Elise Marafioti ’03

Major in Film Studies

I was born and raised in New York and up until the end of high school, I was pursuing a professional ballet career. After a year of training in Philadelphia, while taking an English class at a local school to complete my degree, one of the guidance counselors sat me down to talk about college. I had had no real plans to go, since dancing had been my sole focus, but as we spoke, the idea of taking a brief hiatus from dance started to sound appealing. I spotted an AUP brochure and decided that a semester in Paris would be a great way to explore other interests and travel a bit before returning to the US and dancing. Less than a year in, I knew that I’d found where I was supposed to be, and one semester turned into five years!  

I arrived at AUP with no real idea of what I wanted to study. After taking classes in Art History and Comparative Literature, I landed in the Global Communications department, where I took every film class offered. At the end of my four years, I was the first student to graduate with a degree in Film and Media, and I also minored in International Communications, and Theater and Performance.  

AUP’s international student body and faculty broadened my perspective of the world and helped me find my place in it.

Elise Marafioti ’03

It wasn’t always easy, transitioning from dancing full-time to being a student full-time. However, I was surrounded by an amazing community that taught me, challenged me, and supported me in ways that I could never have anticipated: I probably learned as much from my classmates and professors over coffee and games of pool in the beloved AMEX as I did in my classes. AUP’s international student body and faculty broadened my perspective of the world and helped me find my place in it. As the old saying goes, “There’s no place like AUP”, and it doesn’t hurt that our campus is located in one of the most magical cities ever! I still keep in touch with professors and classmates and I wish I could see more AUPers more often.  

I’ve been in love with Paris since I was 15 but studying at AUP allowed me to really plunge into my love affair with the city, which will forever be my second home. It was that knowledge of Paris, combined with my ability to speak French, which landed me my dream job with Haven in Paris, a vacation rental agency, whose properties are in Paris, Provence, Tuscany, and London. I love traveling to all of these beautiful places, working with our incredible international team, and making sure that our guests have the perfect stay. Living in Paris not only gave me access to greater academic and professional experiences, but also helped me become a better person.   

I currently live in New York, where I’m the operations manager for Haven in Paris. This past February, I gave birth to my first child, a baby girl named Isadora, and we’re both doing very well. I can’t wait to bring her to Paris with me and show her the most beautiful city in the world.