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ISSUE I | a magazine abroad


A Voi Magazine | 2017

Staff: Editor: Carrie George Art Director: Jacqueline Wammes Photo Editor: Gina DeSimone Promotions Manager: Aleah Coppin Copy Editors: Austin Mariasy, Nicolette Fisher, Colleen Cummins


JACQUELINE LETTER FROM CARRIE home from class one cold day Coming to Italy wasn’t quite THE EDITORS Walking as romantic as the fantasies of in Florence I remember cursing the students before us for not warning us about how cold it would be. Or how hard culture shock would hit us. Or how many tourists would infiltrate the city. I felt helpless. Trapped in an unfamiliar world, unable to communicate with anyone, with only folders and pamphlets full of unusable advice in my pocket. I was suffocated, lost, confused and silenced.

childhood. No hot Italian pop star asked me to perform at the International Music Awards, I never got a Vespa ride from a handsome stranger and I didn’t find an old lady’s long lost lover and reunite them while falling in love with her grandson. I had a vision of Italy in my head and when I realized that Italy wasn’t the cinematic experience I wanted I became frustrated.

Spending four months in a foreign country is a once in a lifetime opportunity full of incredible experiences and enriching life lessons, but it isn’t always easy. This magazine began as a way to rip off the mask of study abroad and reveal its true face – blemishes and all. In an attempt to regain control of the wild ride I wandered onto, I began writing about the many differences I encountered, the people I met and the experiences that, one by one, began to make the world appear a whole lot smaller.

Creating A Voi with Carrie became my way of showing Italy though my eyes- no 3D glasses required. We wanted to give people a dash of reality when it came to studying abroad. I wanted to “expose” Italy for it’s faults and prevent people from making my same mistake. However, in between photographing cracks in the sidewalks or piles of trash I began to fall in love with the city. I looked forward to walking home and seeing the familiar shops and faces. I made friends who explained to me why they loved the city, in turn, deepening my affection. A Voi gave me a way to learn about the city I live in and a voice to be able to explain why I loved it so much.

Everyone who contributed to A Voi Magazine has a unique perspective on the ups and downs of study abroad. We all encountered something different throughout our four months here. But by writing our experiences, by sharing with our readers the wonderful and terrifying stories we have, we managed to dig ourselves out of the silence and find our voice. We hope A Voi Magazine makes it easier for you to find your voice in Italy the same way we did.

A voi translates at ‘to you (all).’ This is to you all. This is Florence. This is the dirty streets, the sun casting its’ rays on the Duomo, the broken glass, the crowds of tourists, the children chasing pigeons, the multitude of languages being spoken all around you, the carousel, the bars open until 4 a.m., the street performers and, yes, even the gypsies. We hope you like it as much as we do.

We’d like to thank Fabio Corsini our amazing professor and advisor. Thank you for always being there to help wherever needed - from driving us to the airport to making us smile in class you’re actually the best.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

CULTURE #SHOOK SHOOK by: Samantha Meisenburg

I’ve been dreaming about studying abroad in college since I was in high school. I thought about the potential countries I would go to, the sights I would see, the people I would meet and my overall life changing experience. Never once did I consider culture shock or the difficult adjustment to a new country’s culture. When I finally picked my college, I explored the potential opportunities for study abroad. The experience in Florence caught my eye. I saw countless advertisements talking about this wonderful opportunity to leave the states for a semester to study at a Kent State Campus in Florence, Italy. Italy, I thought. What an opportunity that would be - I would gain so many new friends, I would go to different countries, I would explore Italian cities hours from me and I would see so many things I’ve only seen in textbooks or through Google searches. Once I decided to go to Florence, I asked past students and my friends about their time abroad, and they raved about it. “Florence is beautiful!” “This will be the best four months of your life!” “I can’t wait for you to experience how amazing Florence is!” Never once did they talk about culture shock. Now, I can’t blame them for not informing me because I didn’t ask. I don’t know if I genuinely forgot to ask because I was too focused on idolizing the city or if I was afraid of the answer I might have gotten.

photo: Colleen Cummins



A Voi Magazine | 2017

photo: Colleen Cummins

I think it was a combination of both because at our weekly meetings where we discussed life in Florence, culture shock was brought up in conversation but never explained in much detail. The faculty told us, “Culture shock is real, and some of you will have it and some of you won’t.” No one asked further questions. I’m sure we were all thinking about the fantasy world of Florence, assuming culture shock would never touch us. Getting to spend a semester in Italy as a student should be like Disney World, right? Unfortunately it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Florence and these last four months

have been the greatest of my life so far. This experience is unique and everything I dreamed of, but it is not as glamorous as anticipated. I had culture shock, and it was bad at times. Other people have experienced it too; most people I’ve talked to so far here in Florence have had their fair share. Some worse than others. Culture shock comes in different forms, but is most commonly a sense of confusion and uncertainty. Sometimes people have feelings of anxiety or distress that stems from exposure to an alien culture. In our pre-departure orientation

meetings, the College of Communication and Information faculty did their best to prepare us for Florence. They gave us travel tips and exposed us to some of the cultural differences we might encounter. However, they neglected to focus on culture shock itself. This is understandable because promoting culture shock in study abroad advertisements would not necessarily lure people in. However, having a more in-depth conversation about the effects of culture shock meetings would have improved our experience. In those meetings, we had a student leader who shared her own experiences with us. We also had one


Looking back, I wish someone

had talked to me about the realities of culture shock so that I would be prepared.

class where past Florence students came in and answered our questions. Not once did they bring up culture shock or any negative things we might experience in Florence. Why would they? They were promoting Florence, and after coming back to the U.S. why would you want to dwell on the bad parts of your experience? My classmates and I never brought up the topic, assuming that culture shock only happened to an unlucky few, that Florence would be too beautiful and fantastic for culture shock to affect us or that it would be such a small issue that we would hardly notice. Whatever the reason, the question unasked remained unanswered. There was nothing wrong with portraying Florence this way because no one wanted to start their study abroad experience worrying about the hardships they would face; I definitely didn’t want to know. Looking back, I wish someone had talked to me about the realities of culture shock so that I would be prepared. I wish someone could have been more realistic with me and pulled my head out of the clouds. I wish someone had told me the actual reality of Florence, not the fantasized version that I created in my head. But with everything else, culture shock doesn’t last because you eventually get accustomed with your environment.

