Believe it or not but we have already started our fifth week of studies in Italy. It’s incredible how fast the time flies!
Probably you want to ask what we have been up to… Well, we just got back from our first academic trip to Milan, definitely one of the world’s fashion capitals. Milan is a city in Lombardy, Northern Italy so it differs from Tuscan Florence a lot. This journey was full of fashion, art and culture… full of lifetime experience. I’ll be honest with you – the itinerary itself was pretty exhausting. We visited numerous places in different neighborhoods of the city. I’ll name just a few things on our list – White Trade Show, Mantero Factory (they manufacture printed fabrics for designers such as Pucci, Chanel, Gucci, Ferragamo etc.), Lake Como (where George Clooney has his house), two concept stores – 10 Corso Como and Spazio Rossana Orlandi, a department store la Rinascente, The Last Supper painting in Santa Maria delle Grazie church, Duomo rooftop (where we took the jumping pic), Picasso and Vogue exhibits and many, many more. Some students even participated in AC Milan soccer game!
Anyway, Milan for me, and I believe for majority of us, was very inspirational. I realized how important it is to explore various parts of the world and connect it to your future career ideas. I was especially amused by the unique atmosphere created in 10 Corso Como concept store. It’s one of a kind – you can shop your favorite clothes, find interesting books, listen to music, look at some exhibits (now Peter Lindbergh’s photography) and drink delicious coffee over there. All in a spacious mansion – very European and stylish.
I’m just giving you some highlights of the trip because I believe that you’ll join FIT in Italy and see what a beautiful city it is and collect your own memories…
Probably while considering joining a study abroad program, you wonder what the education in another country is going to be like. Well, there are many stereotypes about being a student overseas – some might think that you do not do much besides traveling and partying. It’s not quite true. Of course, a study abroad program enables you to broaden your horizons, get to know new places and learn about a different culture. Additionally, FIT’s program at Polimoda helps you to get best experience in both education and leisure time.
The school have campuses that are located within 15 minutes walking distance. FMM students have most of their classes in Villa Favard that is on the same side of the river that the Duomo and other main tourists’ attractions. Villa Strozzi is another campus situated on a hill with a stunning panoramic view of the city. Our professors come from various European countries. You definitely will be introduced to a new approach of studying. In the beginning, it seems odd and might be challenging but finally you’ll realize you’re becoming an even more open-minded person. Though, the objectives still stay the same as the ones in New York. The fact that you will be sometimes taught in another way, is a great advantage of yours. You’ll improve your communications skills thanks to overcoming language and cultural barriers and will become a more flexible person! What I also love about FIT in Florence is that, that we follow the FIT in New York curriculum and all of our credits are transferred. At the same time, we learn more about the industry in the country and Europe in general. We get chances to go to numerous places and meet people who are leaders in the fashion industry in Europe. Next Monday we are heading to Milan which is our first longer academic trip. I really can’t wait.
While in Florence, we also go to various places. Last week we visited Scuola del Cuoio – a famous leather school. It was an amazing experience. This week there is a field trip to the Ferragamo and Gucci museums. Gucci has even its own little cafe where you can grab your lunch and coffee. Can fashion a student be any more fashionable?;)
I’m attaching some pictures from the campus so you have an idea about the gorgeous surroundings of the place where we study!
Why do study abroad programs exist? Why do we decide to participate in them?
Well, there is more than one answer to these questions. Everyone has her/his own reason why she/he decides to go for a semester or a year, and study somewhere else.
Leaving your home country for some time makes you step out of your comfort zone. That is definitely the phrase that I’ve heard most often during the first weeks in Florence. Though, there is nothing to worry about.
Yes, living in Italy means adjusting to a new environment. When you first look at it, you’ll see the general things like the landscape and the architecture that you’ll find inspiring. Then, you’ll notice all the little things that will create the actual picture of the place and might be frustrating at times. Yes, sometimes you need to plan ahead because stores in Italy close earlier or close during the lunchtime (around 12pm – 2pm), you might not find here your favorite cookies, you’ll have to ask for checks in restaurants and the premiere of the movie you’ve been waiting for so long takes place in Italy a little later than in the US. It doesn’t mean it’s worse over here, it’s just different. You’ll be amazed how much information you’ll acquire during your first two weeks in Florence while interacting with other people. We all learn from each other.
Yesterday my friend told me that she’s not used to eating Italian grapes because they have seeds; I’ve been eating grapes from Spain or Italy my whole life so I haven’t really noticed it… At least now I know that I need to try seedless grapes from Florida. These are all the little things that will make you leave your comfort zone for a moment to help you understand who you are and what you really like.
It’s only a semester or two, you can always come back to your own world but think that you can discover something that you’ll love more than anything before. Give yourself a chance and travel.
P.S. I’m attaching pictures from our field trips – to Siena and Cinque Terre. Great opportunity to see other places and meet new people.
We have arrived.
Our Italian adventure has started on August 26th. Divided in four groups, we hit the roads of Florence with our new professors as tour guides. The weather surprised us with pouring rain but it didn’t stop us from admiring the beautiful streets of the city. Actually, it made our beginnings even more memorable. After a couple of hours, the clouds were gone and we were welcomed by the incredibly blue sky. All in all, being in the center of Tuscany is like living in a fairy tale: the bridges, the cobblestone streets, the mansions. You don’t have to be an art historian to appreciate the culture.
Now it is the week of orientation and we are in the process of apartment hunting, finding out more about the school and the city and of course meeting new people. As we are a multicultural group, I’ve already made friends from all over the world. However, I happen to be the only European among FIT students.
Don’t think that we’re only signing the leases and getting ready for classes! Two field trips are already planned: to Siena (another gorgeous city in Tuscany) and Cinque Terre (Five Villages by the sea).
Below I’m attaching some pictures that I managed to take while walking around. You need to see the views!
Wish us buona fortuna (good luck) and stay tuned!
As I’m leaving for Florence in two days, it’s also time to start my adventure with blogging. I’d like to share with you all of my thoughts about the program and I’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.
“I’ll be living in Florence in less than 48 hours.” – this sentence sounds so unbelievable to me. I’m done with the whole application process, the paperwork and studying Italian I. The only thing left is packing my personal stuff and saying goodbye to all of my family and friends. Even though, I’ve had done that so many times before because I’m an international student in the US, the leaving part never ever gets easier. However, I’m very excited to arrive in Florence and I look forward to meeting all of the people who will be there with me!
I need to admit that FIT offices have been very helpful with preparing us for the departure. All of the participating students have been emailed regularly, we attended a pre-departure meeting in May and I believe we are ready for the trip. Additionally, there is a group on Angel where we can find all necessary information. We can also email FIT in Florence alums to ask about the things we are curious or anxious about.
Surrounded by works of Brunelleschi, Michelangelo or Donatello, I’ll be looking for inspiration in Florence very soon. Remember that Italy is not only one of the capitals of fashion but a challenging academic center as well. We are getting an amazing chance to broaden our minds by learning another foreign language and finding out more about another culture.
What else can I add? Florence, I’m waiting for you.
P.S. Quick tip – Florence in Italian is called Firenze (so there is no confusion when we get there!:))