When I made the decision to study abroad, it was a no-brainer where I wanted to go: New Zealand. Of course, my decision was heavily influenced by the picturesque nature of the country, including snow-capped mountains, endless opportunities for hiking (“tramping” to the locals), sprawling green pastures dotted with sheep and cows, and stunning natural beaches. However, the other major reason why I wanted to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand was because that is where my mother was born and raised.
My name is Riley Kieffer. I studied abroad a few years ago in Dublin, Ireland. While I was abroad, I traveled to nine different countries (including my host country). I took thousands of photos, and that is no exaggeration. I also kept my ticket stubs from places I visited and got bookmarks and postcards from each place as souvenirs. I posted some of my photos to Instagram and it was a great way to share my experiences with friends and family.
I have been an out and proud lesbian since I was a sophomore in high school. I was in my schools’ gay-straight alliance. It hasn’t always been easy, but I was lucky enough to live in a relatively accepting community and a very accepting family. I am not ignorant of how much privilege I have had growing up in my community and feeling accepted.
In spring 2020, I studied with RIT affiliate, Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA), in Florence, Italy. While in Florence I worked as a social media intern for Black History Month Florence (BHMF). I completed 2 months in person and the rest online due to COVID-19.