My culture shock lasted about a month. I was in the first stage of culture shock, the honeymoon phase, for a while because I’ve never been to Europe and everything here was new. Then after realizing that I was actually living in Florence and just vacationing for a week, I moved into the frustration stage. I understood more of the Italian way of life and how it was significantly different than my life in the U.S. It was hard to adjust. I couldn’t read labels on everyday items I needed at the grocery store, the heat was only allowed to stay on for 12 hours at 60 degrees, making me constantly cold, the

roads were very small and narrow with people, pets, cars and bikes all trying to maneuver at the same time, water didn’t come free with meals and enduring endless flirting from strangers wasn’t endearing to me anymore, it was frustrating. After realizing that I’m not just vacationing, I noticed school was starting to pick up and I had tests, papers and homework due . I also started to feel more homesick than usual. Before my semester abroad, I had only traveled with my family. Traveling through Italy and Europe without them was heartbreaking. I felt an immense amount of guilt because I was experiencing this opportunity without them; but a few phone


A Voi Magazine | 2017

photo: Colleen Cummins

calls home made me realize that I deserve this time abroad and that I needed to enjoy these four months. Once I got accustomed to everything that was different from the U.S., once I grew closer to my professors asking them questions about Italian culture, I slowly made my way through the adjustment stage. After a month, I felt more adjusted because I knew where to go, how to order and had learned a little of the language. Once I became familiar with the Italian way of life, I felt more

at ease and confidant. I finally started accepting my new home, Florence. All in all, I know when I go back I will not dwell or even discuss the frustrations I had in Florence. I’ll only focus on the lifetime friends I made, the places I visited, the things I saw, the memories I made and the professors who made my stay wonderful - just like all the previous students have done. But, if someone asked me point blank about culture shock in Florence, I wouldn’t sugar coat how I felt because

it was real and everyone experiences it at varying degrees. I will tell them how it affected me, how I overcame it and how not to let it ruin your time abroad. Florence is truly a beautiful place filled with history, food, fashion, arts and culture that everyone needs to experience at least once in their life. This has been an exquisite four months and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my time here.


My name is Nile Vincz. I’ve been interested in photography for about six years now, four of them being professionally. My favorite style is street photography because of the view it gives you of casual, everyday life, but in a way that most people tend to be oblivious to. These photos were taken in Madrid and Lisbon, and capture that casual, yet special moment that I believe photography is all about.



A Voi Magazine | 2017



A Voi Magazine | 2017



A Voi Magazine | 2017

by: Benjamin Bartling


as long as I can remember I have a had a huge fascination in the “why” of things in our world. Why are stop signs red? Why do people like Apple products? Why do people use Comic Sans to send professional emails? Why are some companies more popular than other companies? I come from a family that is mostly made up of communication majors, advertisers, artists and graphic designers. I tend to notice the little things about our world and wonder, why? As I grew older I discovered that most of these questions can be answered by principles of form, function and design. I have studied graphic design for a long time, first as a hobby and then as my college major. If you know anything about design, you will understand that typography, or the use of letters and type to visually communicate, is a huge part of our society and the way our brains process information. Italy has played a pivotal role in the history of typography and design. Design books are filled with ancient examples of Italian typography, and from the time I’ve spent here I have learned about the strong connections Italians have with their past. My only question is, “What happened to the typography?” Without the heavy influence of Roman

N DE typography, we would live in a very different world. So why is there such a narrow focus on the importance of good type? The only thing I have noticed here that is more obnoxious than the bad typography is the aggressive tourism, and the more I have explored Italy, I have started to notice a connection between them. Bad design is everywhere, and I’m not saying Italy doesn’t produce good design; Italy has a robust past of very powerful and beautiful graphic design. One of my favorite styles of design has a strong history here. Futurism was an artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. In the last century of the second millennium, a dark shadow of change and disaster fell over Europe. Advances in technology and science started to create highly sophisticated industrial products ranging from high tech movies to biological warfare. Life had been changed forever, and there was no going back. A revolution in culture was

happening, and artists struggled to depict it. Technology was new, bold and fast. Italian artists soon realized that the visuals and language of the world were outdated and they needed to find a way to bring art, design and language into the modern world. The Italian poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, published “The Futurism Manifesto.” The manifesto was a rejection of the past and a celebration of change, originality and industrialism. He was passionate about the future and loathed the past. “We want no part of it, the past,” he wrote, “we the young and strong Futurists!” At the time, Italy was divided in two, and, with the Great War on the horizon, Marinetti knew the revolution this war would bring. He encouraged artists to use it as their muse. Modern visual communication was born after he published the graphic account of the Battle of Tripoli.


“The book will be the futurists expression of our futurist consciousness,” He wrote. “A new painterly, typographic representation will be born out of the printed pages.” Marinetti led a movement that would heavily influence the Modernist art movement. Italy again would be the leader in a major revolution in art and design, which would eventually lead to the creation of the standard of quality design.

form. Form helps make the product look presentable and it creates a connection from the industry to the consumer, establishing a sense of loyalty. Just think of people who love Apple. While I might not feel Apple is that great of a company, or produces excellent computers, I cannot deny that the MacBook I’m typing this on is a work of art.

SIGN Ironically, the push for acceptance of the industrial revolution through design and art also led to the downfall of quality of design and art in the public eye. The advancement in technology has led to the Prosumer Movement. The futurist Alvin Toffler argues that as we progress into a PostIndustrial Age, technology enables the now dubbed “prosumer” to create and sell their own goods. Instead of being purchased in a marketplace, the prosumer creates their own goods, thus removing the need for industry. Prosumerism is not necessarily a bad thing. Being a prosumer has given a lot of people the ability to learn and create, and it has driven the price of goods and services down. The issue with prosumerism appears when function takes over form. Designing for both form and function is a delicate balance; when one is ignored the consumer suffers. The prosumer movement neglects

So how does this relate to typography? As I have learned, Italy does not seem to have a strong sense of national pride, but, instead, a strong sense of heritage and a connection to their past. Unfortunately, because of tourism and globalization, this past is widely misunderstood. When I think of Italy, I think of the Colosseum, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. All of these things are a way to connect to the ancient past of Italy. But when you go to a museum or visit the Colosseum, low-quality and poorly designed souvenirs and trinkets detract from the masterpieces themselves. It seems that everywhere you go people are trying to shove cheap junk down your throat to make a quick buck. Beautiful, high-quality products have been exchanged for cheap, plastic trinkets. Tourism is engulfing the rich culture of Italy, and the first thing fading out of existence is emphasis on design and creation.

Italy has a strong artistic history, so why not use the beauty of typography to embellish the magic of the past? Instead, what we see is an ancient historic landmark portrayed as a gimmick, because you see a tourist walking around with a shirt that says “I <3 Rome” in Comic Sans.


A Voi Magazine | 2017



Florence is home to a wide array of renowned and influential art pieces. From Michelangelo, to DaVinci, to Botticelli, Italy has fostered the growth of some of history’s most skilled and innovative artists. But wander through the museums and galleries, and you’ll begin to ask yourself one question: where are all the women artists?


he millions who have visited the Galleria Borghese in Rome can speak to its impressive collection of Renaissance art. Housed in a building originally constructed as a personal museum to the Cardinal, it is a large and extensive collection of art from Renaissance masters.

