Hasion Gaston is a member of Marist's Class of 2020 who recently completed his first year as part of the "Freshman Florence Experience" at Marist's Branch Campus in Florence, Italy.
How did you feel when you first found out about the Freshman Florence Experience (FFE)?
I was ecstatic and instantly determined to get into this program. I’ve always dreamed of studying abroad but never as a freshman but the opportunity was too inviting to pass up.
What were some of your concerns about spending your first year of college at the Florence branch campus?
Being home sick was a huge fear of mine. I had never experienced it before so I didn't know how to deal with it. Also starting college is very nerve racking, so to go this far without any friends, family, or experience of Italy was a little scary.
How did you decide that the FFE was the right choice for you?
I knew the FFE was the right choice for me because I’ve always wanted to experience other cultures and different ways of life. And life is about risks and trying something new so I took the opportunity.
What was your favorite class in Florence? Why?
My favorite class in Florence would have to be “Topics in Nutrition”. Each week we focused on the nutritional value of a selected dish and also nutrition in general. Then we actually cooked the food! If you’re a person who loves to cook like me then you’re going to love this class too. You cook a variety of traditional Italian meals and after you can eat them!
What was your most challenging class in Florence? Why?
The most challenging class in Florence for me personally was First Year Seminar. We had to write travel narratives and personal narratives, which was difficult for me since I had never traveled prior to Florence.
What was your typical day like in Florence?
My typical day in Florence started with a 9 AM class or work-study, then lunch at the LdM cafe, more classes, two scoops of Gelato, and then back home to San Gallo. There I did homework with my friends and depending on the night sometimes we went out for walks to the Ponte Vecchio or to see whatever festival was in town.
What was your typical weekend like in Florence?
My typical weekend in Florence started with me sleeping in to rejuvenate from the week, making breakfast, and then going to a run at the Cascine park. The rest of the day/weekend was spent hanging around Florence and sometimes going on day trips to surrounding towns.
How did you stay connected with home?
Facetime/Skype was great for talking to my family. While facetime, whatsapp, Facebook messenger, and snapchat were perfect for talking to my friends here in Florence and back home in America. For the best wifi I either went to a cafe such as Sit N’ Breakfast or the library (Le Feltrinelli).
How did the faculty and staff support you during your time in Florence
The faculty and staff were always there to provide great advice and a comfortable place to complete school work or simply hang out.
What was your most memorable moment during your FFE year?
The most memorable moment was hiking in Cinque Terre. I’ve always seen it in pictures and videos, it was even my laptop screen for months before I knew I could travel there from Florence! So when I was able to finally visit this amazing place it was dream come true. If you love beautiful waters, colorful houses, and adventure then this is the place for you!
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Class of 2020
Academic School: Liberal Arts
Campus: New York