Why did you choose the Marist Florence branch campus?
Art has always been my passion, and a life in Europe has been my dream. I believe education goes far beyond the classroom, and the chance to learn from different cultures and different peoples has always been a significant interest to me. This campus offered the chance to live in Europe, study art, and meet people from all over Europe and the world. This campus offered all these opportunities, as well as the chance to live in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the West. Although I had never been to Italy before, I knew this unknown place—as the birthplace of the Western art—would contribute far more to my education and experience than any other university could.
Describe the learning experience in Florence.
As most courses here are focused on Italian and Renaissance subjects, we spend most of our lectures outside the classroom and place ourselves in the actual historical situation of what we are learning. To take learning from the textbook and put it into real life is not only exciting but also far more interesting and memorable. The small class sizes here really promote inner dialogue between classmates and professors and creates close bonds with others in the course.
What is your favorite class? Why?
My favorite class here…hm! What a great question. When I am feeling creative, any of the studio courses are great—it’s a tie between Color Theory with Marsha Steinberg or upper-level painting with Rosana Pinero! Otherwise, I am always in favor of Historical Painting Laboratory with Greg Burney. There is something about focusing intensely and almost meditating into a work of art that has an ancient technique and has precise limits to it that push you to work hard within those restrictions. Any art history course with Elisa Gradi will transform your appreciation for art, most certainly the Avant-Gardes and Modernist Art or Contemporary Art courses!
What was your most challenging class in Florence? Why?
The most challenging course I have had here has been Painting and Polychrome Wooden Sculpture Conservation. Although the subject interests me greatly, this course is a very intense and focused concentration that requires very precise art and scientific skills. My professor for this course was a very demanding professor whose high standards pushed us to do our best, although it was very difficult to create panels and restore things to satisfaction.
What is your favorite place in Florence? Why?
Florence is the place to have ‘favorites’ depending on your mood and the weather! In the springtime, I love going to the rooftop café at La Rinascente or walking the gardens on the Oltrarno. In the summertime, I love days spent at Cascine and the beach, followed by weekends hiking in Fiesole. Summer is a great time to enjoy the open air of the piazzas and the rooftop bars of the Uffizi Galleria or Hotel Continental. In autumn, evenings spent at Santo Spirito and its Osteria Santo Spirito are always fun and filled with Italian friends. Winter is great for nights out at Cinema Odeon or staying at home and being warm!
Where have you traveled and where do you plan on traveling during your time in Italy?
One of the greatest opportunities offered here is the ability to travel and to spend lots of time doing it! My weekends and breaks have been filled with travels making friends, memories, and finding new reasons to come back to old places. I have spent my breaks in London, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and Stockholm. Weekends have been spent in Munich, Milano, Venezia, Slovenia, Puglia, and Lisbon. I somehow have made my way to Reykjavik and Easter Island, but that’s a whole different ballpark!
What is the most interesting difference between Florence and your home country?
I can walk. I can walk everywhere. There is nothing more beautiful and precious than that. A day can take me into the hills, around the city, across the countryside, or into the ocean.
How do you stay connected with home?
“Home” is more people than a place for me, and with social media as reliable as it is I am never not connected to home! For that extra sentimental touch, I send postcards every once in a while to my family and friends.
How did the faculty and staff support you during your time in Florence?
The people at the Marist office here have become a family to me. Beyond the assistance they provide with the visa and permesso process, helping students integrate and meet each other, and by providing basic services that can help in times of crises (anywhere from getting mosquito traps to trips to the hospital), the staff here are always so eager to help students integrate themselves into the city and culture of Florence while simultaneously ensuring that we have the best academic experience here!
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering the Florence branch campus?
Everything you have been looking for, you will find here.
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Class of 2018
Major: Art History
Academic School: Communication and the Arts