Page 28 - Foxtalk Winter 2012

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Winter 2012
Students discover
more than sites
while abroad
hen I heard about Marist ’s abroad program, I
knew it was something I wanted to do. Even
though I had been to Europe before, I was ap-
prehensive about being on my own in a foreign country. I
had the great fortune of attending the Lorenzo de’ Medici
School in Florence, Italy, during my 2011 spring semester.
I knew that studying abroad was a once in a lifetime op-
portunity, and I am so happy I took advantage of it.
My departure to Florence was not the picture perfect
day I thought it would be. In one day I had been to four
airports and to top it off, my luggage was lost. After a
long day, I finally arrived at Proconsolo, 9, my home away
from home for the next four months. I experienced im-
mediate culture shock during the taxi ride to my apart-
ment. Everything was so different.
After settling into my apartment, my housemates and I
met the rest of the Marist crew for dinner. We explored
the city and soon discovered our apartment was above the
most popular restaurant/bar, Bigallo. The owner, Giorgio,
soon became our friend and took care of us over the dura-
tion of the semester. Every day while walking to class, I
passed so many architectural marvels, like the renaissance
cathedral dome, the Duomo, The Ponte Vecchio, The Pitti
Palace, The Accademia Gallery, Piazzas Michelangelo and
As a transfer student to Marist College, I did not know
the majority of my classmates studying abroad. However,
there’s a saying, “You never really know someone until
you travel with them.” With that being said, we all got to
know each other really quickly. Within a day ’s time, my
fellow classmates became my friends and my housemates
became my family. My relationship with my friends from
Florence is unlike any other friendship I have. Because
of our time together, we share a special bond that only we
I also formed relationships with my professors at Loren-
zo de’ Medici. Each of my professors was unique. Profes-
sor Marcello was so passionate about the art, history and
architecture of Florence. We went on several field trips
to historical places. Each professor had passion for their
subject and truly wanted to teach us about their culture. I
loved going to class and wish I had expressed more deeply
the significant impact each professor had on my education
and life.
Throughout my time overseas, it was necessary to com-
municate with people of all different ethnicities and to
adapt to various cultures. I learned a very valuable lesson:
that ways to communicate are unlimited. Although I met
interesting people of all different cultures, I also learned a
lot about myself throughout my travels.
During my semester in Italy, I took the opportunity to
travel to six other European countries: France, Monaco,
Ireland, Spain, Greece and Switzerland. I discovered my-
self a little more in each country. I was able to experience
both my Italian and Irish heritage and grew a newfound
appreciation for my culture and my Roman Catholic
Florence will forever have a place in my heart. Almost a
year later, I still cannot believe these days actually came
to an end. I can still hear the gypsies shaking their coins,
the accordion music and the distinct sound of the ambu-
lance sirens driving through the streets. I still taste the
delicious pizza, spaghetti carbonara and gelato that I so
badly crave, but most of all I can envision the beautiful
city I grew to love.
I am so thankful for the friendships I made, the places I
went and the memories I’ ll always have to cherish. I feel
so blessed to have had this experience.
Photos courtesy of Brittany Tommasone, ‘12; Colleen Kopchik, ‘12
Study Abroad
Transfer student finds home, self
in Florence
From left: Brittany Tommasone has enjoyed many of the sights