We’ve learned to live. Ciao Italia!

I’ve been living in Florence for past 9 months. I’ve met fantastic people. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve lived my dreams. I’ve learned to live. We’ve learned to live. The FIT in Florence group of classmates and professors has become my family. If I was to make decision about studying abroad once again, I wouldn’t change anything. It’s been one of the greatest time of my life.

I feel like I’ve experienced “abandoning my place” all over again. All in all, almost three years ago I moved to New York City from Poland. I had to adjust to new culture, a new way of thinking and studying. Almost a year ago I moved to Florence from NYC. I can’t deny that I applied for IFMM program in Italy to be closer to home (Poland is just two hours away by plane ). Though, I need to admit that my junior year abroad has exceeded my expectations.

Tha fact that I was almost home was significant but not as important as my overall experience while participating in the program. Florence is a beautiful city and being surrounded by all of the Michelangelo’s, Donatello’s and Brunelleschi’s artworks is such an honor. The Italian food deserves distinction, not to mention about the amazing Italian culture. Another approach of studying at school, multicultural teachers, stunning school campus… I would not be able to imagine anything better. And… the people I’ve met over here – they were the most important part of studying abroad and they were the main authors of my adventure. I would like to thank all students and professors for being such awesome peers, mentors and supporters.

Two nights ago I sat on my comfy sofa back in Poland and I watched the beautiful yearbook video (thank you, Hannah!) with my parents. I thought that I would never forget all of these moments because they are memories for life. At the end, I read all of the messages that my friends left in my yearbook and I was moved. This is the story of my life. This is a story of FIT in Florence program and if I were you, I would not hesitate and I would apply to come here!

Florence, in August we were waiting for you and now I know the world is waiting for us.

Ciao Italia! I’ll miss you forever.

 

Florence = Fashion Fun!

Ciao,

The winter break went by definitely too fast but we’ve already jumped into many fashion activities at school so we can’t complain about boredom. Last weekend in Florence was full of fashion fun with Pitti Filati (a yarn trade show) as well as Vintage Selection 21 (a huge vintage clothing fair). I really enjoyed both of them. It was great to see all of these trends in knitwear industry and talk to the professionals. It was a real B2B (Business to Business) experience. But hunting for some unique stuff during Vintage Selection made me very excited too. You can never be tired of old school Chanel, Hermes or Louis Vuitton products. And all of these unknown funky designers made my heart beat faster! I need to admit… it was a paradise for every fashion lover.

Soon, in less than two weeks we’re heading for our academic trip to Paris. We don’t know the exact schedule yet but I’m sure we’ll have numerous industry and cultural appointments over there. I look forward to seeing one of the most fabulous cities in the world! Just to tell you a little secret… we’ll be at the top of the Eiffel Tower the first night!

However, before setting off to France, we’re going to participate in Venice Carnival on Sunday. I bet all of my friends are already getting their masks ready!

I know you’ve also just started new semester at FIT. I wish you good luck and enjoy it as much as we do here in Italy!

 

The moment.

I haven’t written for a while but after a short break… welcome again.

I hope you’re all recovered after Sandy’s attack! I’ve heard that your pre-departure meeting was rescheduled but you ended up having a nice time in MODA Cafe that I used to visit quite often to grab a coffee while preparing myself emotionally to come to Italy :)

How have been these weeks for us, FIT students in Florence? Well, to be honest quite good. We attended an interesting Meucci milinery workshop and everyone had fun creating his or her own hat, we had also an amazing Thanksgiving potluck thanks to FITSA and obviously we’ve traveled a lot across Europe and even outside the continent on our own or with friends.

I’m also a part of the yearbook team and we’ve been working on it. It’s a lot of fun and you feel so satisfied when you see some results that look quite nice. If you enjoy writing, creating layouts or taking pictures, it’s definitely an extracurricular, you should join.

Now, similarly to the schedule of New York City’s campus, we’re approaching the time of final exams. Then, we’ll be enjoying the winter break and everyone’s so looking forward to it. However, December in Florence is not only about studying – FITSA is organizing a brunch in a place called Ganzo, we’re also going to see “The Nutcracker” and we’ll be ice-skating. I believe that on the 18th we’re also having Christmas dinner. I’m so exited!

I’ll see you in the mid-January! Can’t wait!

If you have any questions concerning you arrival or your stay in Italy, please feel free to ask.

 

 

Don’t panic!

