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Chico State

Graduating Senior Follows ‘Role Model’s’ Footsteps to Florence, Italy

Humberto Partida poses by leaning on the hand railing outside Trinity Hall, wearing a brown leather jacket and a blue shirt.
(Jason Halley / University Photographer)

Since 2016, approximately 1,600 Wildcats have studied abroad at one of 200 locations across 35 countries. In the opposite flight path, Chico State welcomes over 250 students from 54 nations annually. The following article is one of six student profiles included in ‘Passport to Self Discovery,’ a feature article in Chico Statements, Spring 2023.

  • Name: Humberto Partida
  • Traveled to: Florence, Italy
  • When: Fall 2022
  • Majors: Political Science, International Relations
  • Minors: European Studies, International Studies

Sometimes, people feel compelled to travel for reasons they don’t fully understand until the trip is done. Such was the case for Humberto Partida, a first-generation student who was born in the United States yet spent much of his childhood in Mexico, which made him feel connected to different worlds, constantly in motion.

At the end of 2021, Partida reached out to Study Abroad and Exchange about going somewhere that aligned with his budget and course requirements. With its help, funding from a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, and by using his financial aid to help cover living expenses, he was able to spend fall semester at CSU’s Florence Center—and follow in the footsteps of his “role model,” his older sister who traveled to Italy during her bachelor’s degree.

Beyond seeing the Uffizi Galleries and the Accademia, taking day trips to Pisa, and walking the famed Tuscan countryside, Partida used his faith as a compass and a reference point to explore his adopted city.

“I’m Catholic, and that’s fundamental for me. When I walked into a church in Florence, I was no longer a tourist—I was home,” said Partida. “I would either go to Holy Mass in the mornings or in the afternoons. I made a lot of friends through church and know I would have a place to stay there.”

  • Humberto Partida stands on top of a small wall overlooking the powder-blue ocean in Italy. In the distance are green mountains are flanked by wispy clouds.
  • Humberto Partida poses with a priest on a balcony overlooking the city of Florence, Italy.
  • Humberto Partida is photographed in front of a lush green field at sunset.
  • Humberto Partida poses in front of the Tower of Piza in Piza, Italy.

As one of the delegates representing Cuba at the 2023 National Model United Nations Conference, Partida is also an officer of the Chico State team. His time in Florence gave him the opportunity to revisit the work of prominent historical thinkers and writers like Dante and Machiavelli in their home cities while leaning into European and Italian politics. With all CSU International Programs, students are also required to take a three-week language program, as well as courses in Italian alongside their required classes.

With his first international experience that wasn’t centered around moving, Partida returned to the United States ready for the next phase of his life. When he graduates in May, he will once again begin anew.

“I want to go to law school in the fall. I feel like studying abroad definitely helped me because of being put in a completely new place and having to figure everything out on my own,” he said.

“That’s part of why I’m ready now.”

* Travel photographs courtesy of Humberto Partida