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FIT in Florence

May 3, 2017
by Ashi
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The Perfect Day in Florence!

Studying abroad in Florence has made me realize that I don’t need to travel anywhere else to have an incredible experience and to see something new. All I have to do is walk right outside my door and get lost in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy!

This past weekend was a long one for “liberation Day” which is basically the Italian 4th of July, so we had a whole 5 days off from class! Many students visited new countries but I decided to stay “home” in Florence and try to explore the city. My friends and I took this weekend as an opportunity to check out the “touristy” spots as well as little areas around the city where we can feel like locals.

Here are the best touristy places to visit:

  1. Duomo- The famous Duomo is hard to miss when living in Florence! You pass by it almost everyday and the building is breathtaking! As the weather gets warmer, the more tourists come to visit and the area is packed with selfie sticks and group tours. I highly recommend buying the ticket, which costs 15 euro and includes going to the top of the Duomo, Bell tower and a museum in the area. Both the bell tower and the Duomo have an amazing view of the Florence but be prepared to walk up a whole lot of stairs! Don’t worry the view is worth the climb! Also check out the Cathedral, it’s free!
  2. Boboli Gardens- The Boboli gardens are so beautiful and are a must see in Florence. There is also a combo ticket, which includes entry to the gardens and a few museums within the garden. This area is so relaxing and you can spend an entire day taking in the fresh air and greenery all around! You can catch amazing views of the city while walking through the gardens. The springtime is definitely the best time to visit!
  3. Ponte Vecchio- The Ponte Vecchio is so stunning and is a staple in Florence. You can enjoy the dazzling jewelry shops and if you are lucky you will catch the live music at sunset. One of my favorite things to do is eat gelato and sit on the Ponte Santa Trinita (bridge right next to the Ponte Vecchio) and watch the sunset!
  4. Museums- Florence is known for the historical museums and the Uffizi is one of the most famous ones. The Accademia Gallery is also famous as it is home to the David by Michelangelo! It was so exciting to finally see these famous art pieces in person because I’ve learned about it in my art history classes.  There is also a Gucci Museum and Ferragamo museum, which are really exciting!
  5. Piazzale Michelangelo – By far my favorite spot in the entire world! The Piazzale Michelangelo is viewpoint that shows a panoramic view of Florence and is out of this world. There are usually a lot of tourists but enough room for everyone to enjoy. I highly recommend going at sunset and doing a picnic with your friends! It is a place where everyone is happy and it is a perfect end to the perfect day! Every time I go up here I feel blessed and grateful for this opportunity to study in such an incredible city. It is a place where I want to visit everyday before heading home because I can now and soon enough I won’t be able to.

Don’t forget to eat while roaming around town!

Here are the must eats:

  1. Gusta Pizza- you’ve probably already heard that this place is the bomb.com! Get there before the lunch/dinner rush so you aren’t stuck in line! My favorite is Margherita pizza with pesto! Tip: Take it to go and eat it on the Ponte Santa Trinita!
  2. Gelateria Santa Trinita- DO IT!! This is by far the best gelato in town! Every time I bring any of my friends here, they fall in love with the gelato. Get the cheesecake and cookie flavor in a cone, of course!
  3. All’antico Vinaio- best panini ever.. enough said!

 

I have realized that I will never be able to say that I am a tourist in Florence and will never experience any other city that I have traveled to as a “home.” Florence has become my home these past couple months and I think it is a perfect place to explore and to grow as a person. I encourage every student that studies abroad to spend a couple weekends in Florence instead of traveling every single weekend. Don’t get me wrong, traveling around Europe is definitely a must do but it is ok to hang back and dive into Florence’s rich culture!

 

Thanks so much for tuning in and I hope you visit all these spots and MORE while in Florence

 

April 26, 2017
by Alexandra
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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,

Allie

April 3, 2017
by Alexandra
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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,

Allie