Hannah ArmstrongPonce, PR
Academic SchoolCommunication & the Arts
Hannah Armstrong is a member of the Class of 2019 majoring in Fashion Design at Marist's branch campus in Florence, Italy. She is from Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Why did you choose the Marist Florence branch campus?
I have always wanted to study abroad and having the opportunity to do so from the beginning of my Freshman year sounded perfect! I came here to Florence as an FFE and after having a little bit I could not possibly leave! I switched my major from Fashion Merchandising to Fashion Design because who wouldn't want to in the birthplace of fashion? I have always loved all kinds of arts as well, so I decided to begin my art history minor here, which is great because Florence is also the birthplace of the Renaissance.
Describe the learning experience in Florence.
Studying here is great. I am actually living and experiencing my studies, instead of just reading about them in a book or online. It's challenging since it is not a 24/7 college setting. Studying here makes it very easy to drift off into the wonderful world that is Florence, but resources such as the library, open hours, and professors, in general, are always a great help.
What is your favorite class? Why?
Color theory. Has been a great challenge! I learned so many new ideas and skills! This class will help you in many even most things in any art, fashion, business, or design career.
What was your most challenging class in Florence? Why?
Fashion illustration classes probably... the workload is huge and the time is limited.
What is your favorite place in Florence? Why?
Hard to choose. I won't say, but I will say that one of them is Piazzale Michelangelo. The view is gorgeous and never gets old! Love to go there and relax, clear the mind, and maybe even enjoy the sunset if there at the right time!
Where have you traveled and where do you plan on traveling during your time in Italy?
I have traveled a bit in these two years here...I have been to Pisa, Milano, Napoli, Cinque Terre, Orvieto, Torino, Bellagio, Lake Como, Tuscania, Venice, and all over Tuscany. Outside of Italy, I have visited Spain, England, Ireland, Sweden, Scotland, Holland, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, and Switzerland. I would love to visit Portugal, Austria, Belgium, and Morocco! I don't know when I will be traveling again, but I cannot wait. Traveling always brings many fun learning experiences and even new friends.
What is the most interesting difference between Florence and your home country?
Hmmm...EVERYTHING. I am used to living by the beach (where I have lived my entire life until now) and entering a city setting is definitely a big change, especially since I came without knowing anyone or the language. Although the changes are huge, I have settled well here. I feel at home and can easily get by. Although I many times feel I know Florence well, there are always surprises and new things going on. Discovering Florence's holes on the wall and little-hidden treasures are always part of the fun.
How do you stay connected with home?
I always contact home through my electronic devices (phone and computer). I came this year with an international phone plan, but believe it or not, my first year I was only using wifi and texts. Nothing else. Most places have wifi here, but not many are actually good. This change of not having the best internet connection at all times first hit me the most when I got here. It's not a big deal now. There are always ways to manage through.
How did the faculty and staff support you during your time in Florence?
The faculty is very supportive and welcome with students from all over the world, so they have made me feel at home and are always available to answer questions and/or help with anything you need even if it is just advice.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering the Florence branch campus?
If it is something you want to do, what is stopping you? All are welcomed here and I am sure you'll enjoy it as long as you're open to all kinds of new things. Just now there will always be help available to you either from professors, school faculty, and friends you'll make along the way. Enjoy the ride!