I’ve been looking at the FIT in Italy Facebook fan page in order to find out what questions you want to be answered. It seems like lots of you are worried about some of the technical issues.

Well, there is definitely nothing to be stressed out about. Even though, you are 4159 miles away from New York, everything can be worked out.

Let me give you some tips…

1. How do I register for classes?

In the past the FIT in Florence Office was responsible for registering all students for classes. Since Spring’13 semester, you’ll able to do that on your own. You choose the schedule that suits you best and attend classes together with your friends. Very convenient. Also, if you’d like to enroll in any other classes beyond the IFMM curriculum, you’re more than welcome. Exactly like back home.

2. I love being involved in school’s activities. Are there any clubs I can join down there?

Of course! We even have FITSA here. They are responsible for organizing all of the fun stuff. We already went to a soccer game, had a potluck, had a hiking trip in Fiesole, we just came back from Perugia Eurochocolate Festival and soon we’ll be taking cooking classes! There’s also a yearbook team (I hadn’t known about that until I came here) who work on a student yearbook. It’s very exciting. If you’re a sport enthusiast… Unfortunately, there are no teams here but if you’re eager you can play basketball, volleyball, tennis, jog, row, do yoga or pilates. No worries, you still are fit at FIT.

3. I’ve been thinking about becoming RA in New York next year but can I still get a chance while being in Italy?

This position stays open as well. Under these circumstances, the Residential Office enables you to e-mail your application.

4. I want to intern the semester I’m back from Italy. Would it work?

Sure! If you probably know, before registering for an internship course, you’re obliged to attend an internship orientation meeting. It can be done here in Italy as well. Just e-mail the Resident Director and she’ll explain everything to you and arrange it.

5. I would like to get an internship… Is it an option?

It might get sort of complicated but nothing is impossible. You just need to meet certain criteria that concern your student visa. Same thing with getting a job. It’s not that horrible – I’ve been through that in the US because I’m an European Union citizen. If you enjoy writing, they offer some editorial internships at the Florentine (a weekly newspaper, the only one for English-speakers in Florence). As Zach wrote in the previous post, we found out more about it when Nita Tucker, the creator of it, visited us during our lecture.

However, keep in mind that studying abroad is about something more than gaining experience through interning. It is also about the culture, adjusting to environment you’re unfamiliar with and simply enjoying the surroundings. Believe me or not, it’s all about broadening your horizons and making you an even more competitive candidate for a job.

If you have any more doubts, please feel free to ask!

I’m attaching some more pictures from the school you may attend in the closest future. I also wish you a great pre-departure I know you’re having very soon.

Ciao!

Mangio, Mangia, Mangiamo…

Studying abroad is also about culture and a big part of Italian culture is the FOOD.

Well, maybe there is no a big variety of restaurants in Florence (there are simply not that many cuisines as in NYC) but you still have numerous options to try new dishes and choose your new favorite one.

Believe me or not but there are way more types of cheeses here than probably anywhere else on the planet. While going to a regular grocery store you’ll have to make a decision and pick one from… parmesan, pecorino, stracchino, groviera or gorgonzola… so better be decisive:)

Talking about restaurants… I absolutely love sandwiches (panini) served in a lunch place across the street from our campus. There is also a great gelateria just around the corner called B.ICE. We went there during the orientation week and I always come back when I feel like eating gelato. They offer so many flavors… My favorite one is… LAVENDER (I’m not sure if you can eat it anywhere else in the world!). My friend fell in love with their peach and pear gelato – it tastes like real fruit! As you may already realized, I love desserts. So far I think that they serve best tiramisu in a terrace café in a department store la Rinascente. Moreover, you can’t avoid eating pizza while studying in Italy. Forget the Grimaldi’s or any other NYC Pizzeria and go to Gusta Pizza on the other side of the Arno river in Florence. In my opinion, it is definitely the number one pizza in town. Their bestselling one is prepared with rucola, cherry tomatoes, mozarella and parmesan cheese. I bet you’ve already got hungry but in Italy there is so much more things you need to have – any kind of pasta (you can get delicious discounted ravioli at San Lorenzo Market on Tuesday morning and you absolutely need to visit Siena to taste a special kind of pasta – pici), Florentine steak and cannoli (pastry dessert).

Don’t leave Italy without drinking crodino or chino – their refreshing sodas… and of course Italian coffee is ranked among the finest on the Earth.

I hope I explained you a little bit about the Italian cuisine and now it’s time for me to eat dinner;)