Laura Lover is a member of Marist's M.A. in Museum Studies Class of 2013. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Fordham University and an MA in English Literary Studies from the University of York, in York, England.
Why did you choose the Marist Florence branch campus?
I chose Marist Florence branch campus because I was interested in the MA in Museum Studies program, which is unique because it is a very specialized field. The Marist program is even more distinctive because it engages with the museums in the city of Florence and the museum professionals who work there. The opportunity to live in Florence really didn’t hurt either!
What is the learning experience like in Florence?
The learning experience in Florence is one which extends past the classroom because it incorporates immersion in another culture. The daily life of espresso, siestas, historical views, and line-drying clothes really gives you a sense of what it is like to live like a local; a far better experience than just visiting.
What is your favorite class? Why?
My favorite class is Museum Development, Management, and Leadership because it is taught by the dynamic Professor James Bradburne who is the director of the Palazzo Strozzi. I found this class to really engage the students as future museum professionals and it provided thoughtful insights to the running of a museum.
What was your most challenging class in Florence? Why?
The most challenging class in Florence was also the Museum Development, Management and Leadership course, which is also a part of why I liked it so much. Professor Bradburne has high standards and encourages us to meet those standards. Our concluding project was a presentation as if we were the new director of the Stibbert Museum in Florence. We had twenty PowerPoint slides and twenty seconds per slide to present our ideas for the future of the museum. This was a slightly terrifying prospect, but the successful completion of this assignment was also one of the most rewarding.
What is your favorite place in Florence? Why?
There is a tiny restaurant tucked away on a side street, where you hardly see any tourists. The tables are shared, and the kitchen is in the middle of the restaurant. Everything is served fresh. The waiters are jovial and it is the perfect retreat for some minestrone or ribollita soup on a rainy Florence day. The experience is authentic to Italy and an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two with friends.
What is your least favorite part of Florence? Why?
My least favorite part of Florence is anywhere in the vicinity of a large tour group. Living in such an amazing city, the trade-off is many other people think it is wonderful too. Getting swallowed up by a large mass of tourists stopping and starting suddenly in the street is an annoyance every resident in Florence has experienced. On the bright side, it encourages me to find lesser known, and less crowded side streets which have lead to some great discoveries – whether it’s gelato stands, shopping, or restaurants.
What type of museum career are you pursuing?
I haven’t decided which museum career I wish to pursue yet. I am thinking I may want to be a curator as I enjoy researching and creating presentations. Or, I may work in the PR department, as I have a writing background and that may be something I’d enjoy. The Marist MA program has speakers with many different backgrounds, so this is useful for me in deciding what my future career holds.
What type of internship do you have or plan to have? Where?
I plan to have an internship that is as hands-on as possible. I will probably intern in the US because I don’t speak Italian fluently, and that would limit my opportunities for involvement at an Italian museum. I also hope to gain important contacts and possible employment after this course, so a history museum would be ideal to my interests and future career.
Where have you traveled and where do you plan on traveling during your time in Italy?
I’ve done a lot of traveling. I have been all over the United States and I have lived in Iceland and England, both for two years. I have traveled throughout Germany, Austria, Ireland, Scotland, Brussels, Spain, Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and of course, Italy! I hope to travel to Malta, the Greek islands, and Croatia while I am here in Italy.
What is the most interesting difference between Florence and your home country?
The most interesting difference between Florence and the US is the people! Italy’s history is much longer than the US’s, and it has undergone many more transitions. Thus, the attitudes and culture are quite different, and the people are a reflection of that. I find it very interesting to learn about the “Italian” opinions on everything from politics to education, to coffee! For example, there is no Starbucks culture here; the “espresso” was created to be express, or speedy. You will only see Italians sipping coffee at a bar for a few moments before moving on. Coffee is not something to drink in vast quantities over the course of 20 minutes or an hour.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering a Master’s in Museum Studies in Florence?
Be prepared to make the most out of your experience. There are many opportunities for you here, and it is up to you to take them!
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Alumni
Major: Museum Studies
Academic School: Communication and the Arts