Brenau Voices: Massimo Bellew

Apr. 12, 2022
Kelsey Podo

From Italy to Brenau

Massimo Bellew has started his journey to the entertainment industry 

While stuck at his home in Florence, Italy, recovering from COVID-19, Massimo Bellew decided he needed to make a radical change in his life — move across the world and attend Brenau.

“Florence has a long history, and I think growing up there gave me a cultural background,” Bellew said. “But, I think it’s not good to stay in your country for the rest of your life. I think you need to have experiences, that’s why I came here.”

Bellew is now in the second semester at Brenau, and is pursuing a bachelor’s in mass communication. His connection to Brenau stems from his American father, Shelton Bellew, who works as a professor at the university. 

Like many international students, Bellew said he was abruptly confronted with the cultural differences between his home country and the U.S. 

Two things really stood out to him — humor and greetings. Bellew soon found out that not all Americans enjoy dark humor, nor do they appreciate being kissed on each cheek when saying hello or goodbye, a standard greeting in Italy.

“In Italy, when we kiss someone on the cheek, it’s our way to welcome a person. It’s like a hug,” he said. “What traumatized me is that here in America, people do side hugs. To me, it looks like, ‘I don’t want to give you a hug, so I’ll give you a side hug.’”

Bellew said he now understands the importance of adapting to change instead of fighting it. 

“My decision was brave,” he said. “I want to say that about myself because it’s not easy to throw yourself in another country and another culture. What I want to tell people who are about to start college, is do it. You might have a more interesting life than if you stay in your hometown for the rest of your life.”

Although he doesn’t know what career he wants to pursue within the entertainment industry, he knows Brenau will help him find his path. Bellew said he has grown to value the small class sizes and the support of his professors, particularly Jay Andrews, who led him to an internship with WDUN in Gainesville. 

“Professor Andrews has been my biggest support,” Bellew said. “I was not sure which direction I was going, and he gave me the motivation to go on and gave me good connections. The professors here are really interactive, and I appreciate this relationship we have because they know us, and we know them.”

When asked by his friends if he would change his life all over again to study at Brenau, Bellew replied with, “One-hundred times. Yes, I would do it again.”