As I have continued throughout my semester here in Florence, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my courses and how they are different than in the United States. I am currently taking Global Workforce Management, Global Organizational Behavior, Italian and Renaissance Art. The two business classes are taught by an Italian professor at our school. One of the main differences in his teaching is that he has high expectations for us to know what is going on. For example, in the US I felt that professors were constantly reminding us of when assignments were due or when quizzes were coming up. Here, the professor would just expect us to know what was going on according to the syllabus. One day in class, he showed up and said, “I hope you all have your paper!” Luckily, I had it done but many students looked very confused. He was nice enough to give an extension, but it came to prove he had high expectations for the class to take responsibility for themselves.
One very cool thing about my classes abroad is called Globally Networked Learning (GNL). In one of my business classes, GNL is incorporated where we work on group projects with students in other study abroad locations. For my Global Workforce Management class, we are working with students in London. This was a challenge at first because we can only work over Facetime, but it is neat getting to collaborate as well as learn from their professor in the UK. Each week we give a synchronous virtual presentation to both classes. The point of the GNL project is to show us how global business can be difficult because of barriers such as language, time, and technology. It is nice getting a taste of this is case I ever choose to go into global business.
Another difference is the very hands on learning that I have received abroad. I am taking a class called Renaissance Art, where we learn about the history of art in Florence. Instead of sitting in the classroom the entire time, each week we visit a new church or museum to see the works of art in person. I have never taken a class where we travel so much and get to really appreciate and understand what we are learning about. For students considering going abroad, I would definitely recommend taking this class as an art elective. In addition to learning a lot, it is a great way to get to see some of the amazing places in Florence with the professor as a tour guide! For example, we have visited the Uffizi Gallery, the Church of Santa Croce (featured in my picture), Medici Chapels, and more. I am really enjoying my classes abroad and they have enhanced my appreciation and knowledge about Italy’s culture.