Studying abroad was the best decision I ever made. For my study abroad, I chose the AIFS program in Florence, Italy. This program had two sessions, and I chose the second session. With this, I was living in Florence for a month. This program provided an apartment, in which I lived with five other girls. This apartment provided a full bathroom in every bedroom as well as two full kitchens. An added bonus was the amazing air conditioner we had, despite most buildings not having air conditioning. Also, we were only a five-minute walk from the school. This place was absolutely beautiful, and I cannot be more grateful that I got to live in such a beautiful place for an entire month.
In addition to the amazing housing, the program provided a meal plan with multiple amazing restaurants. We were given meal vouchers and breakfast vouchers to use at some of the most popular places in Florence. There was a restaurant group included in this which came to be my favorite places. It is a group of brothers who run these restaurants. At Gustabar, I would grab my red bull and croissant every morning. At Gustapizza, I had the best pizza I had ever had. At Gustaosteria, I had amazing truffle burgers. In addition to this restaurant group, my favorite restaurant on my meal plan was La Bussola. This had the best environment and had the most attentive and nice staff.
While what was included in the program was amazing, the best part of my entire trip was the courses I had taken. I took six credit hours while I was there. I had a Fashion Communications course as well as a Museums in Florence course. For my fashion course, I had some of the most memorable adventures. One of the most memorable was visiting an artisan shop close to my school. This business did not have a name and was very hidden. It is run by a man named Giuliano, who is in his 70s. What was so amazing about this place is that they create jewelry for many designer brands, such as Dior and Gucci. A very special part of this is that we had the place to ourselves as he showed us how he makes all of his work. I was mesmerized by his work and being able to see the real commissions from these designers. It was truly something that I will never forget.
For my museums course, I visited the museums which house some of the most famous works of art as well as some of the most beautiful churches in the world. My favorite church we visited was the Church of Santa Maria Novella, because of the stained glass at the front of the church. We also visited the Uffizi Gallery where we saw Botticelli’s most famous works, Spring and the Birth of Venus. We also visited the Accademia Gallery where we saw Michelangelo’s Statue of David. An added bonus is that I got to see Michelangelo’s tomb in one of the churches. Lastly, we visited the Cathedral of Florence and saw some of the most beautiful frescos.
All in all, this was such a beautiful experience. These are memories I will hold close to my heart forever. The friendships I made are those that will last a lifetime. The things I learned in my courses are things that I will continue to share. The most important thing I learned is that putting myself out there will make me have the most lifechanging experiences.
Britain Jones (BS Psychology) spent the Summer 2023 semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy through AIFS. Britain had the following to say about studying abroad, “If you have a chance to explore the world, do it. Being immersed in a completely different culture will make you learn a lot about yourself.”
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