Academics: Taking it to the Streets
For most people, the “study” part of “study abroad” isn’t on the top of their minds. Before I departed for Florence, I was thinking more about the places I wanted to go than the classes I was going to take. CEA twisted my mindset around once I started my classes, though. The best thing about studying with CEA is all the classes are related to the Italian culture and you can apply them to your daily life.
The first class I enrolled myself in was a mandatory one, Italian language. Before I even started my Italian class I already realized how important it was going to be. Walking around during orientation week using small Italian phrases I picked up, I realized how much more the Italians like you when you attempt to speak their language. I entered my Italian class eager to learn the language, and I love it. I get to go out and practice after class every day and make friends with locals! I already find myself carrying longer conversations every day.
The other classes I enrolled in include an International Internship, The Culture of Food and Wine in Italy, and The Great Masters: Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. My internship class needs an entirely separate blog post, and will get you one! In short, I intern in a small wine store here in Florence where I get to learn about wine and explore my sales and marketing interests. I love my internship thus far and am excited to see where it takes me. In Food and Wine, we study the history of the food and wine culture of Italy. I am already able to look at a menu and understand how the Italians came to invent certain dishes. We also get to participate in some in-class, hands-on learning in the form of cheese and wine tastings! In Great Masters, we study the art and influences of the three great masters of Florence. Though this is is not your average art history class, in addition to seeing images of artwork in our textbook we get to go see pieces of artwork in person as well.
On that note, I want to venture into the best part of all my classes, excursions. Most classes require you to go on excursions to relate the material to the real world! As I mentioned, my art history class goes out to art pieces every week during class. We will also be going on an art tour of Rome led by our well-versed professor. In my Food and Wine class we’ll be traveling to Chianti to see fresh pasta production. These are the types of excursions that separate classes abroad from classes at my home institution. I even tagged along with another classes excursion to a cheese factory, balsamic factory, and the Ferrari museum last week. Taking classes with CEA guarantees you that you will not only learn about culture but will be immersed in it as well!
Anthony R. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Florence, Italy. He is currently a Sophomore studying Business Administration at Santa Monica College.