We haven’t met but we inevitably will because FIT has a small, close-knit program here at Polimoda in Florence, and everyone at least get to know each other by face. Although I am saddened that some of the Fall semester students will be leaving soon, I’m excited by the thought of meeting you in January! So, as my last blog post for this semester, I’ve decided to write this letter to you in hopes that it will give you a few insights about life in Florence and also help you prepare for your upcoming adventure.
It’s 49°F outside right now in Florence, and I’m typing away at the school computer lab because the internet connection at my apartment isn’t the greatest from noon to night. Don’t worry – it’s not the norm. Other students say they have great connection at their apartments. I just happen to live on a very busy street, my landlord would say.
Anyway, today, I’ll attempt to finish two papers due this week. The workload is getting heavier as the days get closer to the finals but we all know that’s common in New York City too. I can’t speak for the design students but I can say that Fashion Business Management courses here at FIT in Polimoda are, for the most part, comparable to those in NYC although they will require greater time commitment outside of class with both individual and group projects. And the best part about studying abroad in Florence is we get to go on many industry visits and field trips! Tradeshows, costume workshops, expos, you name it.
The professors here are very nice and knowledgeable. Since many of them are Italians and have worked in the global market, you get to learn about their experience and gain international insights which are sometimes better than the lectures themselves if you ask me. They don’t give out A’s easily but as long as you understand the task at hand, are able to execute it and present it in a visually appealing way, you should be able to earn it. As for the liberal arts, art history field trips will be very convenient since you will be living in a city with a wealth of history and artworks (hello David!) Comparative politics class has also been very interesting for me, and is my personal favorite (shout-out to Professor Fraser!), but I don’t think you’ll get to take it next semester. Lastly, learning a new language will be challenging but practicing what you are learning will really help. So, don’t hesitate to greet and thank random people in Italian!
Outside of the classroom, you have the option to attend FASA events to get to know other students and Italy in general! FASA, short for Florence Abroad Student Activities, is a student club on campus that organizes activities like cooking classes, soccer games and day-trips to different cities for the students. You can read a blog post written by another blogger, Stephanie Hutton, about some of the events here! It has been a pleasure for me to serve as the president of the club and to work with other board members to create these events. I hope that you will attend many next semester!
Last but not least, if you are anything like me when I was about to leave for Florence, you are probably debating on what to pack right now. Trust me – I understand how hard it can be to decide what to bring or leave. My advice for you would be to bring quality, versatile pieces that are easy for YOU to wear, layer and accessorize. Winter necessities (coat, gloves, scarf and sweaters since it will be cold when you are here,) a denim and/or faux-leather jacket, a few pairs of jeans, plain T-shirts, a set of bikinis for Spring Break, loads of underwear and socks, a pair of white sneakers and black booties (especially in Italy) will get you far. And have a mentality that it’s okay to repeat outfits frequently when you are studying abroad. In fact, it’s okay to repeat outfits in life. Did you know, back in the 1200’s, an average person owned four to five outfits throughout their lifetime? Please don’t feel the need to pack a lot. Just make sure to bring two or three killer-professional outfits for industry visits! And also remember that you can buy everything you may need in Florence. The same goes for make-up and grooming supplies unless you have specific products that work for you, especially for your face, then stock up on those and bring them over in case you can’t find them here.
I hope this long letter has been somewhat useful! Feel free to leave a question in the comments if you have any – I’d be happy to answer. Otherwise, get ready to be spoiled with this city’s architecture, art, amazing food, affordable rent and an adventure-filled semester. You are going to have so much fun here! A presto!