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!

 

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;)

Milano, una bella città.

Ciao ragazzi!

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…

 

All The Little Things…

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.