Study Abroad Profile: Courtney Kern

Submitted by Web Communications on October 12, 2011

A prime example of the grand beauty that surrounded us daily was the Duomo, a cathedral located in the historic center of Florence. Many times I tried to get a picture with the entire Duomo in frame, but it was impossible … It was not possible to capture the Duomo in a single frame, and like most of my Italian experiences, it was too big to easily explain.

Courtney Kern ’12

Hometown: Summit, NJ

Program: English

why florence?

In the spring semester of 2011 I studied abroad in Florence, Italy from January until May and studied at the Florence University of the Arts. I chose Florence as my study abroad location for its centrality in Europe as well as its historical significance as the origin of the Renaissance.

uncapturable citings

My walk to school was 25-30 minutes long, which took some getting used to compared to the maximum 10-minute walk on Fairfield’s campus, but the chance to walk along the Arno and pass the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge on the way to class each day was one I could not take for granted. I was constantly in awe of my surroundings. A prime example of the grand beauty that surrounded us daily was the Duomo, a cathedral located in the historic center of Florence. Many times I tried to get a picture with the entire Duomo in frame, but it was impossible. It is as if I hold that part of the city in my mind as my own ineffable souvenir. It was not possible to capture the Duomo in a single frame, and like most of my Italian experiences, it was too big to easily explain.

I walked past churches and museums every day that housed the art that I learned about in my art history class on Fairfield’s campus. I was finally able to see the pages of my art history book in person. As students we were given a museum card, which awarded us free admission to museums like Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi. I was lucky enough to be in Florence when Damien Hirst’s “For the Love of God” exhibition was visiting.

cultural awareness

I came back to the U.S. with more friends than I left with – people that I hope to be friends with for a very long time. I met students from Fairfield that I never knew existed and also made friends with students from other schools. Overall, my time in Florence and other travels around Europe made me a more culturally aware and stimulated person than I was before. My classes harmonized well with my art history knowledge. I learned a new language and can now navigate a foreign city without a map! I believe my study abroad experiences will strengthen my resume when applying for a job, and my stories are ones I can share with everyone I meet.

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