I’m coming up on my fourth and final week in Italy. I can honestly say I’ve never had, nor will I ever have, classes like these again. This scholastic experience couldn’t be achieved any other way. It wouldn’t be the same in a classroom, with a book, or online. It’s like history books coming to life.Every study abroad program is different , but this was the perfect class for me, hands on, with few restrictions, much less stressful than the typical college course. It allowed for a more personalized experience.
History has never been my favorite subject, but being in Italy studying art history made everything more relatable.So if you’re kind of like me when it comes to history, you’d definitely appreciate an abroad experience of it. It gives you the opportunity to live the history by physically being there in ancient cities and palaces, being able to touch/feel [when they let you] the marble, stone, etc.
⇑ From my sketchbook ⇒
As far as staying focused [and alert] in class while experiencing all this, I think it depends on your personality and mindset, but here are a few tips that should help a little.
Tips and Tricks:
- Separate yourself mentally from being “on vacation” and in school, just remember, there are grades, look at the syllabus [and any other info you receive] often.
- Always set an alarm.
- When you first arrive DO NOT take a nap, jet lag is a killer, I know, but try to stay up as late as you can so your body adjusts more easily [aim for 22:00 or 10 pm].
⇐ From my sketchbook
The drawing requirements for this program have forced me to draw more than I have in years. Between 75-100 sketches total. Much of the subject matter comes from the different historical sites and museums we visit for art history—the two classes are very intertwined. The drawing class gets more classroom time—studio hours—for our final projects. There is also a collaborative book project in which we are layering everyone’s favorite sketches into a zine. I participated in the “book club” where we assembled the preliminary copies of the art, 3 layers on each page (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 blue), 30 pg. total. About 6-7 of us helped out and it was pretty fun. We broke off into 3 groups and kind of had an assembly-line going . It was not a very difficult process, but it forced me to socialize/ communicate with my peers to ask for clarification or fix any hiccups I came across along the way. I’m glad I did it; I got to see a lot of amazing work. (I’ll show you the finished results in my next blog.)
I’m still having a difficult time making friends, but I’m trying to push myself. This weekend—during our time off from class—I went out with my roommates: shopping, gelato, and fish kisses. We went to a garra rufa fish spa where the fish basically suck the dead skin off your feet—it’s harmless, they have no teeth. If you’re not too squeamish about having little animals on your skin I say do it! Your feet will be extremely soft afterwards. I was nervous at first but it didn’t hurt at all, kind of tickled. It was a more of a tingling sensation, like your feet are falling asleep. Definitely a nice detox from the constant walking. You’ll walk about 80% of the time in Italy—especially Florence, it’s a walking city— but at least you’ll be in great shape!