Name: Terral Boisfontaine Email: firstname.lastname@example.org City Studied Abroad In: Florence, Italy Program: CET History of Art and Italian Studies (Summer) Program Details: • Summer Program (June and July) • Courses in History of Renaissance Art in Italy (3 hrs), Italian Cultural History (3 hrs), Italian Language (1 hr) o All taught in English o Two professors were Italian, one was an American with dual citizenship married to an Italian • My course in Renaissance Art counted for my Art History major’s Renaissance requirement, Italian Cultural History course counted for a general sociology requirement, and my Italian Language requirement did not count for anything except general hours because I had finished all other general requirements • Live in an apartment with Italian roommates (who speak English) • Small program with about 15 American students • Program was open to students who do not attend Vanderbilt, but there were only two non-vandy girls on the program • The program included a trip to Catania, Sicily (through my Italian Cultural History course) as well as some fun group outings such as gelato Wednesdays and a pizza making class Courses Offered: • Italian courses (all levels) • Imagery and Public Space • Italian Cultural History • Renaissance Art & Architecture • Etruscan & Roman Art & Architecture • Italian Medieval Art & Architecture • “Plein Aire” Painting & Drawing • The Medici: History and Legend of an Italian Dynasty • Italian and European Politics • The European Banking System • The European Political Economy Courses Taken: • Renaissance Art & Architecture (Florence focus) • Italian Cultural History • Introduction to Italian Language o Served as a “crash course” to living in Italy for students who didn’t have any experience with the language. We learned things like how to order a meal in Italian, how to read street signs, give and receive directions, etc.
Favorite Parts of the Program: • My Italian roommate was incredible and really helped our group to get plugged in with Italian students our age • The program provided museum cards for our art history course that allowed us to get into all the museums absolutely free and skip all the lines • Florence is fairly centrally located to traveling all over Italy was extremely easy • My last class was on Thursday morning so I had from Thursday afternoon until Sunday to explore the city or take a trip outside of Florence • My apartment was practically right next to the Ponte Vecchio and not a three minute walk from the CET student center • The city is big enough that there was always something new and exciting to do, but at the same time I would run into the few Italians that I knew all the time and felt like I really knew my way around after only a week or two • Many Italians were appreciative of you speaking Italian, but essentially everyone knows English so there were few communication issues • The city never sleeps Least Favorite Parts of the Program: • There are swarms of tourists everywhere you go, but after a while you just become used to it • Being a sizeable foreign city did make me feel a little uncomfortable (especially on a program that was only girls and instances where I was walking home late at night) • Because there are so many tourists, lots of Italians are immediately irritated with you for being foreign and not knowing the language • Three hour long lectures became very tiring, but I appreciated the fact that we got a 20 minute cappuccino break in the middle! Best Restaurants in Florence: • La Giostra—Incredible ravioli and a really cute ambiance. The service was also great, including a bottle of welcome Prosecco! • 13 Gobbi—This restaurant is famous for their rigatoni (and they know it!). Be sure to sit on their back patio. It’s sunny and covered with an ivy canopy. • Il Latini—Probably the best meal experience in Florence. Everything is based off a family style set menu, so essentially you are just brought all of the Italian food you could ever want or need.
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The wait staff is so fun. This is also a great place for big groups. Gusta Pizza—This is an incredible pizzeria (my favorite pizza in Florence) right next to the Bobili gardens. Perfect for a picnic or for dining in! Mozzarella Bar—Delicious Italian food with a modern flare. Cantina del Gelato—It’s a new gelato place so many Italians aren’t on board yet (the more for us, right?) but it is hands down the best gelato in Florence. Samuel and Giuseppe, the hysterical men who work there, will surely tell you that the chocolate is the best and it is. Moyo—Our group’s favorite place for an appertivo
I Would Recommend This Program Because: • There are infinite opportunities to do new things, meet new people, and see incredible sights in Florence • I felt like I had the opportunity to travel all over Italy without spending tons of time traveling, taking away from my experience • The Italian roommate program allows you to really immerse yourself and get to know the culture along with some amazing friends (I’m still in touch with the roommates and other friends from my trip!) • Because Florence is such a hub for students our age, I got to make friends from England, Holland, Greece, Poland, Mexico and France (just to name a few) in addition to my amazing Italian friends. It’s really great having a fully international network and it made the experience that much more rich Other Things I Think You Should Know About Studying Abroad in Italy: • Italians are generally really laid back about things like transportation (for example, sometimes although there is a bus scheduled, one just never comes?) but don’t let this panic you! Italy is so much fun if you can just roll with the punches. • Use your time after class to do homework. You won’t be going to dinner until 8:00 or 9:00 so using that time wisely means you never have to miss out on a dinner or activity • It’s best to operate in cash, because credit cards aren’t used nearly as often • Capri and Siena are must-see trips. • You should be eating gelato every day, no exceptions!! • Lines are non existent so don’t be afraid of being aggressive and holding your place in line (or skipping it if you’re feeling really aggressive) • Breaks between classes are great times to see museums, especially if you have a museum card and you can go as many times as you want without charge. You can just do one room at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed with trying to see the whole thing. • Do the local activities. My roommate and I ran in a 5k in honor of Florence’s patron saint. It was one of the most fun things we did the whole time!