FIT in Florence

FIT in Florence

April 26, 2017
by Alexandra

Let me tell you ’bout FASA…

Florence Abroad Student Activities Club (FASA) is a popular topic here on the blog, but for those who wish to know about who or what FASA is or does, this one is for you!

For those who are familiar with the FIT Student Government Association in New York, FASA works side by side with them. We are essentially the liaison between New York activities and those studying abroad in Florence.

We co-fund fun events (that take place outside of the classroom!) such as movie nights, day trips to Venice Carnival, pizza and gelato cooking classes, and Fiorentina soccer games, just to name a few. It’s a great way to meet new people, have some fun, and not break the bank!

We are made up of a board with our advisor and FIT in Florence Resident Director Professor Madeleine Kaplan, a President, Vice President, two treasurers, co-secretaries, communications and marketing manager, and two student representatives for Fashion Design Year One and Spring Semester FBM.

I wanted to give the chance for the current FASA board to be able to give you some information about the program. The current board is made up of…

Advisor – Professor Kaplan

President – Rawlins Bray (IFBM)

Vice President – Leah Becker (IFBM)

Treasurer’s – Emily Nieland (FD2) and Emily Underhill (IFBM)

Secretaries – Allie Carter (IFBM) and Haley Miller (IFBM)

Communications and Marketing Manager – Ntombi Khambule (IFBM)

Student Reps – Kirsten DiStasio (FBM Spring Sem) and Giulia Rao (FD1)

Here’s what our FASA reps saying about serving the students (YOU!)

What has been your favorite FASA event this year? My favorite FASA event this year was Thanksgiving because it made me feel at home. I loved being surrounded by so many friends and professors eating traditional American Thanksgiving food. This event satisfied the part of me that was missing out on the celebration in the States.

Haley Miller, Co-Secretary

Why should I run for FASA board? I believe running for the  FASA board will be rewarding because it allows you to have a say in the events that you and other students could participate in. For example, during the Fall, I was able to organize an event to take an olive tour through Tuscany, something that wouldn’t have been offered without my influence on the board.

Leah Becker, Vice President






And to answer some more of your questions…

What is the best part of being on the FASA board? The best part about being a member of the FASA board is being able to plan and organize events for the students that enhance their study abroad experience and allow them to hang out with students they might not see on a day-to-day basis! It’s also a great way to be involved while studying abroad.

Best piece of advice for someone interested in running. The positions are voted on at the first FASA meeting of the year (usually sometime during the first couple weeks of classes in the Fall Semester), so make sure you branch out and talk to people that may not necessarily be in your friend group to let them know you’re interested in running and what ideas you have!

Favorite memory from being apart of the FASA board. My favorite memory of being apart of the FASA board is the camaraderie of us all working hard to meet every week to make sure the events are what the students love and want to participate in. Also, dinner meetings at Professor Kaplan’s house are always memorable (and delicious!) 

I hope these questions and answers inspired you in the future to learn more about FASA and hopefully get involved in the upcoming years!

Con amore,


April 3, 2017
by Alexandra

Study Abroad Tag

When I think back to the Fall of 2015, that is when my study abroad journey really began. Even though I didn’t technically come to Florence until last August 2016, the amount of planning and research for study abroad is often overlooked. As a college student, there are so many options, locations, and programs that we have. Quite literally the world is at our fingertips and it feels amazing!

Whenever people ask me questions about study abroad, I thought how wonderful would it be to answer some of those right here on the FIT in Florence blog to better prepare potential study abroad students or ones that are just curious!

I call this the “Study Abroad travel tag.”

Why should I study abroad? I believe your life begins at the end of your comfort zone and you have everything to gain. You are able to experience the world in a whole new way by studying what you love in a culturally enriching and unique place. You also meet lifelong friends and have incredible experiences!

When should I start planning? As soon as possible! You will need ample time for Visas, paperwork, and a lot of other important documents to take with you when you leave the country.

Why Florence? Even before I learned FIT had a year program for IFBM, I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Florence during my junior year, spring semester (random, I know). It is a city with such rich city and great culture. Also, it’s big enough where there’s always something to do, but small enough that once you get here you can always navigate easily!

