With only 3 weeks left of my program in Florence, it’s a good time to assess what my classes here are like and how they differ from traditional classes back in America. Without a doubt, there are clear contrasts between the way the classes are run here and the priorities of my professors. There are also very cool projects and trips in many classes that make for a much more unique learning experience than I’m used to.
To start off, one of the most interesting things about my classes here is that no matter the subject, history always plays a huge role in each course. I’m enrolled in International Marketing, Renaissance Art History, Italian 2, and Oil Painting. Though each subject differs from each other, there is so much overlapping material simply due to the appreciation of history in Italy and the ability to see the remains of many things so easily. When I talk to many of my friends who are taking different courses than me, they are typically aware of the same Florentine history as a result of their own courses as well. Since I love learning about history, it is an ideal way for me to study other material.
For example, as my Italian class was learning the vocabulary of household items, rooms, and furniture, as well as past tenses, we took a field trip out to Palazzo Davanzati to incorporate our studies into a museum visit. Palazzo Davanzati is a 13th century palace that was held by many prominent families in Florence over the course of hundreds of years. There is so much history and astonishing things to see within the walls and using that as a place to learn more about the Italian language was thrilling to me. It’s remarkable that something so old and spectacular could be a such a hidden secret for tourists in Florence!
Furthermore, it goes without saying that Renaissance Art History relies heavily on museum visits. We have seen some of the oldest and most beautiful churches and baptistries in the world and I have gained such an appreciation for the architecture and work ethic of the Italians. It seems that everyone in my program is now aware of the famous Medici family and familiar with a lot of Florentine history.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with the way my courses ended up. They are very stimulating, fun, and allow for you to make the most of Florence through visits to different buildings and museum over the semester.