CCM Education Benefits Student in Milan, Italy During the COVID Crisis

Class of 2020 Graduate Utilizes Her Language Skills to Excel at Work

“Being a student at CCM was one of the best gifts that life has given to me so far.”

Major: Liberal Arts
Class: 2020

Young woman in yellow shirt near a blue scooterWhen Benedetta Tomasini returned to Milan, Italy after completing her studies at County College of Morris (CCM) last August, she never expected she would end up in one of the early epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everything happened so fast. One day I’m saying, ‘The virus won’t ever get here. It’s in China; it’s far away.’ I was not the only one who made that mistake, but since then my life has changed completely. I found myself locked down inside the walls of my house with nothing to do. The police were everywhere to make sure people were not out for anything other than getting groceries and medication,” says Tomasini.

A member of the CCM Class of 2020, Tomasini came to New Jersey as an au pair and then enrolled at CCM. As Milan has now started to reopen, she has been able to return to work where she utilizes the English and Spanish language skills she learned as a student at CCM. She handles social media and other responsibilities for Ornella Prosperi, a leading global provider of horse racing and jockey clothing.

“I deal everyday with clients from European countries, from the U.S., from Japan and sometimes from Australia,” she says.

But it’s not just the languages she learned as a student at CCM that have assisted her.

“Being a student at CCM was one of the best gifts that life has given to me so far,” says Tomasini. “I could not be happier, more thrilled and proud of myself. CCM helped me with my own growth, and to me that lesson is the most important one. Every class I took helped me to learn how to grit my teeth and take one day at a time. I was also lucky to have some inspiring professors who taught me how to smile at life, even during rainy days.”

As an August 2019 graduate, Tomasini is part of the CCM Class of 2020 and had initially planned to travel back to New Jersey to take part in commencement. Since that now is not possible, she will be awakening at 1 a.m. in Italy to view the virtual ceremony CCM will be premiering on Friday, June 12, at 7 p.m. Tomasini earned her Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from CCM.

After graduating high school in 2014 at age 19, Tomasini was uncertain about her future and what she wanted to do in life. What she did know is that she liked the idea of spending some time in the U.S. so she applied to be an au pair in America.

“While I was living my best life as an au pair with the best host family I could have ever asked for, I was required by the program I was in to take some college classes so I could extend my visa for another year,” says Tomasini. “I heard that CCM offered ESL classes so I enrolled. After almost a year, it was time to go back home to Italy but I wanted to stay in New Jersey longer, so I enrolled at CCM to get an associate degree and was able to stay with my host family.”

Being an international student whose first language is not English was not easy, she says. “But like the song says, ‘Nobody said it was easy.’” Plus, she adds, she was helped along the way by the professors and staff at CCM.

“I never met a person at CCM who stepped away from helping me. I am where I am now because of them and the support of family, friends and my host family. I want to say a thank you to my lovely host family and all their neighbors for loving me as part of their 'crews,' as we used to say, to my best friends who virtually crossed the ocean every day on the phone, to my professors and to my friend Andrea, my toughest one. Thank you; love you all."