Cardinal Scipione Borghese began his art collection in the 17th century. He built the Villa Borghese to store his vast array of masterpieces. Initially a private gallery shown to visitors and friends, the Villa is now a public museum showcasing the majority of the Borghese collection. Tourists, art lovers and historians alike come from far and wide to see masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini and Titian.

by: Carrie George

painting depicts two views of love. On the left side there is an image of a woman dressed in modest white, fully clothed from head to toe. Her body is closed off and her face is angled toward the viewer, as if she is listening closely and attentively. On the right side there is another image of the same woman. In this image she is nearly naked draped in small swatches of cloth that do little to cover her body. Her arms are open, her body exposed. She turns her head away from the viewer, apathetic and distant to anyone but herself. In the center of the painting we see Cupid, signifying that this is a painting about love.

One interpretation suggests that the two images of the same woman represent the two different types of One of the famous pieces that caught love. The first type is respectful and my eye was “Sacred and Profane Love” dignified. It is about appearances by the Venetian painter Titian. The and good behavior. It is about


doing as one is told and striving always to be an obedient wife. The second type is sexual and promiscuous. It is about passion and lust. It is about recklessness and indulgence in pleasure. By this interpretation, the painting is a morality lesson for woman about to marry. Titian portrays the two types of brides: the pure and the sinful, the sacred and the profane. Renaissance and Medieval art are not kind to women. When women are depicted, they are either stereotyped and idealized, or they are victims. In the Galleria Borghese alone there are two sculptures portraying the rape of women. The question then becomes, where were the women artists during this time period? What were they doing to stand up for

themselves? Are their voices still lingering in gallery walls today? Dr. Jane Fortune has been asking the same questions for years now. Known for her efforts to restore art by women in Florence, she has dedicated much of her life to finding, restoring and publicizing the forgotten pieces by Florence’s great women artists.

AWA uses extensive research to connect the few dots they are given in order to properly portray the female artist and the piece she created. Next comes the restoration process. Women specialists meticulously work countless hours to repair damage and protect pieces from future wear.

Though tedious, this important piece of the AWA puzzle can warrant many new discoveries about the artist. Restorers often learn about the artist’s technique, the journey she made from starting the piece to finishing it and her knowledge about art and painting. They begin with identifying and cataloging the piece. They also collect Finally comes the exhibition. as much information about the artist As their website states, “To truly love something you must as possible. This can be difficult, as there are not many records of women be able to see it.” Exhibition is crucial to the plight to give female of the era, but that’s what makes artists a voice. The artist must the work all the more important.

Ten years ago, Fortune formed the Advancing Women’s Art Foundation (AWA). Their mission can be summed up simply in three words: research, restoration and exhibition.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

They really didn’t have any Renaissance artists that were women because that wasn’t a woman’s place at the time. be granted a suitable public platform. The public circulation of art restored by the Advancing Women’s Art Foundation has already impacted the city of Florence. Their hard work has garnered public recognition and gratitude. Recently, they have spent a considerable amount of time and energy towards restoring art by Florence’s first female artist, Plautilla Nelli.

took advantage of her free entry to Florence’s museums. She spent her day at the Uffizi Gallery and visited the Nelli exhibit. “She depicted people crying and she showed true, raw emotion in a way that hadn’t truly been done before,” Kellow observed about Nelli’s work. In most of Nelli’s pieces, she depicts females crying. It is her own unique trademark, a small detail no artist before her had used. Kellow, who has visited many art museums around Italy, observed that work produced by female artists is rarely exhibited. She recalled seeing the most female art in Venice at the Peggy Guggenheim museum: a museum for contemporary art. However, the art in that museum, Kellow said, was produced by Peggy Guggenheim’s own daughter.

A nun and a self-taught artist, Nelli was a highly skilled and dedicated artist who took inspiration from male artists before her, such as Fra Bartolomeo and Andrea del Sarto The exhibit of Nelli’s work opened in the Uffizi Gallery on March 8, International Women’s Day. On the same day, the city of Florence granted all women free access to art museums across the city.

“They really didn’t have any Renaissance artists that were women because that wasn’t a woman’s place at the time.”

Julia Kellow, a junior Hospitality Management major studying at the Kent State Florence Institute

As Florence and the rest of Italy has progressed through time, their treatment of women has


improved. However, the modern woman in Florence still cannot claim equal status with men.

For every exhibit featuring a female artist, there are several other exhibits featuring male artists portraying unrealistic standards for women. While both exhibits are necessary for understanding and appreciating Renaissance art, modern society must remain critical about the antiquated art hanging on gallery walls.

“The respect of women is much different in Italy than anything I’ve experienced in America,” said Kellow. “There’s men always yelling at you ‘bella, bella,’ trying to get your attention or trying to take advantage of you no matter where you are.” “I really liked the fact that the Organizations such as the Advancing gallery did the display on the nun Women’s Art Foundation have and that it was spotlighted, but been making great strides towards I think it should just become a improving opportunities for women regular practice,” Kellow said about in Florence, but nothing can the Nelli exhibit in the Uffizi. change the roots of the Renaissance still ingrained in the city. Kellow and countless other

women in Florence enjoyed their day of celebration. They found comfort in the hard work of Dr. Jane Fortune and the Advancing Women’s Art Foundation. They found inspiration in the work of Florence’s first female artist. They found hope in an exhibit that did not idealize or stereotype women. “In all of history the human race has been referred to as mankind so it’s nice to take this one day and shed light on women,” Kellow said. The question now becomes is one day enough?


A Voi Magazine | 2017 photo: Carrie George

Florence be kind to me

and let your hollow heart; resonate with mine tonight‌ ...reverberates through the small SACI gardens on a Monday night in April. My classmates and I had the opportunity to help our professor shoot a music video for a local band called unePassante. by: Jacqueline Wammes


Giulia Sarno, the lead vocalist for the band, is a born Sicilian who at the time the song was written was looking for a place to call home. “I wrote the song a few years ago, no more than one year after I moved to Florence. That first year had been quite hard on me: I found myself displaced and kind of lost, I wasn’t sure why I had moved here,” she said. “But in time. something slowly changed, I could feel that I was growing a sort of attachment to the city, and I had mixed feelings about this.” In an effort to understand her growing attachment to the city she disliked in her youth, Sarno wrote Florence Be Kind to Me, the first single from unePassante’s third album. She explained that the people of Florence, a city that sees so many tourists, study abroad students and “temporary people,” built up walls to defend themselves from growing attached to people who would, ultimately, leave. “Most newcomers will only spend a very short period of their lives here, and then go home or move somewhere else.

