Tag Archives: foreign language

Maybe a Minor?

Camus to Caravaggio. Da Vinci to Darwin. Aristophanes to Zappa. Know who they are? You should. Because a well-rounded knowledge base is the sign of an inquisitive mind — and a solid liberal arts education is the best way to work that muscle – FIT’s School of Liberal Arts

Despite the fact FIT is an extremely specialized arts college, everyone here still has to take math, science, English and even phys ed. Yes, every FIT graduate has to complete two gym credits. This is because FIT is a SUNY school (State University of New York) and since we receive funding from the government, we are required to follow some of their rules. At first, this may seem very annoying and you are not going to want to do it. Hey, I feel you. Did I want to take another math or science class after high school? No. Did I drag my feet everyday to those classes when I took them here? Yes, but it wasn’t that bad, I promise.

In fact, I think that the liberals we have to take make for a nice break from the never ending deluge of fashion we are under (or photography, or graphic design, or interior design…you get the picture). Sure, you may not enjoy all the liberal arts classes you take, but I bet you will really enjoy a few. Because we are required to take so many liberal arts, it actually makes it easier to complete a minor, which can really bolster your degree.minor card

You can declare a minor after completing five courses (or 15 credits) from the specified classes for the minor you choose. If you have transfer credits coming in from high school or another college, plus the class or two you are required to take in that subject here, you may already be more than halfway done!

I personally have finished an Art History minor and am one class away from finishing my Fashion Studies minor, and the classes I have taken for those have easily been my favorites. Yes, it is more hours of class, but knowledge and better understanding of the world outside your major’s industry can greatly impact the success of  your work and make you a more rounded person. If nothing else, speak to your adviser and see how many classes you would need to complete a minor, you never know, you could be only one class away!

Fashion Studies minor example

Fashion Studies minor example

FIT offers minors in English, Speak & Communication, Modern Languages & Cultures, Film, Media & the Performing Arts, Science, Math & Economics, History & History of Art, and Sociology, Psychology & International Politics. For a complete list of classes click here. There are really interesting and engaging classes so I encourage you to check them out. (side note: if you want descriptions of the classes you can copy the course number – i.e. HA 347 – and paste it into the search bar at fitnyc.edu)


Pantomimes Anonymous

Two different Italians stopped me on the street today to ask for directions. On the one hand, I was proud because these authentic Italians mistook me as one of their own. I get a strange sense of satisfaction from being able to blend in with other cultures. However, this happiness quickly became became uncomfortable and embarrassing. This is because, wait for it….I can’t speak Italian!

Yes, my name is Emily Bennett, I’ve lived in Florence for three months and I still cannot speak Italian. I am so ashamed. For most people, the biggest worry while traveling abroad is whether they will be able to understand the locals. This, of course, leads to desperate hopes that most people will know English and even conversations stating how much easier and better the world would be if everyone just spoke one language (i.e. English). But what a horrific white-washing of culture that would be! Can you imagine living in a world where no one knows the subtle romantic quality of the French language, or the explosive passion of Italian, or even the mysterious Swahili?

I get it, it’s intimidating and embarrassing to attempt to speak a language that you haven’t mastered, especially to people who have been speaking said language since they were babies. Trust me, that is what got me in this situation in the first place. When I was studying in France, it was a whole different ball game. I had been studying French for six years before I was living on my own there, so I had a sturdy background of the language and was well-informed of the culture as well. This is the first time I have ever studied Italian, and I know what you are thinking, if I live in Italy, I should be learning the language twice as fast, right? No, wrong, completely wrong. Everyone here speaks English! At least the French have the decency to refuse to speak English to you! Obviously, it would have been much harder for me to survive here if people didn’t speak English, but I think I could have done it, and forcing me to attempt even the most broken Italian in every situation would have sped up my learning immensely. However, I am a self-conscious little baby when it comes to Italian. Too quickly will I revert to English, or not say anything at all. I go to the grocery store at least once a week and I think the only things I have ever said to any of the cashiers are “si” “no” and “grazie”.

Now that my time in Italy is coming quickly to a close, I wish I had pushed myself harder to learn the language and speak it. Honestly, it is a really horrible feeling to be in a country and unable to speak the language. It is embarrassing! Not to mention completely disheartening. I don’t mean for this post to be such a downer, but if you can learn anything from my little failure, really take the time to learn the language before traveling. It will make your time there much more rewarding, and the locals will definitely like you more. Also, don’t be afraid to forget about English and instead rely on whatever of the language you do know (miming helps too). It is much more endearing to see someone struggling to speak the language than one who just starts speaking English and assumes whoever they are talking to will understand.

Buon viaggio!