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Is there any difference in meaning? When would you use 「~として」 instead of 「~と」?

I have already looked here for usage regarding「~と」.

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The difference is actually huge as far as I am concerned. That is unless you are looking at this question from a totally different angle than I am.

「ゆっくりと」 simply describes the manner in which an action is performed. "Someone does something slowly." What that something is not mentioned or implied in 「ゆっくりと」, is it? Basically, we only have an adverb here. A verb or verb phrase would normally follow it.

「ゆっくりとして」 already contains a verb in it. 「し」 is the 連用形{れんようけい} (continuative form) of the verb 「する」.

「ゆっくり(と)する」 means "to take one's time", "to spend time leisurely", etc. It is a full verb phrase on its own; 「ゆっくりと」 is not.

Needless to say, 「ゆっくりとして」 is the te-form of 「ゆっくりとする」; therefore, another verb (phrase) would naturally follow it. You will hear/read sentences like:

「シカゴで[2-3日]{にさんにち}ゆっくりとして、それからカナダに入{はい}りたいと思{おも}っています。」

"I am thinking about spending a couple of days leisurely in Chicago and then entering Canada."

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