But still, for that short period of time, they will affect the lives of the Florentines with their presence, which can get very invasive.” She found it disconcerting to create relationships in a city where people expected her to leave in a few months. “They know that most of these people will not be here for long, so it is just worthless for them to make the effort of getting to know them.” She persisted still, determined to win them over with consistency. “It took me a whole year to win their suspicion,” she recalled. “I would meet the same people at concerts, pubs, events, so little by little they understood I wasn’t going to leave. I started to be perceived as a steady presence in the music scene, so maybe they thought it would be worth it to give me a chance to become their friend.” Now, about seven years after calling Florence her home, Sarno wouldn’t change a thing. “I wish people could just feel the amazing atmosphere of my

neighborhood, Santo Spirito, in the fresh springtime mornings. I walk the streets on my way to work and say ‘Ciao’ to the Pakistani shop owner, to the guys from Southern Italy that run the artisanal brewery, to the Florence born-and-raised produce seller who talks about Fiorentina soccer team all day, to the German teacher that lives next-door, and so on. Once you become part of the Florentine community, it is very hard to think about leaving.” But you must be a fool; You must be a fool; To think that I’ll stop loving you. As we find ourselves wrapping up our four-month adventure in Florence, Sarno’s best advice is, “if you live Florence only from a tourist-like point of view, you miss the true heart of this city.” Finding the heart of the city will be what creates a lasting impression on both you and Florence. Florence be kind to me; And let your hollow heart; Resonate with mine tonight.

photo: Nile Vincz


A Voi Magazine | 2017

photo: Carrie George

photo: Nile Vincz


photo: Carrie George

photo: Nile Vincz


A Voi Magazine | 2017

by: Madison Satmary


he political turmoil arising in the United States is influencing other countries to also stand up against their own government systems. People all around the world are watching as a once sturdy country goes through an unprecedented time of struggle and uncertainty. The election of president Donald Trump sent repercussions throughout the United States as we watched instances of racism, violence and bullying increase. This consequence comes as no surprise when the ruler of our country uses threatening and discriminatory language toward targeted groups of people who share different religions, ethnicities and races. Most Americans can recognize the iconic red and blue poster of then-senator Barack Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign poster. After its creation, it became associated with Obama’s administration and its goal to restore hope and fairness in American society. Eight years later, days before Trump’s inauguration, the same artist responsible for the poster, Shepard Fairey, found inspiration to create three new posters with what he said portrayed a “similar message of hope.” Fairey organized the “We the

A WORLD People Campaign,” which meant to empower the minority groups that Trump criticized. The artist depicts three women from different marginalized groups. It should be noted that Fairey not only highlighted the three minority groups but also depicted them as women. This intentional detail became an important message during the Women’s March on Washington on the morning of Jan. 21, 2017. This event was not isolated to one location; it was a worldwide protest advocating for human rights such as racial equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, freedom of religion

countries on all seven continents demonstrated against the newly inaugurated Donald Trump. “If you plan on marching this Saturday, carry these signs high with pride” Shepard Fairey said about the march.

I attended the Women’s March outside the U.S. Consulate in Florence to show my support for the United States and to hear the stories of fellow Americans living in Italy during this strenuous period in our country’s history. I arrived a couple hours after it began, when they had just started an open forum for people to share their experiences of being an American living in Florence. Almost everywhere I looked, there were women, and, surprisingly, some of the most passionate opposers were not American. For example, one German woman spoke about her fear of a Trump presidency, and began to tear up after adding that her grandmother had been a survivor of the Holocaust.

and many more issues that arose during Trump’s campaign. Protesters around the world showed solidarity with the United States as people from 80 different

You could see in her eyes and hear in her trembling voice the immense love she had for the world and how terrified she was that Trump’s reign would destroy it. I’d never felt so inspired to fight for what is right, and I was very proud to be there and experience such an emotional rally. After everyone had shared their stories, we all joined together in song as we softly repeated, “We shall overcome”. It was inspiring to hear so many people from all different backgrounds join together for something as simple as a song. It made me hopeful for unity in the future.


Divided If so many like-minded, determined people can come together, nothing is impossible. In a time where tensions between leaders and the people they govern are at an all time high, nothing goes without consequence. Every action has a reaction. Lately, these reactions have started to re-shape the way history is made. As the Women’s March proved, people’s responses hold great weight around the world, making them a force to be reckoned with.

by: Samantha Meisenburg


t the Women’s March, millions of people from many different countries, cultures, ethnicities, languages, races, genders and sexualities walked in solidarity. All over the world, people came together with signs, posters and even clothing to communicate their thoughts and frustrations. All who participated in the march were making history, as the

Women’s March was, very likely, though it cannot be confirmed, the most attended protest recorded. The marchers didn’t just vocally express their discontent but the also created unique, witty, hysterical, honest, inspiring and transparent signs and posters that the marchers held high and proud as they walked the streets in Rome, D.C., Florence, London, Paris, Dublin and more. After the march, many demonstrators placed their signs at significant landmarks such as the White House gate or outside Trump Tower to reiterate that this fight was only just beginning. Museums around the world collected the abandoned posters to create potential future exhibitions and preserve the historic day. The New York Historical Society said in a statement, “We collected approximately 20 signs in D.C. and New York City, as well as several buttons, hats, flyers and stickers.” Stef Dickers, a special collections and archives manager at the Bishopsgate Institute, which is a cultural institute

in London, said, “we knew [the march] was a very important moment in London protest history, so we were very keen to make sure it was recorded… History doesn’t end in 1945. History is made every day.” Many museums such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Newberry Library in Chicago and Bishopsgate Institute used social media by tweeting about the collection of signs from the Women’s March. The effort that the museums are taking to preserve history in the form of collecting signs for showcases and displays is crucial in preserving history. People will look back on this memorable day filled with love, unity and resistance and remember what they were fighting for. This protest was unique because attendees weren’t joined together to protest one specific issue, but rather multiple issues that they felt needed to be heard. These issues included opposition of Trump’s presidency, support of immigrants, women’s rights and LGBTQ rights.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

