University of South Florida

Muma College of Business

Tampa | St. Petersburg | Sarasota-Manatee


Kande DaCosta

Student spotlight: USF junior Kande DaCosta adopts ‘calming energy’ from Italian study abroad trip

Before she even set foot on campus, finance major Kande DaCosta binge-watched “Day in the Life” videos on YouTube to get a sense of college life on the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus.

It didn’t take long for her to stumble upon references to the USF World Education Abroad program. And while DaCosta was already moving to the U.S. from her native St. Andrew parish in Jamaica to “study abroad,” traveling and experiencing college life in other countries intrigued her.

So much so that during her orientation, DaCosta made sure to ask USF World staff about the opportunities that had piqued her love of adventure in those online videos. She even met with advisors to consider the best location and timing, deciding that studying abroad as a third-year student made the most sense.

In her first two years at the Muma College of Business, DaCosta was involved in student life and held elected leadership roles in both Student Government and the Black Student Association, while working as a student assistant in the dean's office at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance

At the beginning of her junior year, DaCosta packed her bags and headed to her new temporary home in Florence, Italy, fulfilling a goal she mapped out as a freshman. 

DaCosta said studying abroad in Florence, known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, brought a relaxed and calming energy to her daily routine.

In Florida, DaCosta’s day is consumed with going to the gym, attending classes, work, student organization meetings, and school activities. In Italy, her focus switched to expanding her education and exploring the city through traveling and sightseeing. 

She noticed cultural differences in the classroom, as well. 

“School in Italy was more focused on real-life situations,” said DaCosta. “In the U.S. we have quizzes, papers, exams, and assignments, but in Italy the curriculum and the professors taught us how to apply our knowledge to our future careers."

Kande DaCosta

Kande DaCosta

After enjoying her semester abroad, returning to the U.S. meant returning to her busy life at USF. However, DaCosta brought some of her Italian lifestyle back with her. She has learned to add a little more leisure into her daily life and focus on how her studies will be applied in her future career.

“Italians value their leisure time,” said DaCosta. “A typical day in Italy consisted of a three-hour class that I attended weekly, followed by some sightseeing, lunch at a café, and then some relaxation time before heading to dinner with my friends.”

She learned to take things a little slower in her life at home. 

Angelica Foley

Angelica Foley

“Cross cultural learning can be a transformative experience,” said Angelica Foley, an academic and HR services administrator on the USF St. Petersburg campus who has supervised DaCosta for three years. “I am so proud that Kande got to experience this while studying abroad.”

DaCosta is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in finance with an expected graduation in May of 2025.

“Math was just always it for me,” said DaCosta. “Even as a child in Jamaica math was always my favorite subject.”

After taking an accounting course in high school, DaCosta realized that while she was good at the subject, she didn’t enjoy the work. That's why finance appealed to her.

She is looking forward to helping people find financial freedom through a career in wealth management and financial advising. 

Return to article listing

About Business News

Welcome to USF Muma College of Business news. We are dedicated to sharing compelling stories about our innovative research, outstanding faculty, staff, and students, and significant accomplishments from all three campuses. Here we are one college, six schools, and all business.