA?

Being Italian, it's been a huge dream of mine to travel to Italy and see where my family came from. I always knew I was going study abroad and when it came time to choose my destination, Italy was the only country I would consider. Between the culture, breathtaking cities, beautiful people, architecture, food, Sophia Loren, and the overall passion for life...my Italian obsession runs deep. I first applied to live in Rome then had an overwhelming response of people telling me I needed to be in Florence. Thankfully I listened and fell in love with everything about my second home.


Where do you intern now?

CBS Television Network in the publicity department.


How did you get the internship?

In Fall 2015 I was interning with NBC in San Diego, through that internship I made my first entertainment contacts and they really groomed me to make the jump from news to television. I kept a close eye on every major entertainment company in Los Angeles, internship program deadlines that were listed on their websites (Hello, detailed Excel spreadsheets!) and what aspects they were looking for so I could choose the best examples of work to submit from my portfolio. I did a ton of research, informational interviews, and entertainment career courses with people already in the industry. My home university doesn't have a huge entertainment presence compared to the universities in Los Angeles so I had to do most of the leg work on my own. I was very lucky and secured an interview through the traditional online application process but that's rarely the case. If you can make a personal connection in the company such as a family friend or someone in the department to contact beyond the online submission, your chances of landing an interview should increase pretty dramatically.


What are some of your tasks?

My internship is full-time, five days a week so I have consistent on-going tasks such as updating press recaps, press lists, and typical office duties but for the most part, everyday is different. I'm on-set or have an event about 2-3 times a week. I assist the publicists with whatever they need, if press visits any of their sets or there's a photo shoot or interview, they'll usually bring me along to help or just to observe. CBS as a whole has been amazing, I have the opportunity to visit other departments such as casting, development, or production just to see what those arenas are like. It's really up to me to make the most out of my time here and make as many connections as I can, which isn't always easy but absolutely crucial. The highlight of my internship so far has been working the Grammy's. I assisted with the photo department so I was assigned two photographers on the red carpet and one photographer in a small tunnel under the stage during the show. The tunnel is where all of the presenters wait for their cue to go onstage and winners exit after their speech. I couldn't of gotten any closer to the action, it was amazing!


Did your time at FUA help prepare you for your current internship; for instance the courses you studied at FUA, did they prepare you, if yes, how so?

FUA played a huge role in preparing me for this internship. Interviewers always bring up my experience abroad when reading my resume so it's great that I have substantial experiences to share thanks to FUA. All of my courses at FUA were communication focused. Being in Italy at the time, it definitely gave me a richer perspective of how to effectively communicate with people who come from different backgrounds or have different views on issues, that skill has proved to be extremely important in publicity. My favorite class was Public Relations Strategies with Professor Isabella Martini. Her course content was so relevant to today's world, even the assignments she gave had significant content I was able to use in my portfolio. One of the best aspects of the course was the opportunity to attend a press conference at Palazzo Strozzi for the Picasso and Spanish Modernity exhibition. Not only was it an unbelievable personal experience, it's also a big plus on my resume that I've been exposed to international publicity on that level.


What is one of your favorite memories during your studies at FUA?

Meeting my group of best friends. I came to Florence not knowing anyone or even anyone else studying abroad in another country that semester (I highly recommend going alone, it's completely terrifying and life-changing in the most unbelievable way). I met four other girls in my classes at FUA, aside from my roommates, all from different parts of America. We ended up traveling together during our time abroad and even had a reunion recently in the U.S. You won't be able to fully explain your experience to anyone when you get home so it's tremendously special to have a group of people you can call and say, "Don't you wish we were drinking a cappuccino right now at La Milkeria?" and they just get it.


Do you have any advice for other students studying at FUA?

  • Keep a journal. I started a blog, as did many of my friends, which was an awesome way for people back home to keep up with my travels but having a personal journal during this unique time is especially fulfilling. Being abroad, so many amazing things are happening at once it can be hard to slow down and really appreciate it all. It's not something I kept up with when I got home but writing in Europe helped me savor the experience and gave me a sense of clarity in what felt like a whirlwind at times. It's something I can look back that helps me remember little details that made the whole experience so magical. 

  • Go outside and walk every. single. day. It's so easy to get comfortable in your usual routine and only see Florence when you're walking to and from class. Don't wait until the last two weeks of being abroad to explore the city you've been lucky enough to call home. Also, venture past the typical study abroad hot spots! They're definitely a great place to meet people but going out where the locals do, though intimidating, will make you feel like you're truly in Florence and not just at a college bar on an Italian street.

  • Get to know your professors! It's so easy to get caught up in making travel plans for the weekend and figuring out which restaurant to try next when class ends but taking the time to talk to them one-on-one and ask questions will make such a difference. These are brilliant, real deal Italians who are taking the time to embrace their students, love them back! 

  • Most importantly, eat all of the pasta and gelato you can. Gain the Florence fifteen and don't regret it, it's worth every pound.

What do you hope to do after your internship?

I hope to find an assistant position in the television/film industry after I graduate in May. I know I want to end up as a television publicist for a major network but I wouldn't be opposed to exploring different parts of entertainment during my assistant years to become more well-rounded, namely in film and international publicity. I thrive off of live events, being on-set and in the middle of all the action, finding a position that requires frequent travel would be the dream.





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