SENZA GLUTINE by: Colleen Cummins

Studying abroad is supposed to be a fun-filled cultural experience. However, for people with dietary restrictions or alternative eating habits, this isn’t always the case. When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, a disease that causes hypersensitivity to gluten, the only thought that came to mind was that I would soon be studying abroad in Italy - the gluten capital of the world. A large part of Italian culture is food. Giving up the handmade pasta and pizza recipes that restaurants pride themselves on would be a significant setback to my learning of Italian

photo: Colleen Cummins


culture. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy and experience everything Italy has to offer in my semester abroad. When preparing for the trip abroad, I received various tips about how to immerse myself in Italy: learn the language, eat the food and don’t act like such a tourist. However, since I have a dietary restriction that prevents me from eating authentically, I began to question if I was fully engaging in the culture. After talking to people who had already studied in Florence, I realized my disease and other alternative eating habits, like being vegan or vegetarian, was going to be a struggle. Most places in Italy refuse to alter their traditional recipes or add unauthentic ingredients to their food. Celiac Disease may have a lot of restraints on what you can eat, but I didn’t think it would become so severe that it would ever hinder my experience abroad. On my first day in Florence, I had no idea where the closest grocery store was. Even if I had known, my grasp on the Italian language was not good enough to navigate through the store. So, I went to my first restaurant. I sat down and immediately a

server placed a bread basket in front of me. For the first time, I asked myself a difficult question: should I embrace the “authentic experience” at the potential cost to my health? Before I took a bite, I asked the waitress if they had any gluten-free options. When she said no, I realized I didn’t know if gluten-free restaurants even existed in Italy. I sat there not wanting to look like a picky American trying to cause a scene and desperately wanting to dive into Italian culture. I took a bite of the bread, and anxiously waited to see how my body would react. This would determine the weeks ahead.

I ended up eating an entire loaf and ordered pasta to go with it. I’m not sure why I didn’t get sick, but the health gods were on my side that day. For awhile, I continued eating authentically. It was liberating not having to walk into a restaurant and ask for a gluten-free menu. It was refreshing to not have to ask my friends to go somewhere else because the restaurant didn’t have gluten-free options. It was exciting looking at the menu and ordering whatever sounded

good to me. For the first time in a long time, I felt free. Then my luck gave out. One day, I ordered cheese pizza and ate every delicious bite. Within minutes, I could feel my small intestine protesting at being not properly cared for. I left the restaurant with an upset stomach and a head full of frustration. I spent the rest of the night throwing up that notso-delicious-anymore-pizza. From then on, my days of eating authentically were over. My diet went back to consisting gluten-free foods. At least Conad, the local grocery store, had my back. I started cooking at home more often. My fun nights of eating out at restaurants began to dwindle, and whenever I did go out I only ate salads or the occasional gluten-free substitute. In my experience abroad, I also ran into others who understood the struggle of alternative eating in Italy. Courtney Nicewander, a junior Fashion Merchandising major studying at Kent State Florence, has been a dedicated vegan for a year. “Vegan options, in certain places, can be difficult to find if you’re seeking meat or dairy substitutes, like I normally am,” she said. “It’s also hard here when none of my roommates

I’m not sure why I didn’t get sick but the health gods were on my side that day.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

are vegan. It’s a lot easier when you’re vegan with someone else.” Alternative eating is not easy, especially when you’re on another continent trying to find the same options available to you in America. The biggest problem for me has been finding the balance between my disease and authentic cuisine in order to fully experience Italian culture.


This was not a worry for Nicewander because being vegan is more important to her than fitting in with Italian culture.

Cloud 59 One of my favorite gluten-free places to eat is Cloud 59, located at Via de Ginori 59/r, 50123 Firenze. Cloud 59 is known for their amazing burgers. Serving their burgers with gluten-free buns and vegan patty’s, makes going their easy for all different alternative eaters.

Il Desco Bistrot Ciro & Sons

“To be honest, I’m not entirely interested in being part of any culture if I feel like I have to change my ethics to do so,” she said. Nicewander said she has found many helpful and accommodating people willing to work with her diet and serve her food she can eat. “I don’t believe I’m missing out on anything,” she said.


To anyone with any kind of dietary restrictions, there are plenty of places to find any variety of food. There may be times when it’s hard to eat authentically, which can hinder the complete Italian experience. Nevertheless, it is not worth sacrificing your health in order to embrace a new culture. The key to surviving Italy under dietary restrictions is balance.

Crepapelle My favorite restaurant in Florence is Crepapelle, a 100% vegan restaurant specializing in crepes, both sweet and savory. The restaurant is run by two women with the company of their dog, Pixel, who serves as a muse for many cartoons covering the walls, all drawn by the one owner who also does all the cooking. They have themes for their savory crepes, previously being storybook characters, and currently supervillains. My savory crepe of choice is the Lex Luthor, which is a crepe filled with vegan cheese and spinach, topped with vegan bacon.

Konnubio Il Carduccio photo: Colleen Cummins




hrough my Beginners Italian II course, I received the opportunity to teach in two Italian high school English-courses. One class had students around the ages of fourteen and fifteen, and the other class had students around sixteen and seventeen. I first went into Liceo Michelangelo with the impression I would be teaching Italian students English. I would get to teach and show them a little bit of the American culture. I never would have imagined that it would turn into much more than teaching some kids a new language. To my surprise, the students at Liceo Scientifico Michelangelo have taught me more than I could even hope to teach them.


Liceo Michelangelo is a very prestigious classical arts school. Think more Raphael School of Athens and less Blair Waldorf Gossip Girl • High School students in Italy have their lives together far more than College Students in America, myself included. • Italians are very honest. I repeat, they are very honest. • The professoressa is not afraid to say which students are not good English speakers. She blatantly said that some students had no idea what was going on • It is very hard for Europeans to visit The United States. • There’s a certain pond on the outskirts of Florence with special ducks that are the best in the world for no particular reason other than this student couldn’t communicate anything else. • The ending to The Vampire Diaries. Two students decided to tell me the ending before I watched it. I am still not happy about it. • I could never teach teenagers full time. Never. • I have patience I never knew existed • There are a lot of Americanmade movies and shows I’ve never seen, but Italians sure have

Example: About A Boy starring Hugh Grant. I was able to watch it with the class. • Latin - Let me tell you how hard of a language it is. Not that I could actually explain it to anyone because, you know, it’s hard. • Even if you can understand a language, it is still hard to communicate efficiently • There are three types of high schools in Italy, and before you choose one you must know your plans after you graduate. Do you plan on going to University? Do you plan on being a police officer? Do you plan on being a janitor? It matters so I hope you know by 15-yearsold what you want to do with your life. I, personally, would not make it in this system. • Italian high schools don’t have school sports, clubs, or dances. Fun during school? Not a thing. • School is for learning - let’s all get that straight.

