A FITSA Weekend

As our final weekend together, FITSA held 2 events for everyone’s last goodbye :( On Friday night, we went to an aperitivo @ Caffe Letterario, which used to be a prison. The location was perfect and the food was amazing. They had vegetarian, and gluten free options which gave options for everyone :) With live music every night, it was the perfect ambiance for a relaxed night to see everyone one last time.

{Cute interior @ Caffe Letterario}

 

{drinks & food}


{all smiles after eating}

{IFD2 girls}

{IFMM girls}

{good food & great company}

After a successful aperitivo on Friday night, FITSA held our final get together at Casine Park with a catered picnic. Thanks to Panino Tondo for catering our lunch with little lunch baggies for everyone! It was the perfect Saturday afternoon spent under the sun :)

{Casine Park}

{Ashley & Rachel}

{IFMM ladies :) Codi, Victoria, Felicia, Gab, Shannon}

{Jessica, Elisa, Brianne, Chohye, Ekaterina}

{girlfriends- Golden twins, Hilary, Cho, Victoria}

{jumping for joy :D}

Now, it’s all over…Ah I can’t believe it’s already time to go home! The past 10 months flew by, and I can say that this past year was definitely the most memorable year of my life. Florence, you will always have my heart <3

FAQ’s

I’ve recently been getting emails from many prospective students heading to Florence to study abroad with similar questions (and though I’ve probably answered all of you individually) I thought I’d write a quick post to help out anyone else with questions.

1. How did you find your apartment? Did you do research before hand? How did you find your roommates? Does the landlord speak English? 

Honestly, finding an apartment is the last thing you should worry about. I did no research before coming to Italy and had no idea who I was going to be living with. But during your first week in Florence (orientation week), an agency called Florence and Abroad will come to school and hand out a huge packet with available apartments. They’ve been working with FIT for over 10 years now (if I remember correctly) and they’re great! they speak perfect English and know what they’re doing. And during orientation week, you get a chance to meet everyone in your major and the entire study abroad program as well, which gives you the opportunity to find your roommate(s) :) And I’m pretty sure not all the landlords speak English, as most of them are quite elderly, but you can definitely get by.. be creative! Use the universal sign language or keep Google translate open! haha
And, when you’re signing a lease for your apartment, you always have the option to sign for 1 semester at a time (which is what my roommates and I did). Which gives you the option to move into another apartment just incase the place you got wasn’t your first choice.

(Oh and you also have the choice to stay in the Residence Hall, or stay with a host family. Which I’m not too familiar with either since I am living in an apartment. However if you ask about those options to your study abroad director, I’m sure they’ll have answers for you!)

2.What did you do about money? How did your parents give it to you? About how much do you spend in a month? 

The way my roommates and I get our money is by having our parents put money into our bank accounts, and we just go to the ATM machines and take out Euros. I use Bank of America whose sister bank is BNL here in Florence, and there are many around. So I don’t get charged for using the ATM to pull out cash. Although you will get the exchange rate charge, but that applies to anyone using any bank. I also hear that TD Bank does not charge for ATM use, but I would double check with that. And other than those 2 banks, I’m not sure which other banks won’t charge you. (And be careful when using ‘Bancomats’ aka ATM’s that aren’t connected directly to a bank, bc there have been many instances that it’ll eat your card, and it’s a hassle to get back.)

And how much you spend monthly will differ between everyone. Rent is usually between 400-600 Euros/month (of course depending on location, # of ppl you live with, if you’re sharing a room or not, etc.) And even with money for food, it really depends on whether or not you like to eat out a lot, or cook at home. But I do find that grocery shopping here is cheaper than the states especially if you’re going to the markets to buy fresh produce (though you may be grocery shopping much more frequently). Also I’m sure you’re aware of your spending habits, whether you like to shop a lot, or save up, and that doesn’t change much here.

3. I can’t speak Italian, will that be a problem? 

Honestly, I came to Italy and forgot all the Italian I learned during the previous semester. I walked into class saying ‘Hola’ instead of ‘Ciao’.. haha but Florence being such a small city with such a huge population of American students, many of the Italians have picked up English. Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn Italian, but you can definitely get by without knowing much. However, you probably should know a few words/ phrases before getting here..

ITALIAN 101:
“Ciao”- Hi/ Bye
“Arrivederci”- Bye
“Buongiorno”- Good morning
“Buonasera”- Good evening (which I think is used starting around 3-4pm)
“Grazie”- Thank you
“Prego”- You’re welcome
“Quanto costa?” -How much does this cost?
“Dov’e…..?- “Where is….?

These should get you by during orientation week, before you being your Italian classes! Just remember to be respectful since you’ll be in a foreign country with a completely different culture!

4.What supplies did you bring with you? Are any provided? What about fabric?

This question is for the design students, and I would say to bring all your markers and color pencils, and if you’re one to use water color, bring those too. The art stores do sell all these products, however they are much more expensive here than in the states, and they may not have the brand that you prefer. Also, if you have specific tracing/marker paper you like, bring those as well. And for your sewing, draping, pattern making classes, don’t forget to bring your rulers, scissors, pins, sewing needles, and a few threads. I actually only brought my rulers, scissors, and pins and bought the rest here, which wasn’t much at all. There’s a Singer store right by the school campus which has all the basic necessities. And the school gives you your first 5 meters of muslin, and 2 rolls of pattern paper, then you need to buy whatever you need for the rest of the semester/ year. And muslin here is 11 euros/5 meters, which is cheaper than NYC.. (if I remember correctly), I think I spent like $17/5 yards. And yes, your term garment fabric is all graciously provided for you!! No worries about having to spend a fortune on your term garments :)

5. How’s the workload? I heard it’s a lot more relaxed in Italy than in NYC, is that true? And you can’t stay in the work rooms till 2am, right? 

