This semester I am taking Managing Global Supply Chains, Elementary Italian 1, Renaissance Art History, and an Urban Studies class. It seemed a little weird for me at first to only take one business class in a semester, since I’m used to taking all or almost only business classes most semesters. However, studying abroad in Florence has really given me a great opportunity to take classes I normally might not have. I think that I am taking a wide variety of classes and they are all very interesting but in different ways. Before the beginning of the semester, I didn’t really know what to expect with my Urban Studies class, but in just a few weeks I have already learned so much about the history of Florence and what physically remains in the city after all the different changes this region has been through over time. In this class we usually go through some readings for the first half of class and go out on field trips in Florence to see aspects that relate to the readings we discussed for that week. My Renaissance Art History class also resembles a similar structure where we have lecture for an hour where we learn about different important artists and pieces and then we actually visit a museum for the next half of the class. I think when having class for 2.5 hours, being able to leave the classroom and physically see the things we discussed during the lecture really enhances our learning experience. My managing Global Supply Chains and Elementary Italian Class resemble the more common lecture structure where we stay in the classroom for all of class. However, they are still very engaging classes since they are both very discussion-based and interactive. For example, my Italian professor likes to make us sing along to Italian songs so we can become better at understanding the meaning of the lyrics in Italian music. Additionally, in Managing Global Supply Chains, our professor likes to call on students to read what is on the slides out loud for the class rather than just having him read the slides.
One important skill needed to be successful in this academic environment is to stay organized. Most of the time here, it is almost assumed that students must remember what homework they have on their own. Professors here don’t really give reminders about homework or due dates, so it’s important to keep track of assignments and to keep all your notes organized in order to do well. Two of my strengths are consistency and discipline, which both focus on needing a routine, so I think that now that I have gotten into more of a routine with my schedule, it has become a lot easier to keep track of what is due each week for my classes. Overall, I’m beginning to notice that the academic culture here is a lot more focused on interactive engagement rather than just having a lecture for the entire class. Many classes have a field trip component or at least a discussion component, which helps in making the class more interactive and interesting.
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