Moral of this list:

If you are able to teach in a school while abroad - do it. It’s an opportunity to teach in another culture, and in the process you will be taught so much more.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

On Feburary 3, 2017 a man walked into the Carrousel de Louvre, drew a machete and attacked a guard two and a half miles away from where my rommates and I were visiting.


rientation for Kent State Florence Abroad Program began in the fall of 2016. Open discussions and survival tips ranging from how to balance finances, to travel outside Italy to adapt to the culture are spelled out in detail. The moment in class that stood out from the rest was when students were asked about their biggest fear about studying abroad. Most students said little things like getting lost, the language barrier or getting pickpocketed. One fear rattled me to my core: the fear of terrorism. That uncertain issue loomed over my mind, and all the faculty had to say was, “Don’t worry; it’s not going to happen to you.”

by: Nicolette Fisher

When we finally arrived in Florence, the uncertainty hit us hard - and there was no turning back. I decided to cannonball into the culture, albeit, rather sloppily. I started observing and copying the behavior of the

Italians. Balancing school work, culture shock and the language barrier while planning weekend trips across the continent felt like trying to walk multiple dogs at once. I remember feeling like a thousand things were pulling me in every direction, I had no control and sometimes even stepped in shit. My paranoia grew as I scheduled trips. While in Italy, I felt relatively safe, since there had not been any large-scale terrorist attacks since the Bologna Massacre in 1980. When I began to think about leaving Italy, my anxiety started racing. My roommates and I decided to go to Paris for our first out-of-the-country trip, and the realization of leaving the safety of my Florentine apartment finally hit.


February 2, 2017


Florence, Italy

One day stood between me and the Paris trip. As I packed, my anxiety screamed for me not to go. I shrugged off all my doubts and fears about being in France and went to bed.

February 3, 2017


Beauvais Airport

Our plane arrived in the Paris Beauvais Airport. We slowly wound our way through the line at passport control.


Paris, France


Carrousel du Louvre


Carrousel du Louvre

10:37 10:40

Carrousel du Louvre




Seine River


Seine River

23:20 February 5, 2017


We arrived in the outskirts of Paris, itching to get off the noisy and cramped bus. As we stepped off the bus, my roommates and I were disappointed that we could not see the Eiffel Tower. We decided to head in the direction of the tower and make a stop at the Arc de Triomphe. A man walked in the Carrousel du Louvre, a shopping center which connects to the entrance to the Louvre museum. He had a bookbag and was asked to run it through security. The attack unfolded. The man with the bookbag suddenly wielded a machete and attacked a guard, injuring him. The attacker is subdued by five bullets to his stomach.


Walking past the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées, my roommates and I heard sirens passing. We thought nothing of it as we headed toward the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were 2.5 miles away from the attack. After visiting the Eiffel Tower, we headed to lunch on the Seine River. We logged on to the Wi-Fi, and my phone blew up with concerned messages from my parents, boyfriend and neighbors all asking me about my safety and location. I scanned through recent news, immediately reading about the terrorist attack that happened just over two hours earlier. I was in shock. I showed my findings to my roommates; their faces mirrored my shock. We could have been there. I couldn’t believe I was in a city where a terrorist attack just occurred. After tangling with the Wi-Fi, I finally sent a message to all my Facebook friends about my safety. My parents called me over Facebook Messenger, desperately hoping I would answer their call. I answered immediately and confirmed my safety.


Later that night, as I tried to fall asleep, my mind obsessed over the danger we could have encountered. I was thankful for avoiding such a terrifying situation. The rest of the trip progressed flawlessly. Despite the incident the day before, we decided to visit the Louvre. It was as busy as ever, with increased security, which relieved many of my worries.

Florence, Italy

I received an email from Kent State University, asking for a response regarding our safety in Paris. I was frustrated with how long it took them to reach out. I wished my University, which has hundreds of students in its care in foreign countries, had a better system for handling terrorist attacks.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

We need to provide students like me with the necessary resources to navigate the tense global climate in which we live.

Having even more time to reflect on my experience in Paris made me realize that students abroad have little to no protection against or knowledge of terrorism. I was in close proximity to a terrorist attack. I was unprepared. I understand that no one can ever fully prepare for a terrorist attack, but students abroad are vulnerable. We need to provide students like me with the necessary resources to navigate the tense global climate in which we live. Fear of terrorism should not prevent students from traveling, but they need to know what to do if they are forced to encounter it. I decided to begin a project to create a terrorism training program for students who are studying abroad. The training itself is based off of A.L.I.C.E training, a school-shooting defense system taught to the majority of students in the United States. My plan utilizes some of the procedures already in place at most universities, like the STEP program,

which is a program created by the State Department that notifies enrollees gives a person enrolled in the program notifications about international emergencies. My training adds a defensive component in addition to the preventative measures. The goal is to teach students caught in a terrorist attack how to stay alive. The training does not focus on counter-terrorism, since the aim of counter-terrorism is to disarm and stop the enemy. Counter-terrorism focuses on using political and military strategies to prevent and dissolve terrorist attacks, which is not my goal. I just want students to be as prepared as possible if a conflict arises. This project focuses on Italy and terrorism, however, the program could easily be adopted for universities across the globe. My training also gives guidance to the administrators. The manual I’ve

created gives details that primarily focus on how to respond when a student is involved in an attack. For example, given my own experience, I advise universities to quickly contact students who were in close proximity to terrorist attacks. The world needs this training. As I researched my topic further, I realized not one American college has even considered this kind of training. I hope Kent State University will be the first. A student-based terrorism training is exactly what we need to enable young people to travel, despite potential safety risks around the globe. Not only will my training help Kent State if adopted, but hopefully other universities will follow the path as well.

33 photo: Carrie George

by: Carrie George Soccer is the national sport of Italy and a central part of Italian culture and entertainment. The baseball hats and football jerseys seen everywhere on American streets are replaced with soccer jerseys. Kids pass time playing soccer in parks and empty piazzas. The spirit of soccer is abundant in Florence. As a part of the Kent State Florence program, students get the opportunity to play in a 5v5 soccer league with other teams in the city. The Kent State team played against teams from Syracuse, California State, Gonzaga University and even Italian teams. Junior Public Relations major Samantha Meisenburg and junior Interpersonal Communications major Madison Satmary both played for the Kent State team this semester. Each of them had played soccer before college and were excited to play again in an international setting. “It was really new to me,” Satmary said. “I’ve never played with

Florence flashes Football guys before. I’ve always played in community leagues with all girls and a big team, and we always had practice three days a week.”

This year was also the first year Kent State made it to the quarter finals. Each team member received a medal for their achievement.

The Kent State team, unlike some of the other teams, did not have a coach or regular practices. Few of the team members knew each other before signing up, and they all took to the field with little to no preparation.

“I love that it’s so much bigger here,” Satmary said about soccer in Italy. “Just seeing people go as crazy as I feel about soccer is awesome.”

“Going in blind was like a trust fall. I really didn’t know what to expect,” Satmary said. The league also had access to a pool of refugee players. Several refugees played with Kent State students, allowing the students to interact with people from a different culture and background. “It was cool to say, ‘I played with refugees, I’m playing in a country that accepts refugees,’ whereas where I am from, it’s debatable,” said Meisenburg.