From my experience, I do find being in Florence to be a lot more relaxing than in NYC. But you have to take into consideration that when I was in NY, I was taking 9 classes and interning at the same time. While here in Florence, I’m only going to school, which already makes things a lot easier. And also, the culture here in general is much more relaxed than the NYC hustle. Meaning that you cannot work in the labs till 2am, and school is not open on the weekends. The labs close by 8pm, which means that you will have to utilize your class time very well. And 7 hours of draping sounds long, but it’s actually not tot bad because by the end of class, you’ll probably have all your work done, and won’t need to go into the lab again until your next class. (which is SUPER rare in NY, because I remember spending every weekend and weeknight in the draping labs). I would say the workload is the same, as in you get the same # of assignments/ projects as you would at FIT in NY but oddly, it’s not as stressful as it was in NY.

6. Do many students go home for winter break? 

I would say 50/50. I know many students went home, but many stayed in Florence, or traveled throughout Europe! It’s actually much cheaper to travel around Europe than buying another round trip ticket to the states and back!

Hope this helped some of you! These answers are my thoughts and opinions after being here for almost a year. But if you have any other specific questions I didn’t answer, feel free to ask in the comments below or email me: daisyo@gmail.com

p.s- Remember to come with an open mind! This isn’t America, and definitely not NYC. Nothing will be as easy or as convenient but Florence is so rich in culture, art and of course food! So hope you enjoy your time abroad!

WE DID IT!! CLASS OF ’12

Last night was the night of the IFD2 AAS graduation & exhibition @ Galleria d’arte Civico here in Florence. It’s been an exhausting few weeks but so worth it. It was such an incredible feeling to finally see all our hard work pay off and on display for the public. The graduation was more like a small party with an aperitivo of endless food & drinks and just happy faces all around. We were also lucky enough to have Ferruccio Ferragamo to give our commencement! :) Now I can say that I was able to meet him AND give him 2 kisses on the cheek ;)


{mini fruit tarts}

{IFD2- Gaysha Ruiz & her guest, Samantha enjoying some food}

{left to right: Christin Noel, Shannon McGrath (IFMM), Gabriella Bonatesta (IFMM), Katelyn Odom, Brittany Keener, Taylor Amaroso, Elisa Rodriguez, & Grace Kim}

{design by: Elisa Rodriguez}

{design by: Christin Noel}

{design by: Brianne Judd}

{design by: Taylor Amoroso}
{left to right- designs by: Brittany Keener, Katelyn Odom, Christin Noel, Daisy O}

{hard work sure pays off :) }

{WE DID IT!!}

Huge thanks to Director Sass Brown, and her assistants, Grace Torreggiani & Anna Morandini for doing all the behind the scenes work and making everything possible and seamless from orientation week till now. And of course, thanks to our Professors, Lisa Feuerherm and Veronica Vivarelli helping us prepare our portfolios and exhibition garments, putting up with all our angst. We couldn’t have done it without all of you! We truly appreciate all of your help along the way. :)
& Best of luck to all those going into BFA & for those going into the industry!!

And now the hardest part is staying in school mode for the next 4 weeks… :X

Spring Break in Ibiza, Spain

One of the best things about studying abroad is the ability to hop on and off a plane and travel all throughout Europe. Even with all the work we have left to do before graduation (next week!!!), a few girls and I took a 4 day vacation to Ibiza, Spain.. after all, it IS spring break :) The beaches were incredible and absolutely breathtaking. Ibiza’s known for it’s clubs and bars right along the beaches during the summer. And because it was off season, the beaches were quieter, but I definitely enjoyed being able to relax with the incredible view of the Mediterranean and it’s crystal clear aqua waters!


{greeted by blue skies & palm trees}

{the view at lunch}

{couldn’t leave Spain without having some paella!}

{40 euro cab ride to the most beautiful beach ever, Cala Conta}

{BLISS}

{crystal clear, aqua waters}

{brunch along the beach}

{the sun starting to set}

I never wanted to leave.. but back to reality! Although the trip was short, it was well worth it. It was definitely nice being able to take a break from doing work, but now back to the grind till next week! Hope everyone finishes strong! :)

And The Work Continues..

In my previous post (here), I talked about the working progress of our graduation portfolios, but on top of that, we’re also working on our exhibition/graduation garments! Each student found inspiration from our trip to Paris and as a class came up with a concept for our designs. We’re still in the beginning stages of putting our patterns onto fabric, but I’m super excited to see how everyone interpreted the concept and put their own twist to it. And I think that’s the most interesting part about this project, since every single of one us are so different, to have one common theme and constructing garments individually to be shown as a collection. There’s only a few weeks left until graduation, so we’ll all definitely be breaking night till the completion of our portfolios and garments!

Here’s a sneak peak of what we’ve been working on!


{Elisa and her skirt in muslin}

{Taylor with a preview of her dress}

{Sabrina in the process of cutting her patterns}

{Grace working on the understructure for her dress}

{Maggie draping her skirt}

{& the first layer of my dress with a 1/4 of the skirt missing :P}

Even with the amount of work we have, I made the time this weekend to enjoy the sunset at Piazza Michelangelo which overlooks the entire city of Florence. The view was breath-taking, and reminded me of why I love Florence so much..

{In paradise– at Piazza Michelangelo}
Who needs a vacation when you live in a city with a view like this?!