I studied in Florence, Italy. As an art major with a minor in history my professor last spring really pushed for the Florence program in her classes. I have a real love for art history and I had learned a lot about the Italian renaissance through her classes and I decided that I would check out the program and go from there.
My goals were to learn to live like the locals, experience works of art like Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes, Masaccio’s Trinity, and the David. I also wanted to leave being able to say that I learned an incredible amount about the history of Italy and their art. I accomplished all of my goals and then some.
While in Italy we get to go on options trips to the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Sorento, Sienna, Pisa, Pienza, Montepulciano, and much more. Each new place was different from the last despite being in such close proximity to one another and their traditions changed as well. In Sienna, we got to see children playing soccer beside the church of Saint Catherine. In Assisi, the home of Saint Francis, as well as in Vatican City I got to attend mass. While on the Amalfi coast we got to take gondolas into the blue grotto one of the wonders of the world. I also got to go through the canals of Venice in gondolas while we were in Venice. At the end of it all, I was able to go on another trip into Lugano Switzerland where we traveled through the Italian section of Switzerland and got to hike to massive waterfalls, swim in lakes and streams, and take amazing pictures at the top of mountains.
Studying abroad is a life changing experience. Being a way from home is admittedly hard for everyone, not just some but as an individual, you grow much more than you could even imagine by traveling alone.
My greatest advice is that no matter how much the money may seem like, studying abroad is possible. If you want something badly enough you can achieve it with a little bit of perseverance and struggle. As far as students looking to study in Italy, don’t take large bags, carry around smaller bills, eat all of the gelato that you can, and aperativo starts at 7-7:30 so if you want a cheap meal that’s where you should be!