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A Portrait of Natalie Folli

By Emily Brustein


Natalie is a sophomore studying International Relations and Global Studies with a focus on Culture, Media, and the Arts. She grew up in Milano, Italia until she moved to San Antonio, Texas at six years old. Initially, she struggled with culture shock and navigating a completely different world at a young age. Her father stopped speaking Italian at home in an effort to help the family practice English. However, one month every year, she would always converse in Italian while traveling to beaches and mountains with her extended family.



It was during one of those vacations where she first tried her favorite dish of all time: her nonna’s gnocchi.


Since Natalie had never learned how to read or write in Italian at home, she came to UT Austin with the desire to pursue that goal. She decided to start taking Italian classes from the beginning level in order to build a strong foundation of knowledge and grammar. She has enjoyed her experiences so much that she’s considering majoring in Italian. Captivated by the natural beauty of Italy, her goal is to return and pursue a future career there. Natalie is considering working for a non-profit or within the fields of Italian-American relations, business, or art and fashion.



One of her goals is to learn Spanish and Portuguese before the age of twenty-five. “I want to learn as much as I can outside of a narrow scope, including how other people view the world, so I can truly become a global citizen. My understanding of others’ culture will aid me in my goal to create a positive impact.”

“I want to learn as much as I can outside of a narrow scope, including how other people view the world, so I can truly become a global citizen. My understanding of others’ culture will aid me in my goal to create a positive impact.”

Her desire to understand others on a human level, from learning about their ways of life, culture, and customs, is inspiring. I cannot wait to see her journey!