“I love soccer and being able to bring that to Italy with me was an amazing thing,” Meisenburg said. This was just one of the many university sponsored programs offered to enhance the study abroad experience of students abroad. What better way to enjoy Italy than to make friends, get competitive and play football?


A Voi Magazine | 2017

DEFEATING depression by: Austin Mariasy Living with depression is like riding a never ending roller coaster; it is not thrilling and exciting like Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point that goes up, then down then is over in 17 seconds. Depression takes you up, down, upside down, twists you around and just when you think the ride is over, it starts up again. The cycle never stops. Depression is not just sadness. It is an illness that strips a person of energy, appetite and purpose. The summer between 7th and 8th grade, depression began to take its toll on me. I attempted to commit suicide after I came out as gay to my middle school classmates. For the last three years, I have been on the top of the rollercoaster taking in the view, excited for the ride but dreading the drop. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect to fall so hard and so fast while I was 4,500 miles away from home. Florence, Italy is one of the most beautiful and oldest “modern” cities on the planet. Due to a tumultuous journey across the ocean, I went up and over the hill without so much as an excited cheer. I arrived in Florence both annoyed and sad (to this day I still do not know why I was sad) and I can’t even tell you who I shared a cab with from the airport to my apartment. My first thought when I got out of the cab (my taxi mate was dropped

off first) was “I have made a horrible mistake, I need to go home.” After struggling with the front door for five minutes, I walked up to the fourth floor of my apartment building, struggled for five more minutes to open the door to my actual apartment, immediately took a shower and cried. This is a typical result of culture shock. In fact, many people tend to feel an overwhelming sense of sadness and confusion upon arriving to an unfamiliar country. But while culture shock fades over time, depression does not. And in my case, the horrible feeling did not fade away. Robert Quigley, MD, D.Phil., is the Regional Medical Director and Senior Vice President of Medical Assistance, Americas Region, for International SOS, an international healthcare, medical assistance, and security services company. Quigley and his colleagues conducted a two year study and said, “students were 23 times more likely to need repatriation assistance on account of a mental health condition than their business traveler counterparts.” This means that students are 23 times more likely to return home early to do depression than those who are traveling for business. After that first initial drop, the rest of the ride was smooth and uneventful. Just like any ride, it came to a quiet end - then, it started again.

The scary thing about depression is that it often comes with no warning or reason. There were no warning signs that my depression was going to hit. There was no cause for the drop, it just happened. I felt numb, I did not feel happy, sad or energized; I simply felt nothing. The Duomo was not exciting, the street vendors I so enjoyed photographing were boring, I did not get angry when people almost ran me over in their car, I didn’t feel sad when friends went out without me; I just did not feel anything. I didn’t have my normal support system because they were 4,500 miles away. I wasn’t close enough to anyone in Italy to open up and tell them what was wrong. Some days, I just needed a hug. But I knew my hug would not come for four more months. Due to my depression, my study abroad experience was not like most. I had to force myself to enjoy the sights around Florence. While most people fall effortlessly in love with this Renaissance city, I had to work hard just to get through each week. I cannot say how to get through depression because it is different for every man, woman or child who suffers from it. For me, keeping busy helped me overcome the ride. My camera helped me get through all the ups and downs.


I never stopped taking pictures, I never stopped trying to understand the culture and I never lost my hope. I had conquered the ride before so I knew I could do it again. It’s important to remember that studying abroad is not an escape. Most students who plan to study abroad believe that their problems will stay far behind in America. Unfortunately, this is not the case - especially for me.

Depression follows you wherever you go. Through a lot of self evaluation and letting myself go through the motions, I finally finished the ride. The rollercoaster has returned to the station. It won’t stay there long. In fact, I have already started going back up to the top of hill towards the drop. It could take a few weeks, or it could take a few decades, but the drop will come. When it does,

I will be ready because I know that even while studying abroad 4,500 miles from home, I can get through anything depression can throw at me.

FASHION by: Gina DeSimone

Photo Editor, Gina DeSimone sat down with a couple fashion students to get some insight on their latest projects! Junior Fashion Design student Dani Bennett and senior Fashion Design student Hana McAdam both share their views on designing in another country.

Dani Bennett Can you give a description of the sketches you’re showing? These are some illustrations from my last project! I was playing with patchwork and 70s coloring! What are the major differences between the work you have done here and the work you have done in Ohio/America? In Florence, we are really pushed to experiment with our designs. Our drawing projects require more final outfits in Florence; this allows us to explore more ideas.


A Voi Magazine | 2017

What inspiration have you found in Florence? I find most of my inspiration in the timelessly classy street style of Florence, specifically the older people who still retain a sense of style—whether they’re riding a bike, walking their dog, or grabbing coffee. Has your view of fashion design changed since arriving in Italy? Being in Italy has helped me realize that the quality of the clothing in your closet is so much more important than quantity. The clothing that is seen here is beautifully crafted and clearly made to last. I think every fashion design student should consider studying abroad to get a fresh perspective on design. The inspiration is endless! The field trips we have here are really cool because we get to go to trade shows and get a feel for what the fashion industry is really like. There are a lot of opportunities at these shows to meet working designers.

Hana McAdam Can you give an overview of the project you have been working on? For this project we had to partner up with someone and create a collection with one main mood and two sub moods within that. It’s called “polarities.”For example, my partner and I split the collection between color palettes (warm/cool) and where you would wear the clothes (staying in/going out). What inspiration have you found in Florence? Honestly I’d have to say the window shopping has been my biggest inspiration when it comes to Italian fashion. Having famous

designer stores right down the street from my apartment is something I’ve never experienced before. Seeing the newest Gucci, Fendi or Prada collections on my walk to’s hard not to be inspired. Has your view of fashion design changed since arriving in Italy? High fashion brands seem a lot more attainable than they were before. When I asked the woman who runs my internship how she got into the fashion industry, she said “I graduated college and started designing for Pucci, it’s what we all did.” Being able to see the trade shows where many of these designers outsource has changed my view on them too.

How has your time in Florence affected your plans for future careers? I still want to go into mass production design with a brand, but I’m realizing there are a lot more niche market jobs that I didn’t know about before. There were companies at the Lineapelle trade show that just made plastic molds for the heels of shoesit’s crazy. The fashion industry is made up of a lot of people who can do a lot of very specific jobs. I hope I can become that specialized in something.


March 21 - April 19 There are many ways to improve your life and today you’re likely to do it by exercising financial control.



It’s less important to be acknowledged by others than it is for you to see concrete results from your work.

Your current behavior may reveal a hidden agenda that steps on the toes of your coworkers.





April 20 - May 20

May 21 - June 20

June 21 - July 22 Magically, people seem to show up with the right skill or piece of information just as you need it.