Year or Semester? Year, year, year. I will preface this by saying you need to do what is right for yourself, your budget, and mindset. I remember going into study abroad info sessions only thinking about doing one semester, when I realized there would never be an opportunity to live abroad for a year in this way. It is something I would 100% do again if I had the chance. An opportunity like this only comes once in a lifetime!

I don’t know Italian that well. Will this be a problem? There’s always time to learn! The FIT in Florence program requires you to take a semester of the Italian language beforehand which comes in handy. Also, when you’re here I suggest you continue taking Italian and learn as much as you can. However, Florence is a city with many English speakers.

What challenges should I expect to face? I think a common misconception about study abroad is that it is always fun everyday. Because of social media, this is completely taken out of context. People will always share the best parts of study abroad, but there will always be challenges and struggles. I would say be prepared for anything and everything to be thrown your way; pickpocketing, missed trains, busses, or planes, or being locked out of your apartment. All of these experiences will make you a stronger person in the long run.

Best advice for a study abroad student? Everyone will tell you this before you leave, but it’s completely true. Don’t take one second for granted, because in the blink of an eye it all be over. Take every chance you get and live it to the fullest. Study abroad is an incredibly enriching experience and these experiences will stay with you forever.

I hope this helps for all those curious about studying abroad. My last bit of advice: study abroad…just do it! I can never say enough about living abroad for a year and how it has helped me in so many ways, as a student and a person.

As one of my favorite travel quotes by St. Augustine says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

One of three “David” statues found throughout Florence. This one is atop the Piazzale Michelangelo.

Con amore,


March 10, 2017
by Ashi

What to Expect: First Time in Florence!

Ciao, my fellow Tigers! It’s been about a month since we all landed in Italy with wide eyes and a thirst to explore! In the past couple weeks, my life has changed, in the best way possible! In short, I have moved to another country, found an apartment, made friends, started school, toured the whole of Florence and traveled to amazing places. Florence has blown all my expectations out of the water.

Initially, I was so nervous and anxious to fit in with the people who already had an established friend group but, as the universe has it… I made some great friends on the second day of being here!

Quick story: When my new roommate and I were looking for the restaurant, I saw a tall dome like building and thought it was the famous “Duomo” in Florence. It was probably ¼ the size of the real one and looking back I am so embarrassed for even thinking that! My advice to any student studying abroad: Never try to fit in with the people that are already friends… make your own and maybe even just stick to one other person that is open minded and willing to explore with you. You will have no issue meeting other people, as you will share most of your classes with the people in your major.

The next day was apartment-hunting day! My new friends and I decided to stick together and search for a new home! We all got along really well at orientation and were really anxious to move out of that hostel! LONG story short: The four of us had a tough day trying to find an apartment in a foreign country. The best way to describe it is the “GO-SEE” day in America’s Next Top Model. When the models have to run around a new country to find appointments and make impossible deadlines.. YUP that’s how it was. The last apartment we saw was a WINNER! All 4 of us walked in and screamed YES like the crazy Americans that we are. Whoever tells you finding an apartment abroad is a piece of cake is a liar. It is a ton of work but is very rewarding! Our apartment is everything I hoped for and MORE! My advice: I know that it can be nerve wrecking to come to another country without a place to live but trust me everything works out. FIT in Florence has a lot of connections and people who are willing to help with every step along the way.

        The next few days were amazing. FIT in Florence organized a historic tour of Florence and I have fallen in love! One night, all of the FIT students went out for Aperitivo (which is basically Italian happy hour for FOOD instead of drinks) and then socialized all through the night. It was nice to get to know all the people in our program. Also the classrooms look like an art gallery.. It is unbelievable!

I can now say that studying abroad is the best decision that I have ever made.Quick Story: My roommate and I spontaneously decided to go to the Tuscan countryside for the day and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa in real life and it was so exciting! It’s only bus ride away from Florence and totally worth it! Everyday is a new adventure here and I am obsessed with every inch of Florence. It feels surreal to be in this beautiful city and to see the Duomo on the way to class and to walk across the Ponte Vecchio everyday. I can’t wait to explore more. I’ve learned that sneakers or flat shoes are the way to go in Italy! The cobblestone streets don’t mesh well with high heels! But I’ll save my tips and ticks for another post!