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
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.
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.
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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