July 23 - Aug. 22 Your prime directive today is to seek ways to stabilize your place in your profession or on the job.

Aug. 23- Sept. 22 You don’t need to make concrete plans yet; just imagining the journey is enough to put a smile on your face.




Go ahead and delve into the unknown, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

It takes courage to walk away but sometimes it’s the most intelligent strategy.



Sept. 23 - Oct. 22

Dec. 22 - Jan. 19 You're ready for a bit of lighthearted fun today, but you could anger others if you just run off and leave them to their own devices.

Oct. 23 - Nov. 21

Jan. 20 - Feb. 18 The most difficult conversations will produce the most amazing breakthroughs.

Nov. 22 - Dec. 21 You still have an excellent chance of reaching your destination as long as you don’t get swept up in anyone’s drama.


Feb. 19 - March 20 You’re tired of bouncing around from one task to another and look forward to settling into one project today.


I enjoyed the Jewish Quarter and The Franz Kafka Museum. The Jewish Quarter had an interesting history with information about the cemetery and the “Old New Synagogue,” which holds the lore of the golem. The golem is the mythical protector of the Jewish people.The Franz Kafka Museum celebrates the life and work of the Czech author who had a love for the city. Outside of the museum is a fountain of two men urinating quotes from different famous Czech artists into a pool shaped like the Czech Republic.The same sculptor who made the fountain, David Cerný, has works throughout the city, including large scale babies with bar codes as faces. His art provokes the viewer to question modern society.


Prague is a beautiful city with a lot of mystery and charm. As a vegan, I appreciated the selection of vegan restaurants, one being near the Prague castle. At that particular restaurant, I bought a book, called “Prague Green City Guide,” which is a traveler’s guide to all of the sustainable locations and activities in the city, including vintage clothing stores and urban gardens.

out! - Cze us

Republic ch

Budapest, Hungry

—Courtney Nicewander Prior to this trip, I considered German to be the hardest language to understand in my travels. Hungarian proved me to be very wrong. My first view of Budapest was a bustling square with my hostel (the Avenue Hostel) sitting in the center. Immediately upon my check in, my friends decided it was time to go on a walking tour of the city. Exhausted, I reluctantly agreed, and I am so glad that I did. Budapest taught me the joys of the unexpected. The whole weekend was a journey of constant surprise due to my lack of knowledge on the city. The streets are clean and full of people from all walks of life and status. We spent a great deal of time relaxing in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. The day was cold, gray and rainy. The perfect cure was sitting in a thermal bath, allowing the rain to sting your face and shoulders while the rest of your body was heated in the natural waters. Before boarding my overnight bus, I ate brunch in the most beautiful cafe in the world. The New York Cafe is more of an experience than a restaurant. Everything for the two different types of live music (a pianist and a band that would alternate every 20 minutes) to the plating of our meals was thought out in detail. Visiting Budapest and not grabbing a coffee here would be a mistake. —Julia Kellow

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Prauge, Czech Republic

A Voi Magazine | 2017

Marijuana and prostitution--those are the first things you think about when you think of Amsterdam. But there is so much more to the city. Other than being a beautiful city in itself, there are so many museums, like the Ripley’s Museum and a Madame Tussauds. If nothing else, I recommend booking a ticket to the Anne Frank House. You have to book months in advance because tickets sell out quickly. The actual place where the Frank family hid an experience that will stick with you forever. You learn so much more than you did in history. Another “museum” (I put that in quotations because it’s much more than that) is the Heineken Experience. I’m not much of a beer fan, but learning about the hard work involved in the brewing process made me appreciate it much more. The two free beers that come with the ticket are also a fun bonus. Don’t forget to try some Dutch pancakes. I had mine with ice cream, cinnamon, Dutch cookies, chocolate shavings and whipped cream, and it was the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten. These are just some of the things you can do in Amsterdam. I definitely suggest this city, and I plan on going back in the future!

—Dondreya Allen

Dublin, Ireland


Dublin is the top European destination for any writer, english major or literary buff. In my heart, I am all three of these things, so it’s safe to say I found home wandering through bookstores and coffee shops lined up along the River Liffey. The first crucial stop for anyone visiting Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse. Here, you can find more than just beer. The beautiful pint-shaped building is seven floors of history, advertising and the Guinness brewing process. Climb to the top of the building for the best view of Dublin. For the literary buffs travelling to Dublin, don’t forget to make a stop at the Writers Museum. This small museum dives into great detail about the rich history of literature in Dublin. (Sidenote: if you visit this museum, be prepared to be the youngest person in the building.) Dublin is a quaint city full of character and charm. Talk to the people, go to the pubs and do not leave without a stack of books weighing down your suitcase.

Venice was a bucket list moment for me. I’ve seen countless of photos and postcards of the canals as streets, the serenading men on gondola rides and the craftsmanship and beauty of the Venetian glass and masks; to see these with my own eyes was breathtaking. The preplanned tours to churches and museums were also highlights because of their beauty & uniqueness. My first European hotel looked exactly like a U.S. hotel except for breakfast. We were expecting eggs, bacon and waffles, but we got croissants, marble cake, bread rolls and chocolate cake. Needless to say, everyone satisfied their sweet tooth by 10 a.m. and I ate a little too much chocolate cake for breakfast. It’s safe to say, Venice has not seen the last of me.

—Samantha Meisenburg

Casablanca, Morocco

Venice, Italy

—Carrie George

I don’t know what I was expecting when I decided to go to Morocco, but my trip was nevertheless full of surprises. Upon arrival, we hit the streets, ran into amazing, beautiful mosaics and happened upon the most important Mosque in Casablanca, Hassan II Mosque (it’s even bigger and more mesmerizing than the pictures). I also went to my first Hammam Spa. It was one of the highlights of my study abroad trip and it’s something everyone must do while in Morocco. I didn’t get to ride a camel like I was hoping, but I did get hit by a gigantic wave on a pier which is equally as cool! Now, I can’t say the whole trip was sunshine and daisies. The trip was stressful: it was the first trip my roommate and I booked on our own, and it was pretty last minute. Together, we had to trust strangers for help, which was not advised. Hardly anyone spoke English. Taxi drivers tried to rip us off. Everyone stared at us no matter where we were. It was the first time ever I truly felt, and looked, like a minority. It was an odd feeling, but it taught me a lot. I highly recommend going to gain a better understanding and to open yourself up to a vulnerability that many Americans rarely experience. As a team, my roommate and I got through a lot of struggles, had a lot of fun, and learned a lot about each other. It was altogether an unforgettable experience!

—Aleah Coppin


A Voi Magazine | 2017

Kent State Florence Institute Spring 2017

photo: Nile Vincz

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