Lara Azzola's headshot

Lara Azzola

Resident Director, Varanasi

Start Date



Dance • History of Art • Espresso Coffee • Strolling • Hiking • Outdoor Activities • India

I love supporting students in navigating the microcosm of Varanasi, India, the city where I've lived for 17 years and accompanying them in the transformative experience of study abroad. It is very rewarding to witness how students' relation with their new environment changes in the course of the semester, when they start understanding difference, embracing diversity and becoming more cultural sensitive/nuanced individuals.


Lara holds a Laurea degree in Oriental Language and Literature from Ca��_ Foscari University of Venice, Italy. She earned Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, and her research focused on the intersections between ancient Hindu sculpture, iconography and classical Indian dance styles.

Travel Experience

Lara is from Italy and their opportunities to study abroad for Italian students, especially if interested in extra-European country, were not as developed as in USA. If you want to study abroad out of Europe, go for it, but do it on your own. Lara participated into a summer short-term Mandarin language course at the University of Peking and thereafter travelled for one month on her own in China, to visit some important ancient art heritage centers. The next year, following her interest for Asian Art, she travelled through Varanasi, North India, to reach Nepal. This travel made her understand that her further studies would have focused on art of Indian subcontinent. In 2000 she enrolled as Ph.D. scholar at Banaras Hindu University and continues to live in the city even after the completion of her dissertation.

Did You Know?

Lara studied several languages, German, English, Chinese and Hindi (beside her mother tongue, Italian), but unfortunately due to lack of practice she lost fluency in German and Chinese. Lara extensively travelled by train in India for her Ph.D. fieldwork, including a train ride from Varanasi to Chennai which lasted 42 hours.